After its thrilling 8-7 win over the United States Military Academy last weekend, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team was unable to replicate the performance and fell 23-9 to No. 10 Loyola University Maryland Saturday afternoon.
In a game that could have clinched the Terriers (6-7, 2-5 Patriot League) a spot in the 2018 Patriot League tournament, it instead turned into an onslaught by the Greyhounds’ (9-3, 6-1 Patriot League) conference-leading offense.
“This [game] was a little bit of a buzzkill,” BU head coach Ryan Polley said. “[I] give Loyola all of the credit. They have a lot of talented players on their team who took us on both sides of the ball.”
The Terriers got off to a rough start immediately, as the team found itself entrenched in a 3-0 hole within the first four minutes of the game.
However, attacks senior Jack Wilson, freshman Chris Gray and junior James Burr each put goals on the board to bring to bring the score to 6-3 in favor of the Greyhounds by the end of the first quarter.
Sophomore midfielder John MacLean opened the second quarter on the Terriers’ lone man-up opportunity of the day, bringing the team’s success with an extra man to 58.8 percent.
Two goals by senior attack Ryan Hilburn and Burr 15 seconds apart from one another brought BU within a one-goal striking distance of tying the game at seven, but Loyola responded with two straight, including a goal from junior goalkeeper Jacob Stover with one second remaining in the first half.
The Terriers’ 9-6 first half deficit was precipitated in part by their eight turnovers in the first frame.
However, Loyola’s counterattacks of those turnovers were obstructed by BU’s sophomore goalkeeper Joe McSorley, who amassed eight saves in the first half and 10 on the day.
“They took it to us and forced a lot of turnovers,” Polley said. “We have to be able to take care of the ball better.”
The Terriers were outcompeted in virtually every aspect of the game in the first half — shots, clears, ground balls.
Going into the second half, its deficit was still manageable, but BU was in for a rude awakening in the remainder of the game.
The Terriers were outscored 10-1 in the third quarter alone, which was followed by the Greyhounds extending their scoring run to 4-2 in the final quarter.
Loyola began the second half with a three-goal run that was ended by a tally from Wilson. However, the Greyhounds then netted seven straight goals.
Senior goalkeeper Colin MacDougall began the fourth quarter in net and made three saves in 12:02 minutes of playing time before senior goalkeeper Tommy Connelly finished the last minutes of the contest.
Unlike the first half, BU’s mismanagement of the ball was not an input to Loyola’s unimpeded scoring run — it appeared to come down to determination.
The Greyhounds were aggressive and continued to attack on offense. Attacks junior Pat Spencer and freshman Aidan Olmstead led Loyola with nine and six points, respectively.
“We just need to execute better,” Polley said. “On both sides of the ball, we have to execute better. We spent all week on the game plan, but we weren’t efficient.”
The Greyhounds dominated the game so much so that they outshot the Terriers 49-22. Furthermore, 76 percent of those shots were on goal.
Another large discrepancy was the number of turnovers. BU turned the ball over 19 times compared to Loyola’s 10.
Even after their demoralizing loss against Loyola, the Terriers still have a chance to make the playoffs.
BU currently sits in a four-way tie with Colgate University, Army (5-6, 2-5 Patriot League) and the College of the Holy Cross behind the four teams that have already clinched postseason tournament berths.
In their final league game of the regular season, the Terriers will need to beat Holy Cross (4-8, 2-5 Patriot League) on the road to earn a spot in the Patriot League tournament.
“We have a last Patriot League game and the winner gets in,” Polley said. “It’s up to our guys to maintain their composure and play the game well. Also, as coaching staff it’s our job to set the stride for our guys.”