March 21, 2009

BALTIMORE, Md. - UMass played its best all-around game of the season in knocking off No. 12 Loyola, 8-6, for its first-ever win against the Greyhounds in Baltimore. Senior goalie Doc Schneider was sensational with 17 saves, including many tremendous fourth quarter stops, as UMass (4-3, 1-0 ECAC) held off a late charge by Loyola (5-3, 2-1 ECAC). Jim Connolly and Bobby Hayes each had two goals for the Minutemen. Junior defenseman Diogo Godoi blanked Loyola's Shane Koppens, the reining ECAC Player of the Week, holding him without a point.

The Minutemen gained a measure of revenge for last season's 15-1 defeat by the Greyhounds at Garber Field. UMass also handed Loyola its first-ever home ECAC conference loss. The Greyhounds had been 11-0 at Geppi-Aikens Field since they joined the ECAC in 2005.

The win was UMass' first-ever in nine tries at Loyola, dating to 1963. It was also UMass' first win south of Delaware since 2003 when the Minutemen won at UMBC. Since 2004, UMass had been 0-7 in games in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Loyola's Cooper MacDonnell mustered the only goal in the fourth to pull back to within 8-6 with 10:28 left in regulation. The Greyhounds continued to pepper Schneider with shots, but the UMass goalie made five stops in the last 15 minutes to hold onto the victory.

After five goals in the first half total, the third quarter was a goal factory as the squads combined for eight goals, four apiece. UMass twice took a four-goal lead on tallies, the first by Hayes with 6:43 left in the quarter - forcing Loyola to replace goalie Jake Hagelin with Alex Peaty. Then with 2:49 left, Connolly scored his second of the game beating Peaty between the legs for an 8-4 lead. MacDonnell scored his second of the period with 1:17 left to make it 8-5 after three quarters.

Despite all the goals in the third quarter, Schneider was outstanding with six saves in the period alone, holding off Loyola.

UMass was controlled and deliberate on both ends of the field in the first half in building a 4-1 lead. Schneider made six saves while the close defensemen Godoi, Mack and Anderson held Loyola's attack scoreless and to just three shots (only one on goal). The Minutemen kept Loyola off the scoreboard for the final 27:06 of the first half and scored the final three goals of the half. Rory Pedrick's quick stick goal off a pass from Hayes made it 3-1 with 11:07 left in the half. Connolly dunked home a shot from the close angle with 3:55 on the clock and the Minutemen's defense held stout.

The defenses stood tall in the first period after UMass' Hayes and Loyola's Jake Willcox traded goals in the first three minutes, the goalies stopped everything in sight. Minuteman senior Evan Blum finally broke through with a long shot from 20 yards out that beat Hagelin with 31.2 seconds left in the first giving UMass a 2-1 edge.

UMass continues play in the ECAC with a match-up vs. Penn State next Saturday, March 28, at Garber Field in Amherst, Mass., at 12 Noon. Follow all the action on live streaming video and WMUA 91.1 FM Radio.