|Opponent||Canisius Golden Griffins|
|Date||Saturday, May 12, 2012|
|Location||Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex|
|TV | Radio||ESPNU | ESPN3|
|Series Record||First Meeting|
|Last Meeting||First Meeting|
Loyola University Maryland will host a NCAA Championships First Round game on Saturday, May 12, 2012, as the top seed in the 2012 Championships. The Greyhounds welcome Canisius College to Ridley Athletic Complex for a 5 o’clock game.
The winner of the Loyola-Canisius game will meet the winner of North Carolina and Denver on Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Annapolis, Md.
On The Tube And Web
The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU with Mike Corey and Mark Dixon calling the action.
The action can also be seen worldwide on ESPN3, the broadband arm of the ESPN.
Loyola and Canisius will meet for the first time in men’s lacrosse when they take the field on Saturday, however, the schools are very familiar with one another.
Canisius hails from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which is the primary conference for Loyola’s athletic teams other than men’s and women’s lacrosse.
NCAA Championships History
Loyola is making its 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 18th at the Division I level. The Greyhounds are 8-19 all-time, 8-17 in Division I Championships games.
The Greyhounds’ last appearance in the Championships came in 2010 when they lost, 11-10, in triple overtime at Cornell.
Loyola last hosted an NCAA game in 2000 when Notre Dame defeated the Greyhounds, 15-12, on what was then known as Curley Field (now Diane Geppi-Aikens Field). Loyola’s last playoff win was a 12-11 triumph over Georgetown in 1998 that sent the team to the Final Four where it eventually bowed out to Maryland.
Loyola enters the NCAA Championships as the No. 1 seed for the third time in school history. The Greyhounds were also the top seed in 1998 when they defeated Georgetown, 12-11, in the Quarterfinals to move on to the Final Four for the second time in school history. There, the Greyhounds lost, 19-8, to Maryland. They were then the No. 1 seed in 1999 when they fell in the Quarterfinals to Syracuse, 17-12.
School Record In Wins
Loyola’s victory over Fairfield in the ECAC Championship Game was its 14th of the season, setting a school record for victories in a year. The Greyhounds eclipsed the previous best of 13 that the 1998 squad achieved with a 13-2 record.
This is Loyola’s 15th season all-time with 10 or more wins with 12 coming since the Greyhounds joined Division I in 1982.
In The Polls
Loyola moved up to No. 2 in both the USILA Coaches and Inside Lacrosse Media Polls following their ECAC Championship. The Greyhounds were ranked No. 1 for two weeks before losing their only game of the season on April 28 to Johns Hopkins.
The Greyhounds finished the regular-season with the No. 1 RPI in the NCAA, as well.
Canisius is not ranked in the media version and receiving votes in the coaches poll.
The Hardware Department
In the span of seven days, three teams in Loyola’s Department of Athletics advanced to their respective NCAA Championships by winning titles in three different conferences.
The men’s golf team started the trend with its fifth-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crown on April 29, and the men’s lacrosse team followed by taking the ECAC title on May 4. The women’s lacrosse team completed the trifecta on May 5 when it defeated then-No. 2 Syracuse to win its second-straight BIG EAST Championship.
Balanced Scoring In ECAC Championships
Loyola traveled to Denver for the 2012 ECAC Lacrosse League Championships and left the Mile-High City with a 97-pound trophy (no, really). The Greyhounds, who earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament and finished the regular-season 6-0 in the league, beat host and No. 4 seed Denver, 14-13, in overtime to advance to the final. There, Loyola topped Fairfield, 14-7.
Fifteen different Greyhounds scored goals in the two games with 11 tallying goals in the semifinal and 10 in the title game. Mike Sawyer led the team with four goals in the two games, a trio coming in the final, while Eric Lusby, Chris Layne and Scott Ratliff each had three.
Justin Ward led the Greyhounds with eight total points, dishing out three assists in the semifinal and three along with two goals in the championship.
Two players scored their first collegiate goals in the games, one in each contest. Kevin Ryan tallied a first-quarter goal on a man-up possession against Denver, and Brian Schultz recorded his first in the fourth quarter versus Fairfield.
A Lot Of Everything
The adage that a player does a little bit of everything does not necessarily apply to long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff. The Loyola junior does a lot, as he leads the team in ground balls (68) and caused turnovers (32), is tied for sixth in goals (9) and is seventh in assists (7).
A Tewaaraton Award semifinalist, Ratliff was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Championships after scoring three goals, one a game-winner, and recording two assists and 16 ground balls.
He had two goals, including the winner just eight seconds into overtime, and an assist versus Denver while picking up a career-high nine ground balls.
From Way Downtown
Reid Acton created his own SportsCenter highlight in the ECAC Championship Game, earning Friday night’s Top Play on ESPN. After goalkeeper Jack Runkel made a save on Fairfield’s Marshall Johnson with less than 10 seconds to play.
Runkel passed it to Acton on his right side, Acton took a step forward and launched the ball 75 yards to the other side of the field. It settled over the stick of Stags goalkeeper Charlie Cipriano to put the Greyhounds up 5-3 with one tick left on the first-quarter clock.
Acton’s goal started a 8-1 Loyola run that spanned three quarters and put the game out of reach. The goal was the second of Acton’s career – he also scored against Mount St. Mary’s last season – and Runkel was credited with his first career assist.
50 Points, 40 Goals
Mike Sawyer scored four goals on April 21 at Hobart to reach the 40-goal mark in 13 games, and he current sits at 45 after tallying his 10th hat trick of the season in the ECAC Championship Game against Fairfield. Against Hobart, he became the first Loyola player to reach 40 goals in a season since Tim Goettelmann and Gavin Prout scored 50 and 41, respectively, in 2000.
His one goal in the ECAC Semifinal versus Denver pushed his season point total to 50, a number that is now at 53, making him the first Greyhound to reach 50 in a season since Prout had 58 (37 g, 21a) in 2001. It is the fourth time this century that a Loyola player has scored 50 or more points in a season. Goettelmann (65) and Prout (53) both reached the mark in 2000, and Prout did it again the following season. With his next point, Sawyer’s teammate Eric Lusby will record his 50th of the season.
In addition to being just the third Loyola player to score 40-plus this century, Sawyer is the seventh Greyhound to reach the mark since Loyola moved to NCAA Division I status in 1982.
Sawyer, Lusby Form Rare Tandem
Graduate student Eric Lusby and junior Mike Sawyer have formed the top attack tandem in the ECAC Lacrosse League this year and one of the most balanced in the nation. The duo has combined for 82 goals in 15 games this season, an average of 5.5 per game.
Sawyer has scored 45 goals, and his 3.0 goals per game average is third-best in Division I. Lusby, meanwhile is right behind with 37 goals and a 2.47 goals per game mark, a number that is tied for 16th in the country. Loyola is one of two schools to have two players in the top 16 of goals per game nationally.
The Greyhounds have not had two players score 37 or more goals in the same season since 2000 when Tim Goettelmann set the school single-season record with 50, and Gavin Prout tallied 41. As a side note, the Goettelmann-Prout duo has gone on to highly successful professional careers. Goettelman recently retired from Major League Lacrosse as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 268 goals in 11 seasons. Prout has been an MLL Champion and has scored 314 National Lacrosse League goals to go with 625 assists as a multiple-time all-star.
With Lusby’s next point, the duo will also be the first tandem to score 50 or more points in a season since Goettelmann and Prout in 2000.
Scott Ratliff had his second multi-goal game of the season in the ECAC Semifinal Game against Denver, and he tallied a goal and an assist in the title game, raising his season totals to nine goals and seven assists.
With his second-quarter assist against Fairfield, he tied the Loyola single-season record for long-pole scoring, matching the record of 16 points set by current assistant coach Matt Dwan his senior season in 1995 when he tallied 11 goals and five assists and earned All-America honors.
Ratliff, a Tewaaraton Award semifinalist along with teammate Mike Sawyer, is second nationally this season in goals and points by a long pole, and his seven assists are tops in the country. Bryant’s Mason Poli leads all long poles this year with 19 goals and 24 points.
Spreading Out The Scoring Wealth
Loyola’s first 11 goals on Wednesday night were scored by 11 different players. Eric Lusby, Phil Dobson and Scott Ratliff finished the game with two goals, and eight others had one.
All three members of the Greyhounds’ first midfield – Davis Butts, Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan – scored goals. They received four goals from the four players who make up the second midfield line – Dobson (2), Pat Byrnes and Nikko Pontrello (J.P. Dalton did not score). Extra-man attackman Kevin Ryan scored, and two of the team’s three attackmen – Mike Sawyer and Lusby (2) – recorded goals. Ratliff scored twice in transition, and short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins added one. The Greyhounds’ other attack player, Justin Ward, did not score but had a game-high three assists.
In the title game, 10 different players scored for Loyola with all three attackers scoring and two of three from the first midfield like tallying goals.
Scoring From Different Places
Kevin Ryan scored his first career goal on Wednesday night, taking a Justin Ward pass form behind the crease and one-timing a shot into the net. Ryan did not play as a freshman in 2011 but has seen action in 12 games this year from the midfield and on extra-man possessions.
Nikko Pontrello added his third goal of the season and second versus the Pioneers. He also had the game-tying goal in the third quarter of the regular-season match-up that started Loyola’s 5-1 run to close the victory.
Phil Dobson recorded his second career multi-goal game, both coming against top-flight competition. He recorded a pair earlier this season against ACC Champ Duke.
Josh Hawkins added a man-up goal after Mike Sawyer caused a turnover and Justin Ward picked up the ground ball and fed Hawkins. The goal was Hawkins’ fifth of the year, and he also had his first assist of the season on a first-quarter Scott Ratliff goal.
Twelve In A Row Ties Mark
Loyola’s 12-straight to start the season tied the school record for consecutive victories, matching the number put up by the 1998 (March 14-May 17) and 1999 (March 6-May 8).
It also matched the best start to a season, equaling the 1999 team that finished the regular-season unblemished at 12-0.
It took Loyola 30 years of NCAA Division I play (the Greyhounds moved into the division in 1982) to play back-to-back overtime games, but now it has experienced the pleasure twice in two years.
Last year, Loyola defeated Fairfield, 7-6, in overtime on April 9, and it then won 6-5 in four extra periods at Georgetown on April 17, marking the first time it had played back-to-back overtime games since joining Division I.
The Greyhounds have now played two-straight overtime games, losing on April 28 at home to Johns Hopkins and defeating Denver five days later.
Ratliff Named ECAC Defender Of The Year
Junior long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, marking the second time in four years a Greyhounds’ long pole has received the award. P.T. Ricci earned the honor in 2009, as well.
Ratliff leads the ECAC with 32 caused turnovers (2.13 per game) and is eighth nationally in that category, and he is tops on the Greyhounds with 68 ground balls (4.5 per contest).
The native of Marietta, Ga., also has scored nine goals and has seven assists this year, keying the Greyhounds’ transition game on many occasions. He earned ECAC Co-Specialist of the Week twice during the year and was the Defensive Player of the Week early in the season.
Toomey Tabbed ECAC Coach Of The Year
Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey was named the ECAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven-year career. This season, Toomey guided the Greyhounds to a 14-1 mark during the regular-season and the ECAC regular-season crown with a 6-0 mark in conference play.
The Greyhounds became the second team in USILA Coaches Poll history to start a season unranked and ascend to the No. 1 spot in the rankings. The only other team was Duke in 2007 – a year after the Blue Devils had their season suspended in March – which accomplished the feat after being unranked in the first poll, moving to second in the next version and first in the third. Duke was knocked from its perch as No. 1 that season when it lost to the Greyhounds at the First Four in San Diego.
Earlier this season, Toomey won the 50th game of his coaching career, becoming the fourth coach in Loyola history to win 50 or more – Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001), Charles Wenzel (62-104, 1954-1970), Jay Connor (61-46, 1975-1982). Toomey’s .611 winning percentage trails only Cottle’s .721 at Loyola.
Five Loyola players earned All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors form the conference’s coaches last Monday. Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff earned a spot as a defender on the First Team, where he was joined by Mike Sawyer on attack and Davis Butts in the midfield.
Sawyer led the ECAC during the regular-season, and is now third nationally, in goals (45) and goals per game (3.0). Butts has scored 16 goals and assisted on 12 from the Greyhounds first midfield line while also regularly playing a role on the wings during face-offs with 36 ground balls.
Attack Eric Lusby and defender Joe Fletcher were tabbed to the All-ECAC Second Team. Lusby is second on the team and is 16th nationally with 37 goals (2.47 per game), and he also has 12 assists this season. Fletcher came on as one of the top lock-down defenders around, earning Midseason All-American honors from Inside Lacrosse last month. He has 28 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers entering the NCAA Tournament.
Ratliff, Sawyer Named Tewaaraton Semifinalists
Juniors Scott Ratliff and Mike Sawyer were named to the Tewaaraton Award semifinal list as the game’s top players, making Loyola one of five schools – joining Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Massachusetts and Virginia – to have two players make the 25-man list.
Loyola is also one of six schools to have at least one male and one female semifinalist, as sophomore Marlee Paton made the women’s list from Loyola. The winners of both awards will be selected on May 31, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its 15 games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. In all, Loyola has scored three or more in a row on 30 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.
At Fairfield, Loyola scored the final four goals of the game to rally from a 6-4 deficit to win 8-6. The Greyhounds then scored four in a row during the third and fourth quarters at Denver that brought them from down 8-7 to a 12-9 victory.
Versus Johns Hopkins, the Greyhounds scored four in a row, holding the Blue Jays scoreless for the last 14:13 of regulation, to tie the game at 9-9, sending it to overtime.
Loyola scored the first four goals of the ECAC Semifinal game against Denver and then tallied three-straight after the Pioneers pulled within 4-2. The Greyhounds then reeled off five in a row during the third quarter to take a 13-6 lead.
In the ECAC title game, Loyola used an 8-1 run that was comprised of runs of 3-0 and 5-0 to take control of the game.
On The Flip Side
Conversely, the Greyhounds have allowed a run of three or more goals just nine times this year, with the most recent coming when Denver scored three on two occasions. Only Denver (seven), Johns Hopkins (five), Fairfield (five), Air Force (four) have scored more than three in a row this year.
Following six of the nine opponent runs of three or more, Loyola has answered in kind with a run of 4-0 or better.
On The EMO
This season, the Greyhounds are ranked second in the nation in man-up offense, scoring 50-percent of the time. Only Lehigh (.553) has a better mark this year.
The last time Loyola finished at or above .500 in man-up offense was in 1997 when it converted 39-of-77 (.506).
The Greyhounds have now outscored opponents 55-20 in the third quarters of games and 100-54 overall this year in the second half (including overtime).
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.
Record At Ridley
After going 4-1 at Ridley Athletic Complex last season, the Greyhounds opened this season with six in a row at home before falling to Johns Hopkins. Loyola is now 14-4 all-time at Ridley.