Loyola Men’s Lacrosse Sweeps Patriot League Weekly Awards
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – After two victories in which the Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team outscored Towson University and College of the Holy Cross, 36-8, four Greyhounds swept the Patriot League weekly awards on Monday.
Nikko Pontrello was named Offensive Player of the Week; Joe Fletcher, Defensive Player of the Week; Jack Runkel, Goalkeeper of the Week; and, Brian Sherlock, Rookie of the Week.
Pontrello tied and then reset his career-high in goals last week, matching his previous best of four on Wednesday afternoon in a 20-4 defeat of Towson. He eclipsed that mark with a six-goal effort Saturday afternoon in the Greyhounds’ first-ever Patriot League game, a 16-4 win over Holy Cross.
The junior from Marlton, N.J., tallied goals in the first and second quarter before scoring four in a row at the start of the third. Five of his six goals came during the Greyhounds’ 14-0 run that put the game away. In four games this season, Pontrello has scored 15 goals, two off his personal-best of a season ago. He is averaging 3.75 goals per game and 4.75 points per game, the 11th and 18th best marks in NCAA Division I.
Fletcher and Runkel led a Greyhounds’ defense that gave up just four goals in each of their wins and put together a total of four shutout quarters of lacrosse.
The League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Fletcher averaged 5.5 ground balls and 1.5 caused turnovers in the two games. After recording three and two, respectively, against Towson, Fletcher set a career-high with eight ground balls against the Crusaders.
Through Loyola’s first four games, he leads the team with 18 ground balls and is 18th in the nation with an average of 2.0 caused turnovers per game.
Runkel put together a solid week between the pipes for the Greyhounds, playing more than 107 minutes and allowing five combined goals for a goals against average of 2.79 in the victories. He stopped eight shots against the Tigers and 12 versus Holy Cross, an even 80 percent of the shots on goal he faced in the two games.
Against Holy Cross, the Fairfield, Conn., native led a defense that held the Crusaders scoreless for a stretch of more than 46 minutes. This came after the Runkel-led Greyhounds shutout Towson in two separate quarters on Wednesday. He has saved 56.5 percent of shots on goal this year and has played to a 7.80 goals against average thus far.
Sherlock is the second Greyhounds player to earn Rookie of the Week honors this year following Romar Dennis’ nod two weeks ago. Sherlock, a redshirt freshman from Long Island, scored twice in each of Loyola’s wins last week and also had a pair of assists against Towson.
A transfer who sat out the 2013 season with an injury at the Unviersity of North Carolina, Sherlock has scored six goals and assisted on four this year. He also has been a valuable two-way midfielder for the Greyhounds, starting on the first midfield line and running several shifts on the face-off wings and defensive possessions. He has totaled 10 ground balls this season, fifth on the team.
Loyola continues Patriot League action on Saturday, March 1, when it travels to Bethlehem, Pa., for a 12 noon game at Lehigh University. The game will air live on PatriotLeague.tv.