Loyola Opens Lax Season Saturday With Visit From Delaware

February 18, 2012 | WNST Staff

Opponent No. 19/RV Delaware Blue Hens
Date Saturday, February 18, 2012
Time 1:00 p.m.
Location Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex
TV | Radio Hounds Unleashed
Series Record Loyola leads, 21-6-1
Last Meeting Loyola 9, Delaware 6 – Feb. 22, 2003 at Loyola

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland opens its 73rd season of men’s lacrosse on Saturday, February 18, 2012, when it hosts the University of Delaware at 1 o’clock.

The game will also mark the start of the third season of play for the Greyhounds at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Series History

The Greyhounds and Blue Hens will meet for the 29th time on the lacrosse field but the first time in nearly a decade. Loyola last played Delaware on February 22, 2003, a 9-6 victory by the Greyhounds on their former home pitch, Curley Field.

Loyola leads the all-time series between the teams, 21-6-1. The Blue Hens won six of the first 10 meetings between the teams, but the Greyhounds have won each of the last 18 games.

In The Polls

Loyola is receiving votes in both the USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls. Delaware, meanwhile, checks in at No. 19 in the USILA preseason rankings and is also receiving votes in the media version.

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.

Preseason Honors For Pair

Junior attack Mike Sawyer and junior long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff were both named to the Preseason All-ECAC Team by the conference’s coaches. Sawyer led the Greyhounds in points and goals last season, while Ratliff topped the squad in caused turnovers.

Sawyer was also named to the Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America Honorable Mention last month.

Scorers Back

Mike Sawyer returns in 2012 as the team’s leading scorer after finishing last year with 31 goals and five assists for 36 points. He took 124 shots during the 2011 season, 59 more than anyone else on the team.

The Greyhounds also welcome back one of their top scorers from two seasons ago. Eric Lusby, who will play as a graduate student this year, returns to the lineup after missing all but two games last year following a knee injury in the 2010 NCAA Championships. Lusby scored 20 goals and assisted on five from the Greyhounds’ midfield in 2010.

Two other players who scored 10 or more goals a year ago are back in 2012 for the Greyhounds Patrick Fanshaw returns after tallying 12 goals, six of the extra-man variety, last season, and Davis Butts is also back after tallying 10 goals and five assists.

Transfer Talent

Loyola’s midfield will be bolstered by the addition of two transfer student-athletes that have joined the program. Juniors Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan will suit up for the Greyhounds after spending previous seasons at North Carolina and Army, respectively.

Layne, who is the younger brother of former Loyola All-American Steve Layne, scored five goals as a sophomore on the Tar Heels’ second midfield after playing in 15 games  as a short-stick midfielder during his first season in Chapel Hill.

O’Sullivan played two seasons at West Point, scoring 16 goals as a midfielder in 2010.  He earned All-Patriot League Second Team honors following his sophomore season, as well.

Experienced Defense

The Greyhounds return two starters on close defense, their top two long-stick midfielders and top three short-stick defensive middies in 2012, forming a cohesive group on the defensive end of the field.

Senior co-captain Dylan Grimm is joined on defense by another returning starter, junior Reid Acton. Grimm finished his first year as a starter, 2011, with 22 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers, while Acton tallied 19 and 15, also in his first season as a starter.

The duo is joined by sophomore Joe Fletcher who played in 13 games and started one as a freshman. Fletcher saw considerable time as an extra-man and fourth defender for the Greyhounds a year ago.

Scott Ratliff and Kevin Moriarity created a formidable long-stick midfield duo last year, combining for 50 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers. Ratliff also added three goals and three assists on the offensive end of the field.

Josh Hawkins, Pat Laconi and Kyle Duffy return as short-stick middies for the Greyhounds  after each saw action in all 13 games last year.

New Look In Goal

Loyola will feature a new starter in goal this season after 2011 graduate Jake Hagelin started 53 of the Greyhounds’ last 55 games since taking over between the pipes at the start his freshman season in 2008.

A pair of goalkeepers are likely to see the field for the Greyhounds to start the season, as they have split time throughout practice and scrimmages. Junior Michael Bonitatibus and sophomore Jack Runkel both made their collegiate debuts last year against Duke and will anchor Loyola’s defense from inside the crease.

Record At Ridley

Loyola will open its third season at Ridley Athletic Complex when it plays Delaware where the Greyhounds have experienced considerable success on Awalt Field.

Loyola is 8-3 in 11 home games at Ridley after going 4-1 last season at home.

Second Half Scoring

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.