Junior attackman Neal Hicks scored a career-high three goals in a return to his home state.

Fighting Irish Edge Loyola, 10-9, In Season Opener

Feb. 14, 2009

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Box Score

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. – A Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) goal off a feed from Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) with 5:29 left in regulation proved to be the game winner as the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team topped Loyola College, 10-9, on Saturday afternoon at McEachern High School in the Atlanta area. The contest was the season opener for both squads.

Senior goalie Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur), who was making his first collegiate start, made two crucial saves in the final minute to preserve the victory for Notre Dame. Rodgers made 11 saves on the day.

Krebs led the Fighting Irish with four points on three goals and an assist. Fellow junior Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga./The Lovett School) notched a career-high three goals in a return to his home state. Sophomore David Earl (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) and Hoff both chipped in two goals each, while senior Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) dished off three assists for the Irish.

Notre Dame jumped ahead first behind a goal from Hicks off an assist from Swezey with just over six minutes elapsed in the contest. Loyola responded on a tally from Jimmy Daly. Scores from Hoff and Earl put the Irish up 3-1 with 1:38 left in the first quarter. A goal from Loyola’s Eric Lusby trimmed the Irish lead to 3-2 after the first period.

The Greyhounds continued their run with three straight goals to begin the second quarter to stake a 5-3 lead by the 11:36 mark of the first half. Colin Finnerty, who had a game-high four goals, deposited two of the scores in the surge.

The Fighting Irish answered back with three consecutive goals of their own. Krebs found the back of the net before Hicks connected on back-to-back tallies to make it 6-5 in favor of the Irish with 8:45 left on the clock in the opening half. Loyola would score with under a minute left to make it a 6-6 contest at the intermission.

Notre Dame opened the second half with a man-up possession and took advantage as Krebs scored his second goal off an assist from Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School), who had two assists on the day. Loyola knotted the score once again behind Finnerty before Earl put the Irish back on top (8-7) with 21 seconds left in the third quarter.

Finnerty made it 8-8 in the early stages of the final period. Krebs completed his hat trick on another man-up goal to put Notre Dame back on top with 9:19 left in regulation. The Greyhounds netted an equalizer once again as Daly scored with 7:30 remaining. Hoff netted the game winner just over two minutes later for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame is now 22-7 all-time in season openers. The Irish have won a school-record seven straight season-openers.

The Fighting Irish return to the field at Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 22. The contest is slated for a 1:00 p.m. (ET) start.

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Feb. 14, 2009 – McEachern High School – Powder Springs, Ga.
#17 Loyola (0-1) – 2 4 1 2 – 9
#7 Notre Dame (1-0) – 3 3 2 2 – 10

Loyola Scoring (goals-assists):
Colin Finnerty 4-1, Jimmy Daly 2-0, Cooper MacDonnell 1-0, Eric Lusby 1-0, Jake Wilcox 1-0, Matt Langan 0-1, Christ Hurst 0-1, Taylor Ebsary 0-1, John Schiavone 0-1; Goaltender: Jake Hagelin (60:00, 15 saves, 10 GA)

Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Grant Krebs 3-1, Neal Hicks 3-0, Ryan Hoff 2-0, David Earl 2-0, Duncan Swezey 0-3, Peter Christman 0-2; Goaltender: Scott Rodgers (60:00, 11 saves, 9 GA)