St. Margaret’s Defense Handles Loyola in 8-4 Win

The  St. Margaret’s boys’ lacrosse team earned its biggest win of the young season Saturday, defeating the two-time section champion Loyola Cubs 8-4 at Loyola High School.

It was the fifth consecutive victory to open the season for the Tartans (5-0) and the first win over Loyola after losing to the Cubs in 2016 and 2017. The loss was the third of the season for Loyola (5-3) and marked only the third time in three seasons the Cubs’ have been held to four goals or fewer.

It was clear from the outset this would be a low-scoring affair, especially with St. Margaret’s goalie Zane Handy posting another stellar performance.

Loyola got on the board first with a goal from Speed Fry three minutes into the first quarter, and St. Margarets’ Conrad Hampson answered three minutes later. St. Margaret’s attackman Kevin Groeninger (2g, 2a) gave the Tartans their first lead early in the second period, and Loyola’s Alex Horowitz tied it with 6:29 to play in the first half.

That’s when the Tartans took control, mounting a 6-0 run that spanned halftime and the entire third quarter and gave them an insurmountable 7-2 lead heading to the fourth period. The Cubs were held scoreless for 19 minutes until knocking in two consolation goals in the fourth quarter.

The Tartans’ run was thanks in large part to their zone defense, which disrupted the flow of Loyola’s offense and held the Cubs to their lowest score of the season, and goalie Handy, who recorded 12 saves.

St. Margarets’ 11th man, their sideline, was also largely responsible for the team’s fifth straight win. As seems to be the case at all Tartans’ games, coaches and players could be heard across the field, constantly providing encouragement and barking orders. This energy becomes contagious and the players on the field feed off of it.

The 11th man is an important part of the Tartans’ success according to coach Glen Miles.

“It is a spiritual and emotional game,” Miles said after the game. “And so when the energy is high, I think it’s the way the game supposed to be played, with emotion.”

Groeninger’s four points led St. Margaret’s and attackman Garrett Kuntz had a goal and two assists. Trevor Peay and Andy Shin also scored for the Tartans.

Even though St. Margaret’s is now 5-0 and just defeated one of the top teams in the Southern Section, Miles feels this win was just like any other and stresses the importance of staying the course.

“Right now, we feel like every week is a very good opponent and we try not to focus on just one win,” he said. “We’re trying to find a level of consistency and sustained performance regardless of who we play.”