LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team put up a good fight against the US National Team Sunday afternoon, but the Greyhounds came up short in a 17-13 contest with the reigning FIL World Championships at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.
Junior Justin Ward paced Loyola with four points on one goal and three assists, while four Greyhounds – seniors Davis Butts, Phil Dobson and Mike Sawyer, in addition to sophomore Nikko Pontrello – tallied two goals in the exhibition game. Graduate student Harry Kutner dished out three assists, while junior Sean O’Sullivan had one goal and two assists and junior Brian Schultz had one goal and one assist. Senior Josh Hawkins and junior Kevin Ryan each tacked on one goal and senior Chris Layne rounded out the scoring with one assist.
For the US National Team, Chazz Wooeson and Sam Bradman each had three goals, while Matt Gibson tacked on two.
Matt Danowski found the back of the net first for the Red, White and Blue at the 14:01 mark, but the Greyhounds took advantage of two man-up situations to take their first lead at 9:42. Ward bounced a pass from O’Sullivan past goalie John Galloway at 12:27 before Schultz stuck a shot in the top corner from Kutner.
Ben Hunt then evened the score at 8:47.
Sawyer backed up a wide shot around the six-minute mark and sent a quick restart around the back of the goal to Pontrello, who found Ward for the score at 5:44. The Greyhounds held their lead until Kevin Leveille scored with 8.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter to knot the score at 3-3.
The USA scored another three unanswered goals to stretch its lead to 6-3 at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter, but Butts fired two-straight goals to bring Loyola within one with 4:54 to play in the half. Layne set up the first goal flipping a pass to Butts at the top of the box, who ripped a high shot past Scott Rodgers.
Butts tacked on a second goal 34 seconds later, assisted by O’Sullivan.
A third-straight goal from the Greyhounds at 2:39 evened the score for a fourth time when Dobson scored off a pass from Ward.
The US closed out the half with two goals in the final two minutes though, taking an 8-6 advantage into the break.
Pontrello started second-half scoring by slipping his second goal of the afternoon into the back of the net and then after six minutes of scoreless play, Dobson knotted the score at eight, scoring on a pass from Kutner.
A quick goal from Bradman sparked a three-goal run from the United States that O’Sullivan snapped as time expired in the third quarter, cutting Loyola’s deficit to two, at 11-9.
The US team tested freshman Jimmy Joe Granito when he entered the game in the fourth quarter, tallying two goals, but Granito was able to settle in as the Greyhounds rattled off three-unanswered to pull within one, 13-12, at the 11:35 mark. Sawyer notched his first in the run before Hawkins dodged defenders, split a double team and stuck a shot into the back of the net. Ryan capped the streak with a goal from Schultz.
The run didn’t quiet the national team though, as they slipped two goals passed senior Michael Bonitatibus to take a 15-12 advantage.
Sawyer’s second goal of the day pulled Loyola within two with 7:42 to play, but that would be as close as the Greyhounds would get as the USA closed out the game with two goals to bring the final tally to 17-13.
In goal, junior Jack Runkel led the way with nine saves, while Granito stopped four shots and Bonitatibus turned back one.
Loyola will open its 2013 season on Saturday, Feb. 16 when it travels to Delaware.