BALTIMORE – Justin Ward did not let driving rain and wind gusts of 40 miles per hour both his game on Tuesday night as the junior scored seven goals and had three assists in Loyola University Maryland’s 21-9 victory over visiting UMBC at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Ward’s seven goals are the most by a Loyola player since Tim Goettelmann tallied that number against the University of Notre Dame in an NCAA First Round game that the Greyhounds lost, 15-13, on May 15, 2000.
He scored four in the third quarter, leading a 10-0 Loyola run that helped the Greyhounds (3-1 overall) extend an 8-6 halftime advantage to what would be a 12-goal margin of victory.
UMBC (1-2) led 4-3 after the first period, and although Ward tied the game at 5-5 with a goal 55 seconds into the second, Conor Finch gave the Retrievers a 5-4 lead 2:02 into the frame with an unassisted goal.
Ward responded quickly for Loyola, scoring an unassisted tally 33 seconds later, and Loyola took the lead for good at 9:56 when Nikko Pontrello fed Pat Laconi in transition for a goal.
Pontrello recorded career-highs in goals (3), assists (3) and points (3) in the game, as well, while Laconi scored a goal and had an assist. He also caused a career-high four turnovers and picked up three ground balls.
Only 45 seconds after Laconi’s goal, Pontrello was on the scoring end of a Ward pass to push the Loyola advantage to 7-5.
Pat Young scored unassisted for UMBC, and the Retrievers were back within one, 7-6, with 4:12 to play in the half. Chris Layne used a Davis Butts pass and scored form 10 yards out with 3:32 on the clock, providing the 8-6 halftime score.
Ward rolled form `X’ to score 1:16 into the second half, pushing the Loyola lead to 9-6, at that time its largest of the game. UMBC, however, rallied to cut its deficit back to two 1:03 later on a Dave Brown goal.
Sean O’Sullivan scored from the left side at 10:57, igniting a 10-0 Loyola run that would stretch into the fourth quarter.
Pontrello tallied an unassisted goal at 9:33, and eight seconds later Mike Sawyer took a Butts pass after Butts picked up the ground ball on a Brendan Donovan faceoff win. Sawyer scored to make the lead 12-7.
A Butts bounce shot from 12 yards out made it 13-7 Loyola at 7:51, and then Ward reeled off three in a row, the final coming at 2:47 with the Greyhounds facing a 30-second warning.
Layne registered his third multi-goal game of the year with 36 ticks left in the quarter with the Greyhounds a man down, and Harry Kutner tallied his first goal as a Greyhound on an extra-man opportunity 30 seconds into the fourth.
Pontrello added his third of the game at 12:57 to complete the 10-0 run.
Pat Young broke through for UMBC at 11:06, and Sawyer and Scott Ratliff tacked on late goals for the Greyhounds.
The 21 goals are the most by a Loyola team since the Greyhounds defeated Villanova University, 21-7, on the road on April 26, 2000.
Donovan won 19-of-31 faceoffs for Loyola, and the Greyhounds were successful on 20-of-33 in total.
Ratliff scooped up eight ground balls, and Joe Fletcher had seven, helping Loyola to a 49-30 advantage off the ground. Ratliff also set a career-high with five caused turnovers.
Seven Loyola players had multi-point games: Ward (7g, 3a), Pontrello (3g, 3a), Sawyer (3g, 1a), Layne (2g, 1a), Butts (1g, 2a) and Laconi (1g, 1a).
Jack Runkel made seven saves in goal for Loyola, and Jimmy Joe Granito played the final 8:22, tallying two saves.
Loyola continues its busy start to the season with its fifth game in 15 days when it hosts Bellarmine University at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.
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