BALTIMORE – The Bucknell men's lacrosse team knocked off No. 6 Loyola, 12-11, Saturday afternoon at the Ridley Athletic Complex.
The Bison (6-3, 4-1 Patriot League) handed the two-time defending champion Greyhounds (5-3, 3-1 Patriot League) their first Patriot League loss of the season by building a four-goal advantage and then holding off a furious comeback attempt in the final six minutes of regulation.
After Kevin Lindley completed a hat trick with 5:47 on the clock to snap Bucknell's 4-0 run, Loyola netted two goals in a 31-second span to make it a 12-11 game with 3:03 left to play. While Jarett Witzal won the resulting face-off to get the Bison the ball back, Jacob Stover denied a Connor O'Hara bid with 2:11 remaining to give the Greyhounds a chance to send the game into overtime.
With 47 seconds on the clock, Christian Klipstein snagged an Alex McGovern bullet at the right edge of the crease to maintain Bucknell's one-goal edge. While the Bison turned the ball over after Klipstein's save, Hunter Newman picked off a Pat Spencer pass to keep Loyola from getting another look on net. The Bison drained the final 35 seconds from the clock by playing keep away and then stormed the field in celebration of their first victory over a top-10 opponent since 2013.
Bucknell turned an 8-8 deadlock into a 12-8 lead with a 4-0 run that stretched from the 3:55 mark of the third quarter to the 8:21 mark of the final frame. During that run, which proved to be the difference in the game, O'Hara netted two of his game-high four goals, Will Sands registered a pair of assists and Reed Malas capped his second career hat trick with an unassisted beauty.
Up until that 4-0 run, neither team could build more than two-goal advantage. The teams were tied six times and exchanged leads three times. The Bison twice led by two goals, at 4-2 and 5-3, while the Greyhounds held four one-goal edges over the course of the contest. At halftime, they were locked in a 6-6 stalemate.
Bucknell held slim leads in shots (37-31), ground balls (27-24) and face-offs (15-for-27). The Bison capitalized on three of their six man advantages while holding the Greyhounds scoreless on their two opportunities, which included a two-man advantage early in the fourth quarter.
Sands now needs just one goal to become the sixth Bison to net 100 in his career. With 34 assists this season, he cracked Bucknell's top 10 in single-season assists for the second time; he already holds the second spot with his 42 helpers from a year ago and took seventh with his 2018 total.
Klipstein finished with nine saves. Witzal took every face-off for Bucknell and led the team with six ground balls. Newman caused a team-best two turnovers and tied Bryant Boswell for second among Bison with three ground balls.
Loyola's Aidan Olmstead led all players with six points (2g-4a) while Lindley tied Malas for the game-high with three goals. Notably, Bucknell held Spencer, a two-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and 2018 First Team All-American, to just three points (1g-2a). Stover stopped eight shots while Bailey Savio collected a game-high eight ground balls.
Entering the game, the Greyhounds appeared in both the USILA Coaches' Poll and Inside Lacrosse Maverik Media Listing. They were tabbed No. 6 in the Coaches' Poll and were locked in a tie for sixth in the Media Listing with Yale.
Bucknell last defeated a top-10 team in 2013, a year it went 5-3 against ranked opponents. On March 19, the Bison, then ranked No. 15, edged No. 2 Cornell, 9-8, in Ithaca, New York; Chase Bailey netted the game-winning goal with one minute remaining in regulation.
Last season, Bucknell stunned then No. 17/18 Loyola, 9-8, in double overtime at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Sands led the way with five points (2g-3a), including the game-winning goal, and Klipstein made 15 saves.
Bucknell continues Patriot League action with a noon game at Army West Point on Saturday, March 31.