As Loyola convened its huddle at the start of Sundays fourth overtime at Georgetown, coach Charley Toomey asked his team if it was having fun yet.
Quite a different thought passed through attackman Chris Palmers mind.
“That Im too old for this,” Palmer said. “Im a fifth year, Im 23 years old, and my legs are dead. I was just like ‘We have to get this over with. “
Palmer took care of matters, scoring with 1:47 left in the fourth extra period to lift the No. 19 Greyhounds to a 6-5 victory and all but crush the Hoyas slim NCAA tournament chances.
Jake Hagelin made a career-high 18 saves for Loyola, and Jack Davis stopped a career-best 15 shots on an afternoon that turned into a showcase for goalies and steady defense rather than the up-tempo pace Georgetown (5-6) preferred.
The Hoyas, who rallied from a two-goal deficit in the last five minutes of regulation to force overtime, already had lost their most high-profile games (Maryland, Syracuse, Duke and Notre Dame) and probably needed help to snap a three-year postseason hiatus.
Most significantly, they had no room for error - and landing on the wrong side of the longest game in both programs respective histories probably extinguished any lingering NCAA chances.
“Thats something were going to have to deal with with these guys,” Urick said. “If we had a hope of getting in the thing, I think we had to win out this game and the rest of them.”
The tension of overtime was preceded by uneventful early play. Loyola (7-3), which preserved its at-large postseason hopes, was content to shorten the game with a methodical approach. The plodding pace led to a 4-2 Greyhounds lead deep into the fourth quarter, though the goalies played a role, too.
“It definitely was strange,” Davis said. It seemed like the tempo was constantly changing. Both teams were possessing the ball for a while, and middies were making three or four runs up the field. I cant imagine that. Those guys must be so gassed, but they left it out on the field.”
Georgetown’s midfield produced two goals to forge a 4-4 tie with 2:34 left in regulation, only for Loyolas Josh Hawkins to score in transition with 1:04 remaining. But he was called for his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of the game for taunting, and the Hoyas Davey Emala delivered with 29 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Then came another. And another. And another.
“Ive never been involved in something like this because our kids were playing hard, and they were playing hard,” Toomey said. “It was like a heavyweight bout where no one had that knockout punch because no one could run by anybody. When they did, Jake was unbelievable.”
Indeed, Hagelin was the difference in the extra sessions. Georgetown took 15 shots in overtime, placing six on cage. He stopped at least one shot in each overtime, including one of a Zack Angel bounce shot to secure possession for Loyola for the final time.
“We had our chances,” Urick said. “Thats all you look for. When you get into overtime, you just want a chance.”