Up 6-1 with just under six minutes remaining in the first half, Loyola looked poised to run away from Lehigh and secure -- without a doubt -- the Patriot League's automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Two goals from Lehigh within 30 seconds late in the second quarter, though, tipped momentum in the Mountain Hawks' favor: Lehigh was within three with two minutes to try and make something happen. And then Loyola did what exceptional teams do: They stepped directly on the Hawks' neck, reasserted control of the game, and rolled to a 16-7 win.
The flashpoint for Loyola's push came with about 30 seconds remaining before the intermission. Lehigh's Dan Taylor -- one of the Patriot League's strongest individual offensive weapons -- got to the crease in a virtual one-on-one with Jack Runkel. Taylor went high on Runkel and the goalkeeper absolutely stuffed the elite finisher, reading Taylor's shot from crosse-to-crosse. Runkel -- with 25 seconds left before the horn -- outletted the ball and got the 'Hounds in transition. Justin Ward then fed Brian Schultz for a bucket with 13 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was a two-goal swing that gave the Greyhounds a four-goal cushion, all the scoring that Loyola would need to send the Mountain Hawks into hiberation until the 2015 season.
The final 30 minutes of the game mirrored the first 30, with Loyola's offense hammering the brick -- putting nine tallies on the board -- and the Greyhounds' defense -- yielding just four goals in the half -- making stop after stop with Runkel playing the role of a capable and poised netminder. Loyola showed its complete nature and balanced approach, having four players -- Brian Schultz (3G, 2A), Matt Sawyer (4G), Nikko Pontrello (2G, 2A), and Justin Ward (1G, 3A) -- generate at least four points and limiting Lehigh's big guns -- Dan Taylor (2G, 2A), Reid Weber (no points), and Patrick Corbett (3G) -- to seven points combined.
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||20.00||43.24|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||16.67%||34.78%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.20||1.24|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||45.71||35.14|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions||30.56||40.28|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||37.84||48.57|
|Team Save Percentage||46.67%||70.83%|