Sam Shafer is the USA Lacrosse Division I Men's Player of the Week

PHOTO BY JACK DEMPSEY

Sam Shafer made 16 saves, including the save of the year, to down Denver last weekend.


Talk about the textbook definition of “clutch.”

Sam Shafer is 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. Loyola’s senior goalie needed all his big body frame to make the last-second save that will go down as one of the most clutch plays in recent NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament memory.

Shafer denied Denver’s Alex Simmons on the doorstep before time expired to preserve Loyola’s 14-13 win Sunday over the seventh-seeded Pioneers, sending the Greyhounds to the NCAA quarterfinals. It was Shafer’s 16th save of the game.

For his clutch performance, Shafer is the USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Player of the Week.

“We talked about getting to 15 saves to have a chance,” Loyola coach Charley Toomey said afterward on ESPNU. “It had to be 16, and the last one was the biggest one.”

Loyola was a little more than a month removed from benching Shafer in the first quarter of a loss to Army. He returned at halftime of the Greyhounds’ next game and settled into a far better groove. Now, Shafer is a catalyst for another Loyola NCAA tournament run.

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