Loyola Blakefield had a 9-7 lead with 55 seconds to go in regulation before the St. Paul’ Crusaders staged a dramatic comeback to tie and then win a key MIAA A Conference lacrosse game, as Jay Carlson netted the winner in overtime at Blakefield on Thursday afternoon.

The Dons broke a 7-7 tie on a goal by T.J. Neubauer with 4:41 to play in the fourth quarter, and Deemer Class got what appeared to be an insurance tally with 3:01 left, making it 9-7.  The Crusaders, however, stayed alive when Taylor Michel scored his third goal of the day with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for the tying score from Spencer Parks with 11 seconds left in regulation.

Gavin Llewellyn got the ball to Carlson in front of the crease, and Carslon dumped it in to give the Crusaders the thrilling win.

“Gavin threw the double, and I caught it and I just finished it,” said Carlson, who had three goals on the day.

“We were down by two, and our goalie came out of the cage to play defense, and our defense stepped up and got the ball,” added the talented senior.

Taylor Michel, who also scored three times for the Crusaders, said that it was probably the most exciting game that he has ever played in.

“Loyola, they’re offense moved off the ball non-stop; their defense held their own.  Chris Thomas (the Loyola goalie) played amazing. He stopped us right at the doorstep a couple of times.”

Parks, who tied it for the Crusaders in regulation, said that it was really a tough game.  

“We were down by two with under a minute to go. When it came down to it, we had to finish, and we did.”

Crusader coach Rick Brocato said that the whole second half was about heart for his team.  

“Brett Parker played a beautiful game for us, Gavin Llewellyn played great and Connor Galvin stepped up and played some quality minutes.

“It was just about going all out and trying to outwork them.”

St. Paul’s took an early lead four minutes into the game on goals by Carlson and Michel at 8:28 and 8:07 of the first quarter before Loyola answered with goals by Devin McNamara (who had three scores on the day), and Kacy Kapinos.  

The Dons got second quarter goals from Adam Smith and McNamara to hold a 4-2 lead at the half.

St. Paul’s got the next two scores to tie the game again at 4-4 at the eight minute mark of the third period.  Brett Parker and Spencer Parks scored at 8:48 and 8:15 in the third, before McNamara answered again for the Dons with 3:35 left in the third. Loyola’s Alec Dauses made it 6-4 at 2:28, before Michel cut the Loyola lead to one just thirty seconds later.

Loyola’s Deemer Class put the Dons up 7-5 two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Crusaders rallied again. Parker scored at 9:01, and Carlson tied it 7-7 at 6:22.

When Neubauer and Class scored two minutes later for the Dons, their two goal lead appeared safe, but with less than a minute to go in regulation, Michel and Parks pulled their heroics.

“This game came down to fundamentals,” lamented Loyola coach Jack Crawford. “We just could not pick up ground balls at the right time. We gave them too many chances.

“We feel like we did everything we had to do to put ourselves in a position to win.  This is a disappointing loss.”

The Dons lost a one-goal heart-breaker to McDonogh just eleven days ago at Blakefield when the tying goal was waved off as time expired.  

St. Paul’s 10, Loyola 9
SP       2   0   3   4   1  –  10
LOY     2    2   2   3   0  –   9
SP-Carlson 3, Michel 3, Parks 2, Parker 2; LOY-McNamara 3, Class 2, Kapinos, Dauses, Neubauer, Smith.
Assists: SP-Maddux, Land; LOY-Neubauer 3, Bivens 2, Anderson.
Saves: SP-Waldt 6; LOY-Thomas 11.