Loyola senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell finished with six goals, including the winning goal with nine seconds left in sudden-death overtime. It was the most goals that Navy (1-1) had given up to an individual since Delby Powell of Rutgers scored seven in 2003.
MacDonnell scored four goals right-handed and two lefty. He was guarded primarily by sophomore Matt Vernam. Vernam defended two first-team All-American attackmen last year -- Duke's Ned Crotty and Colgate's Brandon Corp -- and Navy was reluctant to send a double-team to Vernam's matchup on Saturday. (On the winning goal, MacDonnell was defended by junior Michael Hirsch following a switch.)
Meantime, Navy's primary offensive player had a much different afternoon. Senior Tim Paul, who like MacDonnell was his team's leading scorer last year, twisted his knee with around one minute left in regulation as he battled for a loose ball. He did not come back into the game.
Paul's status for Navy's game against North Carolina on Thursday isn't known, according to Coach Richie Meade.
Paul's replacement found himself immediately in the spotlight. With around one minute left in overtime, Vernam picked up a groundball and started a 4-on-3 fast break.
Sophomore Ryan O'Leary, who missed much of preseason training with an injury, received the final pass about three yards from the goal. He was wide open, caught the pass and faced Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin.
To that point, Hagelin had made two saves, none in the first 57 minutes of regulation. But Hagelin stuffed a low shot from O'Leary.
The Greyhounds (1-0) cleared and MacDonnell's heroics came soon after.
Paul was injured as he hit a Loyola defenseman in a scramble for a loose ball. It was a play borne of frustration -- the Midshipmen finished with more turnovers (24) than shots (21).
"You can't win the game if you have that many turnovers," said senior Patrick Moran, who finished with three goals.
The shot total tied the lowest for Navy since a 4-3 loss to Georgetown in 2003, when it took 18 shots on a snowy, windy day.
The turnovers gave MacDonnell plenty of opportunities. His afternoon featured 6 goals, 1 assist and 18 shots. At times, Navy was equal to the challenge. Sophomore RJ Wickham made 19 saves, including seven on shots from MacDonnell.
For the most part, however, Navy struggled with the matchup. Of Loyola's eight goals, MacDonnell scored six, had one assist and the goal on which he was not officially linked -- a score by freshman Davis Butts for a 6-3 lead midway through the third quarter -- MacDonnell made the pass to Butts just before he scored. (Butts dodged a defender so no assist was credited.)
"To be honest, this was the best game of my life," MacDonnell said.
The Midshipmen certainly didn't figure him out. The PA announcer mis-pronounced MacDonnell's name a couple times (it's pronounced MAC-dawn-ell). Wickham referred to him as "number 16" and Meade twice called him "Cooperman" in the post-game interview.
That the game went to overtime didn't look likely following the goal by Butts. But the Midshipmen answered with a 3-0 run on two goals from junior Andy Warner and one from Moran to tie the game with 12:41 to play. Loyola took a 7-6 lead on another goal by MacDonnell. Navy forced overtime on a goal by Moran with 3:03 to play.
Senior Robby Battle won the face-off in overtime -- senior Jaren Woeppel grabbed the groundball -- but Navy's opening possession ended when Moran took his eye off a pass from senior Joe Lennon and the ball went out of bounds. The second possession ended after O'Leary's shot was saved.
"We had too many turnovers and didn't handle the ball well enough," Meade said. "I have no idea [what happened to the offense]. For a team that spent as much time going over the fundamentals as we did, to play like that is really disappointing."
LAX: Loyola 8, Navy 7
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