February 23, 2013

Rapid Reaction: Maryland 12, Loyola 10 (MD1)

by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Live Blog Replay

BALTIMORE — John Haus had four goals and an assist, as top-ranked Maryland staked its claim as the undisputed No. 1 men's lacrosse team in the country with a 12-10 victory over second-ranked Loyola in front of 5,781 fans Saturday at Ridley Athletic Complex, avenging its loss in the 2012 NCAA Division I championship game.

What We Learned

1. When the polls come out Monday, Maryland will be the undisputed No. 1 team.

The Terps, ranked No. 1 this week in the USILA Division I poll but No. 2 in the media poll, should garner most if not all the first-place votes in both polls. Loyola, which lost its first game of the season after unconvincing wins over Delaware and Towson, will slip in the rankings. If Notre Dame beats Penn State on Sunday, look for the Irish to jump into the No. 2 spot.

2. Loyola is a shade of itself without Josh Hawkins.

Hawkins, the senior midfielder and lynchpin of the Greyhounds' heralded rope unit, was suspended for the third consecutive game due to an undisclosed violation of team rules. Maryland took advantage, dodging liberally against Loyola's short sticks. Haus and Chanenchuk (two goals) both had big games.

"I left my short sticks out to dry there," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said afterward. "We should have popped into a zone sooner."

Trailing 5-1 after the first quarter and 10-4 at one point in the third quarter, Toomey pulled starting goalie Jack Runkel in favor of backup Jimmy Joe Granito and employed a zone defense to jumpstart the Greyhounds' slide packages.

"I don't think we gave Jack much of a chance today," Toomey said, adding that Runkel will "absolutely" be the starter when Loyola hosts UMBC on Tuesday.

Hawkins' suspension, on the other hand, remains indefinite.

"Josh will be back when he's ready to be back," Toomey said. "We still have to determine some things as a university."

3. Niko Amato could be in for an All-American-caliber season.

While Loyola's goalies struggled to pick up the ball against Maryland's sharp-shooting midfielders, Amato kept the Greyhounds at bay with 13 saves, including five each in the second and fourth quarters.

The junior goalie appears to have shed a few pounds, too, looking like a slimmer 5-foot-8, 185-pounder. It showed on some scrambles behind the cage, as he handled the ball well and got the Terps' transition game going.

"He's got high standards. He wants to be the very best," Maryland coach John Tillman said.

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