The Charles Street rivalry could not have played out more dramatically than it did this past Saturday. The Blue Jays achieved an emotional victory over the top-ranked Loyola Greyhounds after an exciting back-and-forth between the two lacrosse giants. The game was finally decided by a quick stick shot from sophomore Rob Guida, who scored the 10th and final goal with only 2.3 seconds remaining in overtime, granting Hopkins a much-needed 10-9 win .
The closure came after what was an endless back-and-forth between the two sides. Initially, the game was all Hopkins; by the end of the first quarter, the Blue Jays had attained a 3-0 lead, and seemed to have the momentum in their favor. They had notched ten shots to Loyola’s four, as well as a single turnover, contrasting with five from the Greyhounds.
In the second quarter the tide began to turn. “We got caught playing their style,” Head Coach Dave Pietramala said. The defense that had been so solid in the first quarter began to lag and Loyola capitalized on this by notching three goals for themselves. However, the Hopkins offense was consistent and was able to add another three for itself, keeping the lead level at 6-3 in the Blue Jays’ favor.
In the second half, however, the Greyhounds found their feet — just as the Blue Jays began making mistakes of their own. “We made some really, really unintelligent decisions,” Pietramala said. This could be heard clearly from the parking lot. With every turnover ceded by the Jays, the sold-out stadium became louder. By the end of the third quarter, Loyola had curbed the Hopkins offense to only two goals, and had notched two of their own. Additionally, Loyola had now only erred twice in that quarter, with only two turnovers to Hopkins’ seven, inverse to the numbers in the first half.
While Hopkins’ three point lead had remained stable at 8-5, the momentum had clearly shifted. Very little remained of the team that seemed to effortlessly dominate the first half of the game. Hopkins had its back against its own goal as the team made its way into the fourth quarter.
Initially, things looked promising for the Blue Jays. It seemed there would be no need for an overtime, as Guida capitalized on an extra-man opportunity to extend Hopkins’ lead to four points at 9-5. The Jays briefly seemed to have momentum on their side once again. But, after two consecutive goals from Loyola midfielders David Butts and Sean O’Sullivan, respectively, it became clear that the Greyhounds had no intentions of giving up. “The team was very, very well coached,” Pietramala said, “[and] they fought.”
It was with a little over five minutes left in the fourth that things seemed to fall apart for the Blue Jays. After squandering an extra-man opportunity, Loyola began to press the Hopkins defense. The Greyhounds attacked the goal, thwarted consistently by strong goalkeeping from Junior Pierce Bassett. At a little over the three minute mark, however, Bassett made an uncharacteristically poor decision that allowed Loyola midfielder Pat Laconi, assisted by attackman Justin Ward, to put the Greyhounds within one point of Hopkins. The score was 9-8 with 54 seconds still on the clock. “I left a few saves out there I would’ve liked to make,” Bassett said after the game.
Although Hopkins seemed to have regained composure for the final seconds of the game, Ward made his way through the Blue Jay defense once again, this time for an unassisted goal to tie the game with only five seconds left. While the game was tied at 9-9, Loyola had energy, a crowd and the momentum as the two teams headed into overtime.
The start of overtime did not seem promising for Hopkins. After 90 seconds of possession, Loyola attackman Eric Lusby rang a hard shot off the far pipe. Although a holding call on Greyhound attackman Will Fredericks gave Hopkins an extra man advantage once again, the Blue Jays failed to capitalize. Just as the game seemed to be heading into another Loyola-dominated overtime, Guida was able to capitalize with just 2.3 seconds remaining on the clock.
“I thought we fought hard, and we didn’t flinch once,” Pietramala, who seemed proud of his team after such a close win, said. Despite the few negatives and what he referred to as some “really dumb plays,” overall “we did prepare really well… I feel fortunate we overcame some not-great shooting,” Pietramala said.
Junior defenseman Tucker Durkin added that in the case of Loyola’s most dangerous player, attackman Mike Sawyer, the Blue Jay defense “was on the same page helping each other out… everyone communicated, rotated correctly.” Pietramala reaffirmed Durkin’s words concisely: “we got custody of those guys.”