BALTIMORE, Md. -- Ninth-ranked Virginia (1-0) manufactured a five-goal third quarter and survived a late rally by No. 7 Loyola (0-1) to win its season-opening game 13-12 on Saturday afternoon at the Ridley Athletic Complex. Virginia has won its season-opening game for eight consecutive seasons.
“People who don’t want us to start the season this early will miss games like this,” said Virginia coach Dom Starsia. “We knew that Loyola was never going to go away. I am very proud of our team. We have been through a lot this past week or so. You lose a player of Tanner Scales' ability and you have to mix and match the pieces. With the newness we have, starting at the faceoff X and moving back toward the defensive end, it was really hard to anticipate how we were going to react in every situation and I thought we battled the whole game. That is what I am most proud of.”
Scales, a preseason first-team All-American at defense, was lost for the season last week with an injury and all three starters on Virginia's close defense against Loyola made their first collegiate starts (Scott Hooper, Logan Greco and Davi Sacco). Hooper and Greco also made their collegiate debuts.
The Cavaliers used a four-goal run in the third quarter to break open a 6-6 game. Greg Coholan scored two of his career-high four goals to start the spurt. Matt Emery scored his first career goal and Zed Williams capped the run on a laser that found its way between the legs of Loyola goalie Pat McEnerney, giving the Cavaliers a 10-6 advantage at the 6:32 mark in the third quarter.
#WAHOOWA #UVa grabs the 13-12 win at No. 7 Loyola. The #Hoos are 1-0! #UVAvsLOY pic.twitter.com/CVx5BbCmSj— Virginia Lacrosse (@UVAMensLacrosse) February 7, 2015
Loyola came roaring back, cutting its deficit to one goal (12-11) after back-to-back goals by Romar Dennis. The second goal came with 4:30 left in the game and capped a 5-2 run by the Greyhounds. Williams gave Virginia just enough breathing room with his unassisted goal with 3:11 left in the contest.
The Greyhounds managed another goal at 2:04 by Zach Herreweyers, but it wasn’t enough. In the final seconds Loyola’s Nikko Pontrello turned the ball over to Virginia with 29 seconds left. Loyola, however, received the ball back on a turnover by UVa goalie Matt Barrett with 13 seconds left. Logan Greco caused a turnover with six seconds left, giving UVa the ball back, but he lost it almost immediately. Pat Frazier picked up the ground ball for Loyola and his desperation shot went high as time expired, securing the win for Virginia.
UVa won the shots battle 43-38 while Loyola won the ground balls (38-27), faceoffs (19-9) and had more turnovers (14-12). Saves were equal at 9-9.
Coholan led the Cavaliers with four goals and one assist, while Williams had three goals and two assists. Ryan Lukacovic added two goals and two assists in the winning effort.
Dennis and Herreweyers led Loyola, each scoring three goals in the losing effort.