Loyola Looks to Stay Perfect Saturday Against Ohio State

March 31, 2012 | WNST Staff

Opponent Ohio State Buckeyes
Date Saturday, March 31, 2012
Time 1:00 p.m.
Location Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex
TV | Radio Hounds Unleashed
Series Record Loyola leads, 5-0
Last Meeting Loyola 12, Ohio State 9 – April 2, 2011 at Ohio State

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland returns to Ridley Athletic Complex to start a stretch of four-straight ECAC Lacrosse League games. The Greyhounds take on Ohio State University at 1 o’clock on Saturday, March 31.

Series History

Loyola and the Buckeyes will be meeting for the sixth time in series history and third time as ECAC opponents. The Greyhounds have won all five prior meetings, although the last two have come by just five combined goals.

The Greyhounds led last year’s contest 9-4 when Patrick Fanshaw scored a man-up goal in transition off a Josh Hawkins assist with 5:17 to go in the third quarter, but Ohio State scored five of the next six goals to pull within a score, 10-9, on Tyler Fredericks’ tally with 3:57 left in regulation.

Mike Sawyer and Chris Palmer, however, scored after that for Loyola, and the Greyhounds held off the Buckeyes for an 11-9 victory in Columbus. Chris Palmer finished with five goals, and Matt Langan had three goals and two assists. Hawkins scored a goal and had two assists, all coming in transition.

In The Polls

Loyola moved up to No. 4 in the USILA Coaches’ Poll this week, its highest ranking since the Greyhounds checked in at third in the April 1, 2002, poll with a 7-0 record after downing Towson, 15-7. The Greyhounds held steady at No. 5 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media rankings.

Ohio State is receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse poll.

Ten Or More

The Greyhounds have scored at least 11 goals in each of their first eight games of the 2012 season, marking the longest stretch of games with 10 or more goals they have put together since March 24-May 12, 2001. The Greyhounds went 7-2 during that 2001 stretch where they averaged 14 goals per game. That team was coached by Dave Cottle who will be the color analyst on Loyola’s broadcast Saturday.

The last time Loyola opened the season with seven or more games with 10-plus goals was the 1995 season when they reeled off 14 or more before scoring five in an NCAA game.

The Only Ones

Loyola is the only team to score 10 or more goals in every game of this season throughout all of NCAA Division I.

As of Monday, the Greyhounds were tied for fifth in Division I with a 13 goals per game average.

Topping Out

Loyola’s success on offense this year has been well complemented by the Greyhounds’ defense. In addition to offense being tied for fifth in Division I in goals per game, Loyola’s defense is fifth with 7.13 goals allowed per contest.

The Greyhounds lead Division I through Monday in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 5.88 goals per game, 0.59 more than second-place Cornell.

Sharing The Rock

No Loyola player has more than 13 assists (Justin Ward) through eight games, but nine players have at least four assists, and 12 have two or more. In addition to Ward’s 13, Davis Butts, Eric Lusby and Sean O’Sullivan have eight assists, Mike Sawyer has seven, Chris Layne and Nikko Pontrello have five and J.P. Dalton and Pat Byrnes have four each.

With 72 assists this season, the Greyhounds lead Division I with 9.0 per game.

Eleven of Loyola’s 13 goals last Saturday night at UMBC came with assists.

Already Outpacing Last Year

This year’s team has already eclipsed last year’s total of 62 assists in just eight games. Also, with 104 goals, the 2012 Greyhounds are six short of matching the total put up last year.

Big Runs

Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its first eight games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. In all, Loyola has scored three or more in a row on 17 occasions this season.

Loyola used four three-goal runs against Duke, including one three-goal streak that put Loyola up 4-1 at the beginning of the second quarter. The Greyhounds never trailed after that initial three-goal run and extended their lead to 13-5 after its fourth three-goal spurt of the game.

The Greyhounds had their longest run in almost two years against Air Force, scoring 10 in a row to open the second half. The last time Loyola scored 10 or more in a row was on March 20, 2010, when it had 14 straight against Air Force.

Loyola then used a 6-0 run to break a 5-5 tie early in the third quarter with Georgetown on the way to a 11-6 victory.

The Greyhounds then scored seven in a row on the back end of a 10-1 run last Saturday at UMBC.

Second-Half Success

Loyola continued a trend of strong second-half play this season by outscoring UMBC, 6-1, after halftime after not allowing the Retrievers a goal until 11:25 was left on the fourth-quarter clock.

The Greyhounds have now outscored opponents 34-10 in the third quarters of games and 58-25 overall this year in the second half.

The second-half scoring continues a trend from the last two seasons. Last year, Loyola outscored opponents, 69-52, after halftime (including two overtime goals), and 77-56 two years ago.

Lusby Matches Career-High

Eric Lusby scored three times during Loyola’s second half run and finished the Georgetown game with five goals, matching his career-high set on March 3 at Bellarmine. He followed that with his fifth hat trick of the season, scoring three at UMBC.

Lusby has scored at least one goal in each of Loyola’s eight games this season. The graduate student 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.

Lusby reset his career-high at Bellarmine, tallying five goals in the victory to go with one assist, and added two more at Michigan.

Through Loyola’s first eight games, Lusby is second on the team with 24 goals and 36 points.

Sawyer, Runkel Honored Again

For the second time this season, Mike Sawyer and Jack Runkel earned ECAC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors on the same day, as the pair was honored on Monday following the Greyhounds’ wins over Georgetown and UMBC.

Sawyer scored three goals against the Hoyas, and he then scored four-straight Loyola goals and finished with five at UMBC. Sawyer also matched his career-best with two assists against the Retrievers.

Runkel paced the Loyola defense in the two games, playing to a 5.50 goals against average. He made a career-best 13 saves in the win over UMBC.

Shot Advantage

Loyola has outshot its opponents in every game this season by a minimum of nine. The game against Duke (37-28) is the only time this season a Greyhounds’ opponent has been within 10 shots of Loyola.

In all, the Greyhounds have taken 358 shots while holding opponents to 202.

Second Midfield Scoring

All three members of Loyola’s second midfield unit scored at least one goal against Air Force, and the unit combined for three goals and two assists. Pat Byrnes led the way with a goal and a career-best two assists. J.P. Dalton and Phil Dobson each added goals of their own.

This season, all three members of the second line have five goals, while Byrnes and Dalton each have four assists. Dobson recorded the first two assists of his collegiate career last Saturday against UMBC. The unit has already scored more goals than it did last year when it had 10 goals and two assists during the season.

Toomey Wins 50th

Head coach Charley Toomey earned his 50th-career win Wednesday, March 7, as Loyola beat Michigan, 15-8.

Toomey, who is in his seventh season, has led Loyola to eight-plus wins in each of the last three seasons and has had the Greyhounds finish .500 or better in all seven seasons since coming to the Evergreen campus.

Sawyer Shows Same Form

Mike Sawyer has picked up where he left off a year ago, leading the team with 29 goals and 36 points through the first eight games. Sawyer led Loyola last season with 31 goals and 36 points.

Sawyer tied a then-career-high with five goals in the team’s, 15-8, win at Michigan, before scoring a new personal-best six goals against Duke.

After scoring five goals against UMBC, he now has 16 career multi-goal games and the 19 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.

Dominant At The ‘X’

In his first year as the Greyhounds’ primary face-off man, senior J.P. Dalton has continued Loyola’s tradition of excellence at the ‘X’.

Through eight games, Dalton ranks eighth nationally in face-off percentage, winning restarts at a .619 clip (112-of-181). As a unit, the Greyhounds entered the week third-best in the nation at .611.

Dalton is second on the team with 34 ground balls, while one of his primary wings, Scott Ratliff leads the team with 37. Josh Hawkins, who returned from injury to make his season-debut on March 10 against Duke, has 19 in four games, and Pat Laconi has 13. Davis Butts has also seen time on the wing and has 20 ground balls this season.

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.

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).

Ratliff Honored For Second Time

Loyola long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff was named the ECAC Co-Specialist of the Week on Monday after turning in impressive numbers in last Saturday’s win over Air Force. Ratliff scored twice and had an assist while picking up seven ground balls against the Falcons.

Earlier this season, Ratliff earned ECAC Defensive Player of the Week laurels after the Greyhounds’ opener against Delaware.

Ratliff is currently sixth among active long poles in career scoring. He has seven goals and five assists for 12 points. This year, he has three goals and two assists, as well as a team-leading 32 ground balls.

Sawyer, Runkel Earns ECAC Honors

Mike Sawyer and Jack Runkel were honored as ECAC Lacrosse Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week on March 12 following wins at Michigan and against Duke.

Sawyer scored 11 goals and had 14 points, setting career highs in both categories. He scored five goals and had six points in Michigan’s first-ever home game, before breaking those personal records with six goals and eight points in a win over Duke. He also picked up a career-high six ground balls, finishing the week with nine ground balls.

Runkel made the first two starts of his collegiate career, posting an 8.00 goals-against average and .515 save percentage to help the Greyhounds in two wins. Playing less than three minutes between the pipes as a freshman last season, he started the Michigan game and held the Wolverines to eight goals, while making five saves. He then made a career-high 12 saves against a Duke team that has played in the last five Final Fours.

Bonitatibus, Runkel Both Win First Starts

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.

Jack Runkel made his first career start against Michigan and also won his initial outing as a starter. He tallied five saves against the Wolverines, and he then posted a career-high 12 against Duke.

Record At Ridley

After going 4-1 at Ridley Athletic Complex last season, the Greyhounds have opened their third year at the stadium with five wins at home. Loyola is now 13-3 all-time at Ridley.

What’s Next

The Greyhounds head on the road for their next three games, all contests at ECAC Lacrosse League opponents, starting with an April 7 date at Fairfield University.

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