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Looking for an upset pick? Check out Loyola

Loyola College has not been represented in the Division I men's lacrosse tournament since 2001. That changes officially on Sunday, when the Greyhounds travel to play fifth-seeded Albany in the first round of the three-weekend event.

Looking for a real sleeper in the 16-team field? It's not unseeded Princeton. The Tigers have won six national titles in the last 15 years, and last won it all in 2001. They have coach Bill Tierney and that trademark defense behind superb goalie Alex Hewit. Many observers expect Princeton to knock off No. 6 Georgetown on Sunday, then give visiting, third-seeded Johns Hopkins all it can handle in the May 19 quarterfinal at Princeton.

The real sleeper is the team in green from the little Jesuit school on Charles Street. Unseeded Loyola (7-5) has been in hibernation, ever since its string of 14 consecutive postseason appearances was snapped, following the departure of coach Dave Cottle for Maryland.

But a year after barely missing the NCAAs, the Greyhounds have the ingredients to end up in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

In senior Dan Kallaugher, they have a steady faceoff man who can secure enough possessions. In sophomore goalie Alex Peaty, they have one of the game's young stars who can turn a game's momentum, which will come in handy against the high-shooting, high-scoring Great Danes.

Led by senior attackman Dan Bauers, senior midfielder Andrew Spack and junior attackman Shane Koppens, Loyola is loaded with speed between the boxes, where their stable of midfielders, such as junior Paul Richards, likes to create messy, unsettled situations with the ball on the ground. This gets one of the game's better fastbreaks going.

Loyola has matured into a patient, unselfish offense. Two-thirds of its 126 goals are assisted, and the Greyhounds are shooting a strong, 30.5 percent. They have converted on a solid, 36.1 percent of their extra-man chances.

Playoff inexperience, and an inability to win much on the road, could bite Loyola. But Albany has never won a playoff game, and the Greyhounds are built to win a shootout that could develop with the Great Danes. Then, Loyola would presumably have to knock off fourth-seeded Cornell, the only unbeaten team in the field, to get to the final four at M&T Bank Stadium.

Two months ago, Loyola flew to California and took out a top-ranked, undefeated team by the name of Duke. Why not the Big Red next?


Posted by Gary Lambrecht at 11:05 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Comments

Loyola might very well beat a relatively mediocre Albany team that peaked weeks ago and did not deserve a 5 seed -- a team that every seed between 9 and 16 was hoping to play. In fact, Loyola winning that game is an upset in "seed" only.
Why do you assume that Hopkins will be waiting on Princeton?
ND over the Hop.
Justice would be for all 6 Baltimore area teams, 2 of which should not even be there, to lose, but that is impossible, because to prevent it, the committee has UMBC playing Md.

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About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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