|Date||Friday, March 2, 2012|
|Location||Louisville, Ky. | Owsley B. Frazier Stadium|
|Series Record||Loyola leads, 2-0|
|Last Meeting||Loyola 9, Bellarmine 6 – March 5, 2011|
Loyola University Maryland heads on the road for the first time this season, starting a two-game trek with a Friday night game in Louisville, Ky., against Bellarmine University at 7 o’clock.
Friday’s game marks the start of Loyola’s eighth season in the ECAC Lacrosse League, as the game is the conference opener for both teams. The Greyhounds are 46-11 all-time in conference games.
Loyola will meet Bellarmine for the third time in series history on Friday with the Greyhounds winning the first two games.
The Greyhounds won the first meeting, 14-8, in Louisville during the 2010 season when current Loyola players Eric Lusby and Patrick Fanshaw each scored three goals.
Last season, the teams were tied 3-3 at halftime and 4-4 after the first minute of the third quarter before the Greyhounds scored five in a row to break the game open and go on to a 9-6 victory.
Mike Sawyer scored five goals in the game, and Matt Langan tallied four assists.
In The Polls
Loyola moved up to No. 11 in the USILA Coaches’ Poll, and 14th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Rankings after its 13-6 victory over Towson. The Greyhounds are one of four ECAC teams in the polls, joining Denver (14/12), Ohio State (17/16) and Fairfield (20/RV).
Four By Two
Mike Sawyer and Sean O’Sullivan both scored four goals in the Greyhounds’ win over Towson last Saturday, becoming the first pair of Loyola players to record four or more goals in the same game since Patrick Fanshaw and Matt Langan scored five and four, respectively, on March 20, 2010, in a 17-3 win over Air Force.
O’Sullivan matched his career-high, set as a sophomore in 2010 at the U.S. Military Academy against Rutgers, and Sawyer was one off tying his career-best. O’Sullivan needed just four shots to score his four goals, two of which came on extra-man opportunities.
Ward Dishes Five
Justin Ward played the role of feeder in Loyola’s 13-6 win over Towson, finishing the game with five assists. Just one week previously, the sophomore recorded his first collegiate assist against Delaware.
Ward became the first Loyola player to record five or more assists since Shane Koppens had six in a March 10, 2009, win over Bryant.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Ward is tied for third nationally with a 3.0 assists per game mark.
Scoring In Two Straight
Loyola posted 13 goals in back-to-back games to open the season, marking the first time since April 2007 that the Greyhounds scored 13 or more in two games in a row.
The last time it happened, Loyola defeated Fairfield, 19-2, on April 21, 2007, and Hobart, 17-10, on April 28.
Through just two games, the Greyhounds rank eighth in NCAA Division I in goals per game (13.0).
Loyola was successful on all three of its extra-man opportunities in the game against the Blue Hens, scoring three man-up goals in the second quarter during its 5-0 run. The Greyhounds followed that by converting on 2-of-3 EMOs in the win over Towson.
Patrick Fanshaw, Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer each scored EMO goals of the Greyhounds, and Fanshaw added another at the end of a Delaware non-releasable penalty just as the teams returned to even strength. Sean O’Sullivan tacked on both of the man-up goals against Towson.
Loyola is tied for third nationally with an 83.3-percent EMO success rate through the first two weeks of the young season.
The Greyhounds extra-man unit was seventh nationally with a .420 (21-of-50) conversion percentage in 2011.
Dominant At The ‘X’
Loyola used a large advantage at the face-off ‘X’ to secure the win over Towson, winning two-thirds (14-of-21) restarts against the Tigers.
J.P. Dalton won 9-of-11 face-offs in the first half and finished 13-of-18 in the game to raise his season percentage to 62.8 (27-of-43).
Dalton grabbed four ground balls, while wings Scott Ratliff and Pat Laconi each had four, as well. Dalton also finished with a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds.
Loyola won its season opener for the third-straight year, defeating Delaware 13-8 last Saturday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex. The Greyhounds trailed, 3-0, after the first quarter, but they scored five in a row to go up 5-4 at halftime.
Lusby Makes Return
Eric Lusby returned to game action in the season-opener after missing all but two games of the 2011 season. Now a graduate student, Lusby tore his right ACL in the 2010 NCAA First Round game against Cornell. He attempted to come back last year, but he saw limited action against Navy and Towson and was shut down to rehab the injury for the remainder of the season.
Lusby burst back onto the scene against Delaware, scoring the Greyhounds’ first goal of the game on an extra-man opportunity, and the 2010 All-ECAC First Team member tallied three more in the second half. The four goals were a career-high for the Severna Park, Md., native.
Lusby was third on the 2010 team in goals with 20 as a member of the team’s first midfield unit. This year, Lusby has moved back to his natural position of attack.
Sawyer Shows Same Form
Mike Sawyer picked up where he left off a year ago, tallying three goals and assisting on Eric Lusby’s first, in the win over the Blue Hens. He then tacked on four goals and an assist against Towson. Sawyer led Loyola last season with 31 goals and 36 assists.
The Towson game was Sawyer’s 12th career multi-goal game and the 5th multi-point effort of his tenure at Loyola.
Before the season, Sawyer was named to the Preseason All-ECAC Team and was named to the Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America Honorable Mention.
Ratliff Earns ECAC Honor
Scott Ratliff was honored as the ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in his career following the Delaware win after picking up a career-high seven ground balls against Delaware.
Ratliff keyed Loyola’s possession and defensive efforts in the final three quarters when he helped J.P. Dalton win 14-of-21 face-offs.
Ratliff also had two caused turnovers, and the long-stick midfielder scored the fifth goal of his collegiate career in the third quarter when Michael Bonitatibus made a clean save and sent a pass to Ratliff who executed a one-man clear and scored in transition.
Bonitatibus Wins First Start
Junior Michael Bonitatibus made his first collegiate start in goal for the Greyhounds against Delaware after having played less than two minutes prior to this season.
Bonitatibus, who played 65 seconds in his collegiate debut last year at Duke, made seven saves for the Greyhounds and allowed just eight goals. He also picked up five ground balls and caused two turnovers.
Bonitatibus became the first Loyola goalkeeper to win his starting debut in nearly 11 years. The last was Mark Bloomquist who also defeated Delaware, 8-7, on February 24, 2001.
Second Half Scoring
Loyola continued a trend from the last two years in the opener against Delaware, making adjustments at halftime to outscore their opponents in the third quarter and second half. The Greyhounds outscored the Blue Hens 5-1 in the third quarter and 8-4 after the break.
Loyola outscored its opponents 69-52 after halftime last season (including two overtime goals) despite being outscored 54-39 in the first halves of games.
The Greyhounds scored 34 third-quarter goals to their opponents’ 27. In 2010, they outscored opponents 41-24 in the third quarters of games and 76-55 overall after halftime.
Dalton At The ‘X’
After Delaware won all four face-offs in the first quarter, J.P. Dalton dominated play at the ‘X’ for the Greyhounds in the final three quarters. He finished the game by winning 14-of-25 (.560), going 14-of-21 (.667) in the last 45 minutes.
Dalton, who entered the game having won 30-of-58 restarts in his first three years at Loyola, won 5-of-7 in both the second and third quarters as Loyola gained and extended the lead.
Greyhounds Picked Second In ECAC
The Greyhounds were picked to finish second in the ECAC Lacrosse Leagues by the head coaches of their peer schools. Loyola received 54 points in the poll, trailing only Denver University which had 61.
Record At Ridley
After going 4-1 at Ridley Athletic Complex last season, the Greyhounds opened their third year at the stadium with a 13-8 win over then-No. 19 Delaware and a 13-6 victory against Towson. Loyola is now 10-3 all-time at Ridley.
Loyola stays on the road for its next game, a Wednesday, March 7, contest against future ECAC foe University of Michigan. The Wolverines will host the Greyhounds their first-ever varsity home game in a 7 p.m. start.
The Greyhounds then return to the friendly confines of Ridley Athletic Complex for a day of doubleheader lacrosse action on Saturday, March 10. The men will host Duke University at 12 noon with a women’s game against UMBC following at 3:30 p.m.