Loyola vs. Maryland: Greyhounds Will Defy History with Win over Terrapins

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - MAY 26:  Eric Lusby #12 of Loyola Greyhounds (C) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half of a semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championships at Gillette Stadium on May 26, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The Loyola Greyhounds have lost 19 of 20 all-time matchups against Maryland, but will ignore that fact when they beat the Terrapins in Monday's national championship game.

The Greyhounds enter Monday's national championship for the first time since 1990. They didn't even make the NCAA tournament field last year, finishing 8-5.

History is not on their side, but this team is riding huge momentum after narrowly defeating Notre Dame to earn their national championship berth.

Let's take a look at how Loyola got here and why they will send the Terrapins home with a loss on Monday.


How Greyhounds Got Here

Loyola defeated Canisius, Denver and Notre Dame to earn their national championship berth.

In the first round against Canisius, Loyola scored 13 goals to start the second half. The final score was 17-5. Mike Sawyer scored five goals and Eric Lusby chipped in five points.

After their first-round victory, the Greyhounds faced off with Denver. This match would prove to be much tougher. Loyola managed to escape with a 10-9 victory despite a late push by the Pioneer squad.

Finally, the Greyhounds faced off with Notre Dame in the semifinals. The Fighting Irish fell at the hands of the Greyhounds, 7-5. Lusby scored five goals with the others coming from Davis Butts and Josh Hawkins.

The Greyhounds' road has not been easy. Their first-round blowout victory was a good warm-up for their two tight contests with Denver and Notre Dame.


Why the Greyhounds Will Defeat Maryland

History may not be on Loyola's side, but they are the tournament's No. 1 seed for a reason. They only lost one game all season, and boast two of the country's top players in Lusby and Sawyer.

This is not the same Greyhound squad that limped their way through last season. If anything, last season has pushed this squad to avoid a repeat performance.

The Terrapins have beaten up on the Greyhounds in the past, but they are neither as prepared nor as talented as this Greyhound squad.

Maryland defeated Lehigh, Johns Hopkins and Duke to get to the finals. Their victories over Johns Hopkins and Duke were six-goal margins. Blowout wins do not season a team for victory.

The Greyhounds will have history in mind when they take the field on Memorial Day. This is only their second national championship appearance in their program's history, and they plan to take advantage of it.

Maryland is a solid squad from top to bottom, but Sawyer and Lusby are too much to handle on offense. Each has scored 50 goals this season, and Lusby has added 13 more in the tournament.

History tends to repeat itself, but not in this case.

The Greyhounds will win and stake their claim as the best college lacrosse team in Maryland, and the nation.