Layne's Game-Winner at 0:04 Lifts No. 1 Loyola Over Delaware

NEWARK, Del. -- Delaware nearly pulled off the first major upset of the collegiate lacrosse season at frigid Delaware Stadium Saturday afternoon, but top-ranked Loyola put an end to the Hens' hopes when Chris Layne scored with just four seconds left to send the defending national champion Greyhounds to a thrilling 9-8 victory.

Delaware (1-2), playing a No. 1 ranked team for the first time in over a decade, put together an inspired rally in the final quarter and tied the game at 8-8 on a goal by Danny Keane with just 26 seconds left to play.

But Loyola (1-0), which was playing its season opener, took advantage of a late Delaware turnover to capture the win as Layne rushed to the front of the net and bounced a shot past Delaware goalkeeper Chris Herbert for the game-winner. Loyola then won the faceoff to escape with the victory.

The late afternoon game was played in windy, 30-degree weather and snow flurries were present for most of the day.

Nick Diachenko led the Hens with two goals while Eric Smith and Sean Finegan each scored a goal and dished out an assists and Connor McCoy dished out two assists. Herbert finished an outstanding performance with 14 saves in goal while sophomore Tyler Barbarich dominated at the faceoff circle, winning 14 of 21 attempts.

“Loyola has a lot of talent,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw, whose team is one of the youngest in the nation and is playing without its top two midfielders in Dom Sebastiani and Garrett Johnson due to injuries. “We are certainly disappointed to lose this one but we will use this as a stepping stone to come back and get better. We have really emphasized working hard in practice and this group comes out everyday and works hard.”

Loyola, which captured the national title in 2012 with an impressive 18-1 mark, returned six of its top seven scorers from that team and earned a No. 1 pre-season ranking in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Top 20 poll.

Justin Ward led the Greyhound offense on Saturday as he scored three goals and dished out two assists while Layne finished with two goals and an assist and Davis Butts and Mike Sawyer each contributed a goal and an assist. Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel recorded 11 saves to post the win while Reid Acton paced the defense with five caused turnovers and five groundballs.

Delaware outshot Loyola by a slim 38-36 margin and held a 36-34 advantage in groundballs, but the Greyhounds took advantage of 19 Blue Hen turnovers.

Loyola, which defeated the Hens for 20th straight time, was Delaware's first No. 1 ranked opponent since the same Greyhounds posted a 19-11 win in Baltimore in 1999. The Greyhounds were also the first No. 1 ranked team to come to Newark since they also visited Delaware as the nation's top-ranked team in 1994.

The Hens jumped out to a 2-1 lead on goals by Brian Kormandy and Tom Holland in the opening four minutes, but Loyola answered with three straight goals, including two by Ward, to finish the stanza up 4-2. Delaware's Diachenko scored the game's only goal of the second quarter as the Greyhounds took a 4-3 lead into intermission.

Loyola took control in the second half as Scott Ratliff and Ward tallied goals less than a minute apart midway through the third stanza for a 6-3 lead, and after Diachenko scored his second goal of the game at the 6:13 mark, took a 7-4 lead into the final quarter on a goal by Sawyer.

Delaware mounted its comeback early in the final quarter as freshman Ian Robertson scored his first career goal just 90 seconds in and Finegan followed 49 seconds later with an unassisted score. Smith, the Hens' leading scorer with seven goals this season, scored the Hens' third straight goal off a feed from McRoy with 10:28 remaining to tie the game at 7-7 with a man-up tally.

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