Loyola lacrosse players Fletcher, Ward named candidates for Senior CLASS Award

February 20, 2014 | WNST Staff

Fletcher, Ward Named Candidates For Senior CLASS Award

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – For the second year in a row, two Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse seniors have been named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, an honor that recognizes seniors who excel both on and off the field.

Team co-captains Joe Fletcher (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesee H.S.) and Justin Ward (Glen Burnie, Md./Old Mill H.S.) are two of the 20 who were tabbed as candidates. Last year, Scott Ratliff and Davis Butts earned the nods, and Ratliff was a finalist for the honor.

Loyola is the only school nationally with two players named to the list of 20. Including Fletcher and Ward, four Patriot League players are on the rolls (Bucknell University’s Todd Heritage and Lehigh University’s Ty Souders).

“We are proud to have two of our great leaders be candidates for this prestigious award,” Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. “They exhibit the Jesuit ideal of being ‘Men For Others,’ and they are examples for us on and off the field.”

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Both Fletcher and Ward were named Preseason All-Americans by Face-Off Yearbook – Fletcher to the first team and Ward the second – and the duo has helped Loyola to a 2-1 start this season. Both have excelled in the classroom as members of Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business where Fletcher is an accounting major and Ward a finance major.

Fletcher is a two-time United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-American, earning honorable mention as a sophomore in 2012 and first team laurels last season. Earlier this month, he was named to the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Team 30-man roster that is preparing for the 2014 World Championships in Denver this summer. He was the only collegiate player on the 52-man training roster and is also the only current collegian on the 30-man.

Through three games this year, Fletcher has tallied nine ground balls and seven caused turnovers for the Greyhounds. On Wednesday, he had primary marking responsibility for Towson University’s preseason All-American Thomas DeNapoli. Fletcher and the Greyhounds held DeNapoli without a point, snapping his 21-game streak of at least one point.

Off the field, Fletcher is one of the most involved students on the Loyola campus. He is co-president of the Greyhounds’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society – a group of 14 students that serves as a liaison to the school’s president, cabinet and board of trustees – and he has volunteered his time with many service projects throughout the campus.

Ward earned All-America Honorable Mention as a junior last season after quarterbacking a Greyhounds’ offense that averaged nearly 12 goals per game. The attacker finished 11th in Division I in assists per game (2.19) and 19th in points per game (3.88), culminating the season with 27 goals and 35 assists for 62 points.

His 35 assists ranked third on Loyola’s single-season chart at the Division I level, and his 62 points were tied for fifth. He has scored three goals and assisted on six more through three games this season, bringing his career totals to 42 and 74 for 116 career points. He is fifth in school Division I history in career assists and 19th in points.

Ward is also a member of Loyola’s SAAC and serves as the group’s Director of Media. With Fletcher, he is participating in the Loyola Leadership Academy with Janssen Sports Leadership. Ward has participated in community outreach with Loyola’s York Road Initiative and is a volunteer with the homeless shelter at his family’s church, Glen Burnie United Methodist Church.

The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore May 24-26.