Fletcher, Ratliff, Sawyer Invited To U.S. National Team Tryouts
BALTIMORE – Rising senior Joe Fletcher and two May 2013 graduates of Loyola University Maryland, Scott Ratliff and Mike Sawyer, were among the players selected to tryout for the United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team late next month.
The trio will compete with 95 of their peers during the August 30-September 1 trials that will be held at Goucher College in Towson, Md. Forty players will emerge from the roster cut following the weekend and begin preparation for the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships that will be held July 10-14, 2014, in Denver.
Fletcher is the only defender to be a current collegiate player, and he is one of just seven players with remaining college eligibility selected to compete in the camp. The native of Syracuse, N.Y., earned All-America First Team honors in May from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association after solidifying his position as one of the top lock-down defenders in the game.
After earning All-America Honorable Mention, ECAC All-Tournament and NCAA All-Championships recognition in 2012 while helping the Greyhounds run to the 2012 National Championship, Fletcher was second on the team and tops among close defenders with 64 ground balls in 2013. He also caused 17 turnovers and was named the ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year.
Ratliff and Sawyer both earned invitations to the camp after recently concluding their careers and moving on to the professional ranks of Major League Lacrosse (MLL).
Ratliff as a two-time All-American long-stick midfielder, earning Second Team honors as a senior and Third Team recognition during his junior season. He was the 2012 ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of that season’s ECAC Championships, and the Marietta, Ga., native was named to the NCAA All-Championships Team, was the 2013 ECAC Specialist of the Year and a finalist for the nation Senior CLASS Award.
He led the Greyhounds with 77 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers as a senior in 2013 while setting a single-season long-pole goals scored record at Loyola with 14. In 58 career games, he tallied 30 goals and 14 assists, notching the program’s career goals and points scored records. His 217 career ground balls rank seventh in Loyola’s Division I history, and his 88 caused turnovers are second.
Ratliff, who is the first player to hail from the State of Georgia to be named to a Team USA tryout camp, was the ninth overall pick in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Entry Draft by the Boston Cannons where he has helped position the Cannons for a possible playoff berth this year. He has averaged 3.4 ground balls per game in seven MLL contests and scored his first professional goal on June 21 against New York.
Sawyer earned All-America honors three times at Loyola, becoming the first Loyola player to do so since David Metz (1999-2001). He garnered Second Team honors as a junior in 2012 when he scored 52 goals and 62 points during the Greyhounds’ NCAA title run. He was an honorable mention recipient as a sophomore in 2011 and senior in 2013.
The native of Waxhaw, N.C., scored 36 goals in 14 games as a senior and wrapped up his four-year Loyola career with 128, good for second on the Greyhounds Division I scoring chart. He is listed on the Team USA tryout chart as a midfielder, a position he played as a freshman in 2009 when he was the ECAC Rookie of the Year.
Sawyer was drafted with the eighth pick of the first round in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Entry Draft by his hometown Charlotte Hounds, and he earned an invitation to the MLL All-Star Game earlier this month at his home stadium. At that event, Sawyer set a world record in the MLL Fastest Shot Competition, registering a rip of 113 miles per hour only to follow with a blast of 114 mph. In eight professional games thus far, Sawyer has scored 10 goals for the Hounds and assisted on five more.
A total of 156 players submitted tryout applications, which were considered by a selection committee including current and past U.S. men’s national team coaches and players, as well as current college and professional coaches. U.S. team head coach Richie Meade will oversee the tryout process.