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Eric Lusby scored four goals as Loyola University Maryland beat the University of Maryland 9-3 to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s lacrosse championship.
Lusby’s final tally was his 17th of the tournament, an NCAA record, and sophomore goalie Jack Runkel made six saves as the top-seeded Greyhounds won the game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
After trailing 3-2, Loyola scored seven unanswered goals and held Maryland scoreless for the final 40 minutes, giving the Greyhounds their first title at college lacrosse’s top level. The team was runner-up in 1990, its only previous appearance in the championship game.
“There are so many people that have gotten us to where we are today,” Loyola coach Charley Toomey said in a televised interview after the game. “This is for them. This is for our alumni, this is for our university.”
Maryland held early leads at 1-0 and again at 3-2, when junior midfielder Kevin Cooper scored with 10:40 remaining in the second quarter. The Greyhounds responded with seven straight goals, the final three from Lusby, and Maryland was kept off the scoreboard for the final 40:40 of the game, missing on its final 20 shots.
“Our kids got what they deserved, because they were great all year,” Toomey said.
The two schools, located 40 miles apart in Maryland, took different routes to the finals. The Greyhounds finished the regular season with one loss and clinched the top spot in the tournament for the first time since 1999.
Maryland lost five times before the tournament began and entered unseeded. The Terrapins beat third-seeded Johns Hopkins and second-seeded Duke to reach the finals.
Lusby, a graduate student who missed last season due to injury, was the first Greyhound to hoist the championship trophy after the game. Surrounded by teammates, he jogged the prize to the corner of the stadium where the Loyola fans had gathered.
Lusby’s 54 goals this season set a school record, two more than junior attack Mike Sawyer scored. Earlier this month Sawyer, who gave the team a permanent lead today when he broke a 3-3 tie with 5:57 remaining in the second quarter, was named one of five male finalists for the Tewaarton Award, given every year to the sport’s best male and female players.
Maryland, which won the NCAA championship in 1973 and 1975, is winless in its last seven trips to the tournament final.
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