BALTIMORE, Md. – The players charged the field first, discarding their sticks and gloves while sprinting towards the goal. Moments later they were met by a crowd of students, and the two groups joined for a joyous celebration on a beautiful spring day. On the sideline, Georgetown could only stand and watch the celebration after Loyola pulled off the upset and took sole possession of first place in the ECAC.

In a crucial league game, No. 4 Georgetown came up short Saturday, losing to No. 19 Loyola 11-9 in front of a boisterous crowd of 1,440 fans in Baltimore.

“It’s disappointing,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Urick said. “We knew coming in it was going to be a challenge, and it was every bit that and then some.”

The Hoyas, historically known for their ability to control possession through faceoffsand clears, and on the ride, found themselves without the ball for the majority of the first quarter. Loyola capitalized off of Georgetown turnovers and the Greyhounds slowed down their fast-paced transition game, taking a 3-0 lead just minutes into the second quarter.

“Early in the game it didn’t seem like we had the ball very much,” Urick said. “We had penalties, and when we didn’t have penalties, we didn’t have much going at the faceoff X.”

Down three goals, Georgetown looked to senior attacker Brendan Cannon to get the Hoyas on the board. As he has done all season, Cannon made things happen himself, taking the ball from behind the net and beating his man to put the Hoyas on the board at 3-1.

Georgetown narrowed the gap to 4-3 following a goal by sophomore midfielder Andrew Brancaccio, but just a minute later the Greyhounds increased the lead to 5-3 behind a goal from junior midfielder Jimmy Daly.

Back-to-back Georgetown goals midway through the third quarter evened the score at 6-6. Cannon started the scoring burst with his second of the day on an extra man opportunity to make it 6-5. A minute later, after Loyola freshman goalkeeper Jake Hagelin deflected a shot from senior attacker Andrew Baird, sophomore attacker Ricky Mirabito found the ball. With the ball behind the net, Mirabito baited Hagelin to move to one side of the crease and sent a beautiful pass to sophomore midfielder Chris Schuville, who easily put it home to tie the game at 6-6.

“I give our kids credit for playing hard,” Urick said of his team’s effort in the second half. “We didn’t play particularly well at times but we played hard.”

For the remainder of the third quarter, the Greyhounds attempted to keep the Hoyas at arms length, and the period ended with Loyola leading 8-7.

Loyola kept the pressure on Georgetown, but senior goalkeeper Miles Kass, who made 15 saves, kept making big stops to keep the Hoyas in it.

“Miles played very well,” Urick said. “Miles has been consistent for us all year. He’s been the difference for us in a lot of games.”

The pace of the game, which was slow in the opening quarter, shifted to an up-tempo pace that characteristic of the Greyhounds. Cannon however, did not think the up-tempo pace caused Georgetown problems.

“They’re a good transition team, but we like to play at that pace as well too,” the senior attacker said. “We’ve got as good of athletes as anyone.”

Georgetown tied the game at 8-8 thanks to a goal by junior midfieler Todd Cochran off of an Andrew Brancaccio assist, only his second of the season.

With the score evened up, the game turned into the Shane Koppens’ show. The senior attacker, who already had two goals on the day, gave Loyola a 9-8 advantage with nine minutes to go in the game.

Koppens’ next goal, his fourth, may have been his best of the day. After both teams traded turnovers, Koppens took the ball on the side of the net, with senior defender Jerry Lambe – considered one of the best one-on-one defenders in the country – defending him. He wrapped around to the front of the net, beating Lambe to the spot, with just Kass to beat put the ball home for a 10-8 advantage.

“Jerry [Lambe] was the matchup,” Urick said. “We feel pretty good about that but [Koppens is] a good talent.”

Thirty seconds later, Cannon responded. Working from the left side of the net, the senior fought off a defender and shot a slow shot that looked to be an easy save. Like a change-up in baseball, the speed of the shot fooled Hagelin, who missed the ball as Georgetown closed the lead to 10-9.

“I made a move for a second and [the defender] got a good lift,” Cannon said. “It’s one that the goalie nine times out of 10 would stop it, but it’s so slow that you kind of react to it a little funny.”

After a sloppy few minutes, Georgetown again had possession of the ball with a minute left in the game. After working the ball around the field, freshman midfielder Max Seligmann drove toward the net, and with a defender on his hip, took a shot that went wide of the net. With no one from Georgetown backing up the net, Loyola was able to retain possession of the ball.

“Not backing the cage up was probably the thing that was most disappointing,” Urick said. “That’s not the time for that type of turnover. That comes under the heading `self-inflicted’ wound, and we had a few of those today.”

Seconds later, Koppens took a pass in open space and beat Kass for his fifth goal of the game to seal the upset for the Greyhounds.

The result puts Loyola in first place in the ECAC with only Hobart and Fairfield left to play in the league. If Loyola wins those two games then it will find itself with the automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. Georgetown needs Loyola to lose both to have a chance at the automatic qualifier, or they will have to rely on the selection committee to earn an at-large spot in the tournament.

Cannon said that while the loss was hard, he and his teammates will keep their heads up and prepare for the upcoming opponents.

“We’re going to try to take the positive out of it,” he said. “We’ve got three more tough opponents and then playoffs, hopefully. We have to finish strong.”

Next up for Georgetown is Massachusetts at home for senior day on Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Multi-Sport Field.

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