Loyola opens title defense Saturday at Delaware

February 15, 2013 | WNST Staff

Opponent Delaware Blue Hens
Date Saturday, February 16, 2013
Time 3:00 p.m.
Location Newark, Del. | Delaware Stadium
Series Record Loyola leads, 22-6-1
Last Meeting Loyola 13, Delaware 6 – February 18, 2012, in Baltimore

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland opens its 2013 season on Saturday, February 16, in Newark, Del., at the University of Delaware.

Face-off is slated for 3 p.m. at Delaware Stadium. The game is part of a doubleheader at Delaware on Saturday with the Blue Hen women taking on Georgetown at 12 noon.

 

A Note On History

The 2013 season will be Loyola’s 74th with a varsity lacrosse program. The Greyhounds hold a 451-376 (.545) all-time record in the previous 73 years. This will be Loyola’s 32nd year at the Division I level (1982 was first season).

 

Series History

The Greyhounds and Blue Hens will meet for the 30th time on the lacrosse field but just the second time in nearly a decade. Prior to last year’s meeting, 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, 22-6-1. The Blue Hens won six of the first 10 meetings between the teams, but the Greyhounds have won each of the last 19 games.

Last year, the Greyhounds opened their 2012 campaign at home against Delaware with a 13-6 victory against the Blue Hens. Delaware took a 3-0 lead after one quarter of play, but Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer scored on a pair of extra-main possessions for the Greyhounds, starting a 5-0 Loyola run that would put the Greyhounds in front for good. Lusby finished with four goals, while Sawyer scored three and had an assist. Michael Bonitatibus won his starting debut in goal, making seven saves, and J.P. Dalton 14-of-25 faceoffs, while Scott Ratliff picked up seven ground balls, caused two turnovers and scored a goal.

 

In The Polls

Loyola opens the 2013 season ranked No. 1 in both the USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media polls.

It is the first time in the polls’ existences that the Greyhounds have been ranked No. 1 in the preseason.

Loyola received 10-of-12 first-place votes in the coaches’ poll and 21-of-25 in the media version.

 

National Team Exhibition

The Greyhounds took part in the 8th-annual Champion Challenge, an event hosted by USLacrosse, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at DisneyWorld on January 27. The Greyhounds faced the U.S. Men’s National Team in a nationally televised exhibition game.

Loyola fell, 17-13, to the reigning FIL World Champions despite being within a goal midway through the fourth quarter, 13-12.

Justin Ward posted a team-high four points with a goal and three assists, while four Greyhounds – seniors Davis Butts, Phil Dobson and Mike Sawyer and sophomore Nikko Pontrello – scored two goals each. Graduate student Harry Kutner handed out three assists, while senior Sean O’Sullivan scored once and had two assists. Junior Brian Schultz had a goal and an assist, while senior Josh Hawkins and junior Kevin Ryan both had single goals. Senior Chris Layne also tallied an assist.

 

Welcome To The Staff

Two new faces join Head Coach Charley Toomey and Assistant Coaches Matt Dwan and Steve Vaikness on the Greyhounds’ coaching staff for 2013. David Metzbower, a 1986 Delaware graduate and former Blue Hens assistant coach, came on board in November as the Greyhounds’ offensive coordinator, replacing Dan Chemotti who left to become the head coach at the University of Richmond. Loyola alum Steve Layne ’10 was brought on in September as the program’s Director of Lacrosse Operations.

 

Television Dates Announced

In addition to Loyola’s exhibition game against the U.S. National Team, three Greyhound games will be broadcast this season.

The Greyhounds home opener against Maryland on Saturday, February 23, will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, the first non-event based men’s lacrosse game the network will air.

The game against Air Force in the Inside Lacrosse/Whitman’s Sampler Mile-HIgh Classic on Saturday, March 16, will air on ESPN3, and the Greyhounds’ Saturday, April 27, game at Johns Hopkins will air on ESPNU.

 

Well-Represented In MLL Draft

Five members of the Loyola men’s lacrosse team were selected in the top 26 of the January 11 Major League Lacrosse draft. The Greyhounds tied Virginia for the most draft picks in the selection process.

Josh Hawkins and Mike Sawyer were both taken in the first round, going fifth and eighth overall to the Hamilton Nationals and Charlotte Hounds, respectively.

Scott Ratliff was the first pick of the second round, going ninth to the Boston Cannons, and Davis Butts was taken early in the third round, 19th overall to the Denver Outlaws.

Joining Hawkins in Hamilton will be Reid Acton, the team’s fourth round pick, 26th overall.

Sawyer will be joined in Charlotte by former teammate Eric Lusby who was the top waiver pick after the NCAA season ended in early June. After missing the majority of the MLL season with an injury, the NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player made his MLL debut on July 28 at Long Island and scored a goal. He then tallied three goals  in an August 11 win over Rochester.

 

Newtown Youth Clinic

Fourteen members of the Loyola men’s lacrosse team took time from their holiday vacation to travel to Newtown, Conn., for a clinic with the Newtown Lacrosse Association.

Led by freshman Jason Crane, the Greyhounds worked with more than 100 elementary and junior-high school-age players, many of whom attended Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shooting that killed 26 took place in December.

 

First NCAA Championship

Loyola won its first NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship, and the school’s first NCAA Division I title in any sport, on May 28 in Foxborough, Mass. The Greyhounds defeated Maryland, 9-3 in the title game, capping a season in which the Greyhounds tied an NCAA record with 18 victories.

 

Defense Wins Championships

The Greyhounds set a pair of records during their final two games of the 2012 season. Loyola held Maryland to just three goals, a title game record, and combined with allowing only five goals to Notre Dame in the semifinal, the Greyhounds set a Championship Weekend record for fewest yielded.

 

Returning From 2012

Head Coach Charley Toomey returns eight starters and 34 letterwinners from the 2012 Loyola team that won the NCAA Championship.

Back among the starters are attackmen Mike Sawyer and Justin Ward, first-line midfielders Davis Butts, Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan, defenders Reid Acton and Joe Fletcher and goalkeeper Jack Runkel.

The Greyhounds also return their top long-stick midfielder, Scott Ratliff, and their top three short-stick midfielders, Kyle Duffy, Josh Hawkins and Pat Laconi. A pair of second-line midfielders, Phil Dobson and Nikko Pontrello, also return.

 

The Ranks Of Alumni

Two Loyola starters and six players who played key roles on the NCAA Championship team have departed from a year ago.

Eric Lusby, who was the NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player and finished 2012 with a school-record 54 goals, has departed from the attack, while defender Dylan Grimm, who had 42 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers, also graduated.

J.P. Dalton, who along with Lusby, Grimm and current senior Scott Ratliff, were team co-captains last year, took more than 92-percent of the team’s faceoffs last season. He was also drafted in the MLL Supplemental Draft by the Chesapeake Bayhawks in December

Pat Byrnes scored 10 goals and assisted on seven from Loyola’s second midfield. Kevin Moriarty was the team’s No. 2 long-stick midfielder, and Alex Yackery was in the defensive rotation.

 

Preseason Accolades

Six Loyola players were named to the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America teams: defender Joe Fletcher and short-stick midfielder Josh Hawkins (first team); attackman Mike Sawyer and long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff (second); midfielder Davis Butts (third); and, defender Reid Acton (honorable mention).

All six earned All-America honors last season with Sawyer earned Second Team honors and Ratliff was named to the Third Team. Acton, Butts, Fletcher and Acton earned Honorable Mention along with graduate student Eric Lusby.

In his first year as a starter, Fletcher was named to the NCAA and ECAC Championships All-Tournament Teams and earned a reputation as one of the top defenders in the nation. In 19 games as a sophomore, Fletcher caused 26 turnovers, second most on the team, and had 41 ground balls.

Hawkins has continued to be one of the top defensive midfielders in the nation and garnered considerable respect nationally for his play during the NCAA Championships. He earned NCAA All-Tournament honors and helped the Greyhounds limit Notre Dame and Maryland to a combined eight goals on Championships weekend. In addition to his six goals and two assists in 15 games last year, Hawkins was second on the team with 63 ground balls.

Sawyer was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top player last season when he scored 52 goals and assisted on 10 more and was named the team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. During the regular-season, he led the ECAC in goals and goals per game while earning All-ECAC First Team honors. He became the second player to score 50 or more goals in a season and was joined by a third on last year’s team.

Ratliff continued to be one of the top long-stick midfielders in the nation and set a Loyola scoring record for the position last year. He finished with 12 goals and seven assists, exceeding current Loyola Assistant Coach Matt Dwan’s previous record for a long-stick midfielder set in 1995. In addition to his scoring, he tallied 88 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers while earning ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, ECAC Championships Most Valuable Player, NCAA All-Tournament Team and team co-defenisve player of the year honors.

Butts was a first-line midfielder for the Greyhounds for the second year in a row. He excelled as a dodger and finisher and ranked fourth on the team in points (35) and third in goals scored (21). A versatile player, Butts also saw plenty of action on the wings of faceoffs and in the defensive midfield where he picked up 40 ground balls.

Acton will enter 2013 having started on the Greyhounds’ defense each of the last three years. He finished the 2012 season with 44 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers, while helping Loyola record a 7.21 goals allowed per game average, the fifth-best mark in Division I. The Greyhounds set a pair of defensive records during Championship Weekend, holding Notre Dame and Maryland to a combined eight goals in the two games and allowing the Terrapins just three in the title match.

 

Team Captains Named

Four seniors were named team captains for the 2013 season. Scott Ratliff returns as a captain from last year, and he is joined by Reid Acton, Davis Butts and Mike Sawyer.

 

Between The Pipes

Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel set a career-high in the NCAA Semifinals with 15 saves against Notre Dame, setting a career-high. He narrowly eclipsed his previous best of 14 set on April 28 against Johns Hopkins.

The game was Runkel’s seventh this season with 10 or more saves in goal. The others came against Duke (12), at UMBC (13), at Fairfield (12), Johns Hopkins (14), at Denver in the ECAC Semifinals (10) and versus Denver in the Quarterfinals (11).

Runkel followed his performance in the Semifinal with a six-save, three-goals allowed performance in the title game against Maryland. He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for his efforts.

Runkel played to a 5.22 goals against average and .700 saves percentage in four NCAA Tournament games.

 

50-50

Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer became the first duo in Loyola history with 50 goals each in the same season. Lusby finished with 54 goals, while Sawyer had 52.

They were two of three players in the NCAA last season to score 50 or more goals, joining Colgate’s Peter Baum (67).

The last time a pair of Division I teammates had 50 or more goals was 2010 when Duke’s Max Quinzani finished the year with 68, and Zach Howell tallied 51.

 

And, 60-60

Lusby and Sawyer ere also the only Loyola players to reach 60 points in the same season.

With his four-point effort in the Championship Game, Lusby set the school Division I record for points in a season with 71, eclipsing the 66 (29g, 37a) Brian Duffy had during the 1995 season. Sawyer ended the year with 62 points.

Gary Hanley has the top three points marks in school history with 89 in 1981, 86 in 1980 and 83 in 1979 when Loyola played Division II lacrosse.

 

Seven Earn All-America Honors in 2012

Attacker Mike Sawyer was named to the USILA All-America Second Team, and long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff earned Third Team honors earlier this week from the coaches’ association.

Five other Greyhounds – attacker Eric Lusby, midfielders Davis Butts and Josh Hawkins and defenders Reid Acton and Joe Fletcher – received honorable mention.

The seven honorees are the most for Loyola since seven received plaudits following the 1999 season. Sawyer and Ratliff are also the first Loyola players to receive All-America nods other than honorable mention since Gavin Prout was a first teamer in 2001.

 

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 senior does a lot, as he led the teamlast year  in ground balls (88) and caused turnovers (37), was fifth in goals (12) and seventh in assists (7). His 37 caused turnovers were second-most in Loyola history – behind P.T. Ricci’s 51 in 2009 – since the stats became official that year.

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.

Ratliff, who was also an USILA All-America Third Team member, an All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Ratliff’s Scoring

Scott Ratliff had his third multi-goal game of the season in the NCAA First Round against Canisius, and he then added a goal in the Quarterfinal against Denver, raising his season totals to 12 goals and seven assists.

With his game-opening goal against the Golden Griffins, he set the Loyola single-season record for long-pole scoring, surpassing 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 was 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 led all long poles last year with 19 goals and 24 points.

 

School Record In Wins

Loyola’s victory over Maryland in the NCAA Championship Game was its 18th 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.

The 18 wins also tied an NCAA Division I record for victories in a season.

It was Loyola’s 15th season all-time with 10 or more wins with 12 coming since the Greyhounds joined Division I in 1982.

 

Midfield Scoring

Loyola’s first midfield line of Davis Butts (21g, 35p), Sean O’Sullivan (16, 27) and Chris Layne (11, 25) combined for 48 goals and 39 assists this season, while the second midfield unit of Pat Byrnes (10, 7), J.P. Dalton (9, 4) and Phil Dobson (8, 2) added 26 and 13. Additionally, Nikko Pontrello has started to mix in with the second midfield, allowing Loyola’s attackers the opportunity to invert, and he has four goals and six assists.

 

Toomey Receives Morris Touchstone Award

Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey was named the ECAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven-year career, and in December, he received the coaches association’s Morris Touchstone Award as the national coach of the year.

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.

The win over Canisius in the First Round was the 60th victory of his coaching career, becoming the fourth coach in Loyola history to win 60 or more – Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001), Charles Wenzel (62-104, 1954-1970), Jay Connor (61-46, 1975-1982).  Toomey’s .626 winning percentage trails only Cottle’s .721 at Loyola.

 

Big Runs

Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its 19 games. In all, Loyola scored three or more in a row on 37 occasions this season.

The Greyhounds used two 3-0 runs against Notre Dame in the NCAA Semifinal to advance to the title game.

Loyola then broke a 3-3 tie and held Maryland scoreless for the final 40:40 of the NCAA Championship Game while scoring the last six goals of the contest.

 

On The Flip Side

Conversely, the Greyhounds allowed a run of three or more goals just 12 times this year, with the last coming when Canisius scored three in the second quarter. Only Denver (seven in ECAC Semifinal), Johns Hopkins (five), Fairfield (five), Air Force (four) have scored more than three in a row this year.

 

Second-Half Success

The Greyhounds outscored opponents 66-22 in the third quarters of games and 123-63 overall last year in the second half (including overtime).

The second-half scoring continues a trend from 2011 when Loyola outscored opponents, 69-52, after halftime (including two overtime goals), and 77-56.

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