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Defending champs Loyola face US National Team in exhibition Sunday

Posted on 26 January 2013 by WNST Staff

Opponent U.S National Team | Exhibition
Date Sunday, January 27, 2013
Time 11:00 a.m.
Location Lake Buena Vista, Fla. | ESPN Wide World Of Sports
TV | Radio ESPN3 (Live) | ESPNU (Tape-Delayed)
Series Record First Meeting
Last Meeting First Meeting


Game Data

Loyola University Maryland will play its first outside competition of the Spring 2013 season when it takes on the U.S. National Team in the Champion Challenge in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The game is slated for a 11 a.m. faceoff from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at DisneyWorld.

 

Watch The Action

The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3, the broadband arm of ESPN, with Mark Dixon (play-by-play) and Quint Kessenich (color) calling the action. Paul Carcaterra will be the sideline analyst.

In addition to the live broadcast on ESPN3, the game will air twice in a tape-delayed basis on ESPNU. Those broadcasts will take place at Monday, January 28, at 12 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

 

Champion Challenge

The Greyhounds will take part in the 8th-annual Champion Challenge, an event hosted by USLacrosse in the Orlando area. The U.S. Men’s National Team will take on Loyola, as well as Notre Dame, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at DisneyWorld. Additionally, the U.S. Women’s National Team will play Northwestern and Syracuse.

 

Exhibition Action

The game against the U.S. National Team will be the first of three exhibition games the Greyhounds will play prior to opening the 2013 regular season.

Loyola will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a Friday, February 2, game at North Carolina, and the Greyhounds will host Harvard on Saturday, February 9, at Ridley Athletic Complex.

 

Television Dates Announced

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

Last week, the Greyhounds announced its 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.

 

Defense Limits Chances

Loyola’s defense held Notre Dame to just 28 shots, four below the Fighting Irish’s season average of 32.3 heading into the game, and the Greyhounds’ unit helped goalkeeper Jack Runkel make 15 saves by limiting inside chances.

The team then held Maryland to 29 shots, nearly four below their average of 33.7.

 

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 leads all long poles this year with 19 goals and 24 points.

 

Ward Dishes Out Assists

Justin Ward was credited an assist on an Eric Lusby goal against Notre Dame in the NCAA Semifinal raised his season total to 31. He was the first Loyola player this century to reach 30 assists, and his total is the most since Brian Duffy had 34 in 1996.

 

Top Spot

Loyola entered 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 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.

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

 

Sawyer Named One Of Five Tewaaraton Finalists

Mike Sawyer was named one of five Tewaaraton Award finalists, joining Colgate A Peter Baum, Duke LSM C.J. Costabile, Massachusetts A Will Manny and Virginia A Steele Stanwick.

Sawyer is the first Loyola men’s player to be named a finalist, and he is also the first player from to hail the State of North Carolina to be so honored. He was one of three Greyhounds on the Tewaaraton Watch List where he was joined by Eric Lusby and Scott Ratliff, and Ratliff was a fellow semifinalist.

 

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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Loyola lacrosse players honored for academics

Posted on 22 June 2012 by WNST Staff

CENTERVILLE, Mass. – Four members of the Loyola University Maryland NCAA Champion men’s lacrosse team earned Academic All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors on Friday, the conference office announced.

Graduate Student Eric Lusby (3.278, Masters of Computer Science, senior Dylan Grimm (3.281, Business Administration and International Business) and sophomores Kyle Duffy (3.538, Business Administration and Finance) and Joe Fletcher (3.777, Accounting) were honored by the league.

Lusby was named the NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player after setting a tournament record with 17 goals in four games. He tallied four in the title game against Maryland, five each in the semifinalversus Notre Dame and quarterfinal against Denver and three versus Canisius in the first round. He finished the year with a school single-season record 54goals and earned USILA All-America Honorable Mention and All-ECAC Second Team honors. He has joined the Major League Lacrosse Charlotte Hounds to start his professional career.

Grimm anchored the Loyola defense that set a pair of NCAA Championship Weekend records, allowing just three goals in the ChampionshipGame to Maryland and a combined eight after yielding just five versus Notre Dame in the Semifinal. A starter in every game over the last two seasons, Grimm was a co-captain this season along with Lusby and two others. He finished his senior campaign with 42 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers, a total good for third on the team. During the Greyhounds’ run to the ECAC Championship, Grimm was named to the All-Tournament team after the team’s wins over Denver and Fairfield.

Duffy was a member of the Greyhounds’ rope unit that was a critical part of the defensive success throughout the year. A short-stick midfielder, Duffy played in all 19 games and finished the year with seven ground balls and four caused turnovers. He also scored his first collegiatepoints, tallying a goal and three assists during the season.

Fletcher was another key member of the Loyola defense,earning All-ECAC Second Team and USILA All-America Honorable Mention. In his first year as a starter, Fletcher emerged as one of the nation’s top shut-down defenders. He compiled 41 ground balls and was second on the Greyhounds with 26 caused turnovers. On NCAA Championship Weekend, Fletcher had nine ground balls and four caused turnovers and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Additionally, he earned ECAC All-Tournament honors earlier in May.

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Title drought continues for Maryland after loss to Loyola

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - After a back and forth battle in the first half that saw two Terrapin leads and three ties, the University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team fell to top-seeded Loyola 9-3 Monday in the NCAA title game in front of 30,816 at Gillette Stadium.

Junior Jesse Bernhardt, redshirt sophomore Mike Chanenchuk, and junior Kevin Cooper scored all three of Maryland’s goals in the first 20 minutes of the game, but the Greyhounds (18-1) took a two-goal lead before halftime they would not relinquish.

Jesse Bernhardt put the Terrapins on the board first with 9:34 to go in the first quarter. He went coast to coast down the field for the score after sophomore Michael Ehrhardt forced a Greyhound turnover. Bernhardt did the rest, scoring on a low shot in transition from the right alley.

Loyola tied it up just under five minutes later with a shot by Davis Butts from Chris Layne. Eric Lusby gave the Hounds their first lead at 2-1 with an unassisted goal with 1:55 remaining in the first quarter.

Chanenchuk tied the game up with 12:12 left in the second quarter. He came around the cage and shot under the stick of Loyola’s Josh Hawkins for the Terps’ second goal.

Less than 90 seconds later, senior Joe Cummings found Kevin Cooper in the middle of the box to send a straight shot into the back of the net for a 3-2 Maryland lead.

With 9:22 to go in the first half, Loyola’s Pat Byrnes tied the game back up with an unassisted score. Loyola took ahold of the lead with just under six minutes to go when Mike Sawyer scored off a pass from Layne to make it 4-3. Two minutes later, the Greyhounds extended their lead to two with an unassisted goal from Phil Dobson.

Loyola led 5-3 at the break, then made it a 6-3 lead with 10:12 to go in the third quarter with an unassisted goal by Justin Ward.

Lusby pushed Loyola’s lead to four with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter. Layne picked up his third assist of the day on the play. Lusby scored his third and fourth goals of the game in the final five minutes to make it a 9-3 final score.

The Terps took 19 of their 29 shots in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter and six in the final 3:45, but their stretch of unlucky shooting continued.

Sophomore goalkeeper Niko Amato finished with eight saves, while Loyola’s Jack Runkel finished with six. Four of Runkel’s saves came in the second half to hold the Terps off.

Joe Cummings, Drew Snider and Jesse Bernhardt were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.

Maryland ends the season with a 12-6 record on the season.

The game marked the end of a remarkable run for seven Maryland seniors: Joe Cummings, MJ Leonard, David Miller, Pat Morrison, Tim Shaeffer, Michael Shakespeare and Drew Snider. The 2012 senior class compiled a 47-22 (.712) record during its time in College Park, brought the Terps their first ACC Championship since 2005 and took the team to back-to-back NCAA title games for the first time since 1997 and 1998.

Game Notes:
• With today’s 9-3 loss, Maryland is now 19-2 all-time vs. Loyola.
• The Terps are now 1-1 all-time vs. the Greyhounds in the NCAA tournament and 1-1 in the Final Four.
• Maryland is now 2-9 all-time in the finals of the NCAA tournament.
• Second-year head coach John Tillman has led the Terrapins to the NCAA Championship game in both of his first two seasons in College Park. He owns a record of 25-11 (.694) and an NCAA Tournament record of 6-2 at Maryland.

-Terps-

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Greyhounds top Terps for first ever NCAA title

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Greyhounds top Terps for first ever NCAA title

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team checked off a lot of firsts throughout the 2012 season, and the Greyhounds capped their magical season with another on Memorial Day at Gillette Stadium.

Loyola won its first-ever NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship and the first national title in the school’s Division I history. The Greyhounds set a record for fewest goals allowed in an NCAA Championship Game, defeating the University of Maryland, 9-3.

“I thought Saturday was a pretty cool day for the Greyhounds. But, today is special,” said Charley Toomey who became the first coach to win an NCAA title in his first trip to the NCAA Semifinals. “When I look at my locker room, I’m just so proud of them. They’ve handled every situation with dignity and class this year. Coming back on short preparation to play a tough Maryland team, a physical Maryland team, they responded in a big way to give Loyola our first National Championship.”

Eric Lusby was named the Championship’s Most Outstanding Player after scoring four goals in the title game and setting a tournament record with 17 in four games. He also ends his season with a school-season record 54 goals, surpassing teammate Mike Sawyer who set the record two games ago and finished the year with 52.

Four Greyhounds joined Lusby on the All-Tournament Team: Josh Hawkins, Joe Fletcher, Scott Ratliff and Jack Runkel.

The Greyhounds trailed on two occasions during the game, 1-0 and 3-2, but after Maryland’s Kevin Cooper scored at 10:40, Loyola did not allow a goal for the remaining 40-minutes, 40-seconds of the contest.

Loyola’s win capped a season that it started outside the national Top-20 after concluding 2011 with an 8-5 record. The Greyhounds’ 18 wins set a program record, and Loyola became just the ninth team to win an NCAA Division I title since the first Championship in 1971.

The team is also the second in Loyola history to win a national crown, joining the 1976 men’s soccer side that won the NCAA Division II title.

Maryland took a 1-0 lead 5:26 into the game when Jesse Bernhardt caused a turnover and went the distance to score. The Terrapins (12-6) held Loyola scoreless for more than four more minutes, but Davis Butts broke through for the Greyhounds, scoring on a bouncer from nine yards out after taking a feed from Chris Layne.

Lusby pushed Loyola in front at the 1:55 mark in the first quarter, spinning free from a defender to dump in his first goal of the game.

Maryland, however, scored two in a row in the first five minutes of the second quarter to take brief 3-2 lead. Mike Chanenchuk got loose curling around the crease and scored at 12:12, and Cooper’s goal off a Joe Cummings feed made it 3-2 with 10:40 left in the frame.

The Terrapins’ advantage, however, did not last long as Pat Byrnes dodged around a defender from goal-line extended on the right side, putting a low-to-low shot around Maryland goalkeeper Niko Amato 1:18 after Cooper’s goal.

Layne then found Sawyer open about seven yards out, and Sawyer put a low-to-low shot into the net at 5:57 to put the Greyhounds up for good.

With 3:57 to go before the half, Phil Dobson came down the right side and ripped a shot to make it 5-3 at the break.

From that point, it was the defense’s turn to take over. Maryland took 19 shots in the third and fourth quarters, but Loyola did not yield a goal. Runkel made six of his seven saves in the second half in goal for the Greyhounds.

“Jack was tremendous this week, but that is what we see of him in practice every day,” Toomey said. “I felt like he got his first save, and that started things off right.”

Runkel was quick to credit the defense in front of him.

“A dream come true to play with these guys,” he said. “They give me shots that I want to see. I’m a lot better up top seeing shots and saving them.”

The close defense of Fletcher (2 ground balls, 1 caused turnover), Reid Acton (3, 2) and Dylan Grimm (1 gb) and rope unit of Ratliff (5, 2), Hawkins (2, 2), Pat Laconi (1 gb), Kyle Duffy and Kevin Moriarty led the way in front of Runkel.

Justin Ward scored the only goal of the third quarter,wrapping around the crease and depositing a high-to-high shot into the goal at 10:12, making Loyola’s lead 6-3.

The fourth quarter offense, then, belonged to Lusby.

He took a Layne pass and whipped a hip-high shot for a goal with 11:12 on the clock, and he made it an 8-3 Greyhounds lead with 5:07 toplay when Layne worked the ball to Sawyer, and Sawyer found Lusby alone on the top right side, and he scored from eight yards in front of the crease.

Lusby scored his record-setting goal with 3:45 left on the clock after Maryland had called a timeout to set up a ride.

Butts carried the ball around a double team for the Greyhounds, and then when he appeared to be trapped near the top of the box, Butts split the defenders and raced toward the goal. He sliced a pass in front of the crease to Lusby who finished his fourth goal of the afternoon.

“I just got hot at the right time,” Lusby said of his 17-goal outburst in the Championships. “I knew going into the tournament, my shot was a little off. I kept missing the cage, so I knew I wanted to shoot for net. But I have to give credit to all the other guys in the offense. From the middies to Davis Butts and Pat Byrnes, all those guys.”

“They were dodging hard all weekend and drawing slides and giving me all the opportunities I had. And, Mike Sawyer drawing all the attention on his side of the field. When I had the opportunity to shoot andscore, I wanted to make sure I made it count.”

Lusby opened the Championships with three goals and two assists against Canisius, and he then scored five goals with two assists in a Quarterfinal win over Denver. Saturday, he tallied five goals and a helper in the Semifinals against Notre Dame, leading to his four-goal performance in the title match.

He eclipsed the previous record of 16 goals set in 2006 by Virginia’s Matt Ward and tied a year later by Duke’s Zach Greer.

Lusby’s 17 goals came on 40 shots, and his 22 points were just three shy of tying the Championships’ record set in 1977 by Cornell’s Eamon McEneaney and tied in 1987 by Cornell’s Tim Goldstein.

The Greyhounds, who had made one previous appearance in the Division I Championship Game (1990 when Toomey was a co-captain and starting goalkeeper) and one in the Division II title contest (1981), joined Cornell, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina, Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia as teams that have won Division I titles.

“For our alumni, for our past presidents (Rev. Joseph Sellinger and Rev. Harold Ridley), for our current president (Rev. Brian Linnane), (Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics) Jim Paquette, for (Athletic Director Emeritus) Joe Boylan, (Executive Vice President) Susan Donovan, the people (who) have supported us for so many years to allow this team to be what it is, I’m just so happy for those people,” Toomey said.

“This is a special group of guys. This is a special group of young men that fought through a lot of things this year to put themselves in position, and they stood tall on the biggest day.”

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Your Monday Reality Check-Best team all season ending up winning title

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Your Monday Reality Check-Best team all season ending up winning title

Posted on 28 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

It’s a particular shame Monday’s NCAA lacrosse Championship Game was in Foxborough instead of right here at M&T Bank Stadium. It would have been a special celebration of a beloved game in Charm City.

Instead, Memorial Day became a special celebration of a deserving champion at Gillette Stadium.

I was at Ridley Athletic Complex Saturday, March 10 to see the Loyola University Maryland Greyhounds face the Duke Blue Devils. The Hounds had gotten off to a nice 4-0 start at that point in the season, reaching double digit goals in every game and holding their opponent to single digits in every game as well.

The issue at that point was the competition. Home wins over Delaware and Towson and road victories at Bellarmine and Michigan did little to convince anyone the Greyhounds were on the cusp of a breakthrough campaign.

It changed that day.

Star attackman and eventual Tewaaraton Award finalist Mike Sawyer put on an absolute clinic for Charley Toomey’s team, scoring six goals and leading the Hounds to a 13-8 win over the Devils. The Hounds were actually ranked ahead of the Devils in one of the recognized college lacrosse polls, but the victory still had the feel of an upset, as Duke was viewed as a legitimate national title contender.

From the opening whistle, it was apparent the Hounds were the more focused, determined squad. The 13-8 final didn’t even necessarily reflect the nature of the game, as Loyola held a 12-5 advantage after three quarters and appeared to let up late. The win came just after Toomey installed Jack Runkel as his starting goalie ahead of Michael Bonitatibus, a move that he would not have to reconsider at all the rest of the season.

On that day at Ridley Athletic Complex, the Loyola Greyhounds became more than just a team with a capable combination of scorers (Sawyer and graduate student Eric Lusby). They became more than just a fun team to watch. They became a legitimate threat to make a run to the Final Four.

Two and a half months later, they found themselves there. It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a run of good fortune. It wasn’t about bad luck for other teams. It wasn’t about an easy schedule.

This Loyola team proved that for the 2012 NCAA lacrosse season, they were unquestionably the best team in the country.

In Monday’s NCAA Championship Game, the Hounds dominated the University of Maryland in a way that perfectly encapsulated their entire season. They showed an incredible ability to score goals at times, but also showed that their midfield unit was as capable as their attack. Their wings battled for balls when face-offs appeared to be lost. Their defense was SUFFOCATING, preventing even a single goal from Maryland for a stretch of more than two and a half quarters, stifling a unit that had tallied 16 just two days prior against those same Duke Blue Devils. On top of all of that, Runkel was spectacular for a second straight game.

They left no doubt not only about who was the best team on Memorial Day Monday, but who was the best team in the country. They were a deserving #1 seed and they worked to become a deserving national champion.

A deserving national champion that didn’t play a single game on television until the postseason.

They lost just one game along the way, an overtime heartbreaker to a fine Johns Hopkins squad. They won THREE games over ECAC rival Denver University, two of those wins coming in the Mile High City. They recorded a win over every team that reached Memorial Day weekend.

Lusby and Sawyer now have name recognition, but the work of Runkel, Scott Ratliff, Chris Layne, Josh Hawkins, Pat Byrnes, Davis Butts, Justin Ward, Joe Fletcher, Nikko Pontrello, Patrick Fanshaw, Kevin Ryan, Phil Dobson, Sean O’Sullivan, Dylan Grimm, Pat Laconi, Kevin Moriarty and J.P. Dalton were deserving of having their names typed in a column like this as well.

Loyola becomes the smallest school to ever win a national championship in lacrosse. The title is the first and only Division 1 title in any sport for the school. The team was unranked before the season started. Toomey was able to accomplish the feat after being on the losing end as a goalie in the school’s only ever run to the National Championship Game back in 1990. Lusby broke the record for most goals in a single NCAA Tournament in the process.

The word amazing keeps coming to mind.

The title drought continues for the Terrapins, as they have not held the trophy since 1974. John Tillman has been to the title game twice in his two seasons in College Park, but the inability to win the big one will now already become a topic of conversation for the Terps’ alumni and fan base. They were a remarkably young team this season and will likely be right back in the title picture a year from now. It won’t help the sting of a Championship Game loss, but they showed many signs of being a team on the verge of greatness.

Loyola however was the definition of greatness. They were exceptional. And perhaps they even earned a measure of revenge for the city of Baltimore on the field where the Ravens saw their season end months earlier in the AFC Championship Game.

Eh…they were the best lacrosse team in the country. We’ll be more than happy to have that in Charm City.

-G

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Loyola aims for first D1 title in school history Monday

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Loyola aims for first D1 title in school history Monday

Posted on 27 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Opponent NCAA Championship Game | Maryland Terrapins
Date Monday, May 28, 2012
Time 1:00 p.m.
Location Foxborough, Mass. | Gillette Stadium
TV | Radio ESPN | ESPN3 | Sirius XM 91
Series Record Maryland leads, 18-2
Last Meeting Maryland 19, Loyola 8 – NCAA Semis – Piscataway, N.J.

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland will play for the NCAA Championship for the third time in the school’s 73 seasons of lacrosse history when it takes on the University of Maryland at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 28.

Despite just 30.67 miles (as the crow flies according to DaftLogic.com) separating the campuses, the game will be played 338 miles from Loyola’s campus at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

On The Tube, Web And Radio

The game will be broadcast live on ESPN with Eamon McAnaney and Quint Kessenich calling the action. Paul Carcaterra will be the sideline analyst.

The action can also be seen worldwide on ESPN3, the broadband arm of the ESPN, and on the WatchESPN app on mobile devices.

Westwood One Sports/Dial Global will provide the NCAA Radio Network broadcast of the Championships with Dave Ryan on the play-by-play and Steve Panarelli on analysis. It can be heard on Sirius/XM 91 worldwide. A complete list of stations can be found at dialglobalsports.com.

Series History

Loyola and Maryland will meet for the 21st time in series history – the Terrapins hold an 18-2 lead in the previous 20 games – and the second time in NCAA Championships play. (complete list of games on page six of notes)

The teams have not squared off since Maryland won a 19-8 decision on May 23, 1998, in the NCAA Semifinals at Rutgers University. Monday’s game will be just the third meeting of the teams since 1989 and the third since Loyola joined NCAA Division I in 1982.

Loyola won the initial meeting between the schools, 17-6, on April 6, 1940, but the Terrapins then won 17 in a row before the Greyhounds scored a 10-8 victory on March 19, 1989.

NCAA Championships History

Loyola is making its 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 18th at the Division I level. The Greyhounds are 11-19 all-time in Championships play, 11-17 at the Division I level.

Monday’s game will be Loyola third appearance in an NCAA Championship Game and second at the Division I level.

Loyola, with current Head Coach Charley Toomey as the team co-captain and goalkeeper, last played in the title game on May 28, 1990, when Syracuse defeated the Greyhounds, 21-9.

The Greyhounds also took part in the NCAA Division II-III Championship Game on May 17, 1981, when it lost to Adelphi, 17-14.

As an institution, Loyola has won one national title, the 1976 NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer crown.

Five, Twice In A Row

Eric Lusby scored five goals in the NCAA Semifinal against Notre Dame, duplicating a performance he had in the Quarterfinal round against Denver. Lusby is the first Loyola player to score five in consecutive games since Mike Sawyer did it against Bellarmine (March 5) and Duke (March 11) during the 2011 season.

Lusby’s Tournament

Eric Lusby is thus far the leading scorer in this year’s NCAA Tournament, tallying 13 goals and five assists for 18 points. He is three goals shy of tying the tournament record of 16 set in 2006 by Matt Ward and matched in 2007 by Duke’s Zach Greer.

His 13 are tied for seventh all-time. Loyola’s Chris Colbeck scored 14 in the 1990 tournament and is tied for fourth with Paul Rabil (Johns Hopkins, 2008) and Gary Gait (Syracuse, 1988). Gait is also third with 15 in 1990.

He has hat tricks in all three games Loyola has played after scoring three in the First Round against Canisius and five in both sequential games.

Runkel Stops 15

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 has played to a 5.97 goals against average and .622 saves percentage in three NCAA Tournament games.

Defense Limits Chances

Loyola’s defense held Notre Dame to just 28 shots, four below the Fighting Irish’s season average of 32.3 heading into the game, and the Greyhounds’ unit helped goalkeeper Jack Runkel make 15 saves by limiting inside chances.

As a unit, Loyola forced Notre Dame into 14 turnovers, although the team was credited with just seven caused turnovers.

Joe Fletcher caused three of the turnovers and picked up a career-high seven ground balls, while Reid Acton, Scott Ratliff, Josh Hawkins and Runkel each had a caused turnover.

50-50

Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer became the first duo in Loyola history with 50 goals each in the same season. Sawyer now stands with 51 goals, a Loyola single-season record, while Lusby has 50, tied with Tim Goettelmann for second in season history at the school.

They are two of three players in the NCAA this season to score 50 or more goals, joining Colgate’s Peter Baum (67). Last season, just one player (Robert Morris’ Trevor Moore, 50) had 50 or more.

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 are also the only Loyola players to reach 60 points in the same season.

With his six-point effort on Saturday afternoon, Lusby set the school Division I record for points in a season with 67, eclipsing the 66 (29g, 37a) Brian Duffy had during the 1995 season.

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

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.

Sawyer Sets Goals Record

Mike Sawyer scored the first goal of Loyola’s NCAA Quarterfinal game against Denver and broke the school single-season record for goals in the process.

Sawyer now has 51 goals this season, breaking the previous best of 50 set by Tim Goettelmann in 2000. Goettelmann went on to become Major League Lacrosse’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Earlier this season, 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. They are the only three Loyola players to top 40 this century.

In the ECAC Semifinal against Denver, Sawyer pushed his season point total to 50, a number that is now at 60, making him the first Greyhound to reach 50 in a season since Prout had 58 (37g, 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. Sawyer’s teammate, Eric Lusby, has since joined him with more than 50 points (more later).

Three-For-Three

Loyola completed a three-game sweep of Denver with its 10-9 NCAA Quarterfinal victory last Saturday, marking the first time in school history the Greyhounds had ever played a team three times in a season.

It is the third time a team has beaten another three times in a season (thanks to Patrick Stevens of The Washington Times for the research). Loyola joins the 1992 Maryland (vs. Duke), 2007 Duke (vs. North Carolina) and 2009 Duke (vs. North Carolina) teams to have accomplished the feat.

Sawyer, Lusby Form Rare Tandem

Graduate student Eric Lusby and junior Mike Sawyer have formed the top attack tandem in the nation this season, combining for 101 goals in 18 games this season, an average of 5.61 per game.

Sawyer has scored 51 goals, and his 2.83 goals per game average is sixth-best in Division I. Lusby, meanwhile is right behind with 50 goals and a 2.78 goals per game mark, a number that is eighth in the country. Loyola is the only school to have two players in top 10 nationally.

The Greyhounds have not had two players score 40 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.

The duo is now the top goal-scoring tandem in Loyola single-season history, eclipsing the performance in 2000 by Goettelmann and Prout.

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 (83) and caused turnovers (35), is fifth in goals (12) and is seventh in assists (7). His 34 caused turnovers are second-most in Loyola history – behind P.T. Ricci’s 51 in 2009 – since the stats became official that year.

A Tewaaraton Award nominee earlier in the year, 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 All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, then scored twice in the first quarter against Canisius to go along with six ground balls and three faceoff wins in the game.

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 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.

Ward Dishes Out Assists

Justin Ward was credited an assist on an Eric Lusby goal against Notre Dame raising his season total to 31, and his 1.72 assists per game are 21st nationally. Those numbers are tops among the players on the four teams in the NCAA Semifinals.

Ward is the first Loyola player this century to reach 30 assists, and his total is the most since Brian Duffy had 34 in 1996.

Top Spot

Loyola entered 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 Notre Dame in the NCAA Semifinals was its 17th 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.

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. Also, in March, Loyola’s men’s basketball team won its first MAAC title in 18 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994.

Sawyer Named One Of Five Tewaaraton Finalists

Mike Sawyer was named one of five Tewaaraton Award finalists on Thursday, joining Colgate A Peter Baum, Duke LSM C.J. Costabile, Massachusetts A Will Manny and Virginia A Steele Stanwick.

Sawyer is the first Loyola men’s player to be named a finalist, and he is also the first player from to hail the State of North Carolina to be so honored. He was one of three Greyhounds on the Tewaaraton Watch List where he was joined by Eric Lusby and Scott Ratliff, and Ratliff was a fellow semifinalist. The Award, which is given annually to the top player in college lacrosse, will be presented on May 31 at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Midfield Scoring

Loyola’s first midfield line of Davis Butts (20g, 33p), Sean O’Sullivan (16, 27) and Chris Layne (11, 22) has combined for 47 goals and 35 assists this season, while the second midfield unit of Pat Byrnes (9, 7), J.P. Dalton (9, 4) and Phil Dobson (7, 2) has added 25 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.

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 (3/14-3/17) and 1999 (3/6-3/8).

It also matched the best start to a season, equaling the 1999 team that finished the regular-season unblemished at 12-0.

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 has guided the Greyhounds to a 17-1 mark during the regular-season and the ECAC regular-season crown with a 6-0 mark in conference play. The NCAA Championship Game will be Toomey’s 100th as a head coach.

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.

All-ECAC Honors

Five Loyola players earned All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors form the conference’s coaches. Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff, who was also named ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, 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 second nationally, in goals (51). Butts has scored 20 goals and assisted on 13 from the Greyhounds first midfield line while also regularly playing a role on the wings during face-offs with 39 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 third nationally with 50 goals, and he also has 17 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 39 ground balls and 25 caused turnovers entering the NCAA title game.

Big Runs

Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its 18 games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. In all, Loyola has scored three or more in a row on 36 occasions this season.

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.

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

On The Flip Side

Conversely, the Greyhounds have allowed a run of three or more goals just 12 times this year, with the most recent 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 have now outscored opponents 65-22 in the third quarters of games and 119-63 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.

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Loyola tops Notre Dame to reach NCAA Championship Game

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Loyola tops Notre Dame to reach NCAA Championship Game

Posted on 26 May 2012 by WNST Staff

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Eric Lusby scored five goals, and Jack Runkel made a career-high 15 saves for Loyola University Maryland, and the No. 1 seeded Greyhounds defeated the Unviersity of Notre Dame, 7-5, on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Lacrosse Semifinals.

The win moved the Greyhounds (17-1 overall) to a date in Monday’s NCAA Championship Game where it will play the University of Maryland. Monday will be Loyola’s second all-time NCAA Championship Game appearance, joining the 1990 team as Greyhound squads to make the title match. Monday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Head Coach Charley Toomeysaid. “We’ll go back to work tonight. We just kept going week-to-week (this season) with (good) work ethic, with that same philosophy that we’re going to take care of each other.”

Lusby scored twice in the first quarter, once in the second and then tallied both Loyola goals in the third period. He also assisted on a Davis Butts goal in the second to finish with six points. He raised his season total to 50 goals, tying himself for second on Loyola’s single-season goals scored record, one behind teammate Mike Sawyer.

Sawyer and Lusby became the first pair of Loyola teammates to score 50 goals in a season.

“I’m playing confident right now,” said Lusby who had his second-straight five-goal game. “The past few games, I’ve had a pretty good shooting percentage. I see net, and I shoot for net. I don’t try to pick corners.”

Lusby got the scoring underway 3:34 into the first quarter when he took a pass from Chris Layne, drove topside from goal-line extended to score from inside five yards.

Notre Dame (13-3) tied the game with 7:57 to play in the first when Alex Eaton scored on an extra-man opportunity.

Lusby, however, put the Greyhounds back on top with 3:21 to go in the frame when he dodged and ducked two defenders, dumping a shot over the right shoulder of Notre Dame goalkeeper John Kemp.

Butts made it 3-1 in Loyola’s favor 2:01 into the second quarter when he took a Lusby pass from behind while crashing down the right side, scoring from close range.

Lusby pushed the Greyhounds’ lead to 4-1 with a nine-yard blast off a Justin Ward assist.

Notre Dame would snap a 20-plus minute scoreless stretch at 2:10 when Westy Hopkins worked his way free from a double-team and tallied his first of two in the game.

The Fighting Irish would not wait even 20 seconds for their next goal, as Liam O’Connor won the ensuing faceoff, raced into the box and fed Nicholas Beattie on the left side for a goal six seconds after Hopkins’.

Loyola looked likely to carry a 4-3 lead into the locker room until Josh Hawkins caused a Notre Dame turnover, and Joe Fletcher came up with one of his career-high seven ground balls.

Hawkins carried the ball into the box on transition and sent a high bouncer over Kemp with just 2.2 ticks left on the clock, putting Loyola up 5-3 at the break.

Notre Dame won the second half’s first faceoff – the Fighting Irish were 13-of-14 at the face-off `X’ in the game – but Runkel made a save on a Hopkins shot and sent an outlet pass over the top of the defense to J.P. Dalton.

Dalton took the ball into the top of the box where he passed to Mike Sawyeron the left side. Sawyer looked off a shot and sent a cross-field pass to Lusby on the low right crease, and Lusby shot-faked and scored 21 seconds into the frame.

Lusby made Loyola’s lead 7-3 with 11:40 left in the third, running down the alley to score his fifth of the game.

That goal, however, would be Loyola’s final of the game.

Neither the Greyhounds, nor Notre Dame would score until the Fighting Irish broke through with a Sean Rogers tally at 7:18 in the fourth quarter. Hopkins then added another goal just 50 seconds later, making it a 7-5 game.

Runkel made saves on the next two Fighting Irish possessions that quickly gave Loyola possessions.

He then tipped away a Hopkins point-blank try from inside three yards, but Notre Dame retained possession with a minute to play.

Hopkins had another attempt blocked, and then Fletcher stripped him of the ball and picked up ground ball with 16 seconds left, enabling Loyola to run out the clock.

Runkel made 11 of his 15 saves in the second half.

“I think the first save, I made was up top,” Runkel said. “It kind of got me into a rhythm. My defense was giving me shots to see a very clear line from the shooter.”

He eclipsed his previous best of 14 that came against Johns Hopkins on April 28.


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Loyola, Notre Dame square off Saturday in Final Four

Posted on 25 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Opponent NCAA Semifinals | Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Date Saturday, May 26, 2012
Time 2:30 p.m.
Location Foxborough, Mass. | Gillette Stadium
TV | Radio ESPN2 | ESPN3 | Sirius XM 91
Series Record Loyola leads, 13-6
Last Meeting Notre Dame 11, Loyola 9 – March 6, 2010 – M&T Bank Stad.

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland will make its third appearance in the NCAA Semifinals on Saturday, May 26, 2012, when it takes on the University of Notre Dame at 2:30 p.m.

The team will faceoff on the field at Gillette Stadium, home of the National Football League’s New England Patriots, in Foxborough, Mass. The winner of the game will face the winner of the other national semifinal between Duke and Maryland.

On The Tube, Web And Radio

The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Eamon McAnaney and Quint Kessenich calling the action. Paul Carcaterra will be the sideline analyst.

The action can also be seen worldwide on ESPN3, the broadband arm of the ESPN, and on the WatchESPN app on mobile devices.

Westwood One Sports/Dial Global will provide the NCAA Radio Network broadcast of the Championships with Dave Ryan on the play-by-play and Steve Panarelli on analysis. It can be heard on Sirius/XM 91 worldwide. A complete list of stations can be found at dialglobalsports.com.

Series History

Loyola and Notre Dame will meet for the 20th time in series history on Saturday and the third time in NCAA Championships play. Loyola holds a 13-6 advantage in the all-time series, but the Fighting Irish have won the last four meetings and six of the last nine. (Complete series history on page six of the notes)

The teams last played on March 6, 2010, in another NFL stadium. They met at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the Ravens, in the Konica-Minolta Face-Off Classic where Notre Dame came away with an 11-9 victory. In all, this will mark the third time the teams have played in an NFL venue. They also faced off in the 1998 IKON Classic at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, former home of the Baltimore Colts.

The last seven meetings in the series have been decided by a total of nine goals with five of the games coming down to a one-goal difference.

Loyola and Notre Dame have played twice in the NCAA Championships, both in the first round, and each team has been the victor once. The Fighting Irish defeated the Greyhounds, 15-12, in Baltimore in the 2000 First Round, and Loyola was a 21-5 first-round winner in 1997.

NCAA Championships History

Loyola is making its 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 18th at the Division I level. The Greyhounds are 10-19 all-time in Championships play, 10-17 at the Division I level.

Saturday’s game will be the Greyhounds third appearance in the NCAA Semifinals, first since 1998 when then lost 19-8 to Maryland in Piscataway, N.J. Loyola is 1-1 in NCAA Semifinal games having defeated Yale, 14-13 in overtime, in 1990 to advance to the title game.

Sawyer Sets Goals Record

Mike Sawyer scored the first goal of Loyola’s NCAA Quarterfinal game last Saturday and broke the school single-season record for goals in the process.

Sawyer now has 51 goals this season, breaking the previous best of 50 set by Tim Goettelmann in 2000. Goettelmann went on to become Major League Lacrosse’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Earlier this season, 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. They are the only three Loyola players to top 40 this century.

In the ECAC Semifinal against Denver, Sawyer pushed his season point total to 50, a number that is now at 59, making him the first Greyhound to reach 50 in a season since Prout had 58 (37g, 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. Sawyer’s teammate, Eric Lusby, has since joined him with more than 50 points (more later).

Lusby Right Behind After 5-Goal Game

After tying his career-high with five goals in the Greyhounds 10-9 victory over Denver, Eric Lusby leads the team with 61 points and is not far behind Mike Sawyer in the goals column with 45.

Lusby recorded a career-high seven points in the win over the Pioneers and was involved in all but three of the Greyhounds goals after recording two assists. He scored back-to-back goals twice, once during the second quarter and again in the third.

Three-For-Three

Loyola completed a three-game sweep of Denver with its 10-9 NCAA Quarterfinal victory last Saturday, marking the first time in school history the Greyhounds had ever played a team three times in a season.

It is the third time a team has beaten another three times in a season (thanks to Patrick Stevens of The Washington Times for the research). Loyola joins the 1992 Maryland (vs. Duke), 2007 Duke (vs. North Carolina) and 2009 Duke (vs. North Carolina) teams to have accomplished the feat.

Faceoff Turnaround

Loyola’s J.P. Dalton dominated the faceoff ‘X’ on Saturday against Denver, winning 17-of-22 (.772) against Denver’s Chase Carraro. It was a vast departure from the first two times the teams squared off where the Pioneers went a combined 30-of-45 (.667).

In the regular-season meeting between the teams, Carraro was 13-of-14 at the X, and he went 16-of 29 against the Greyhounds in the ECAC Semifinal game.

Dalton’s 17 wins were one off his career-high set earlier this season against Air Force.

Sawyer, Lusby Form Rare Tandem

Graduate student Eric Lusby and junior Mike Sawyer have formed the top attack tandem in the nation this season, combining for 96 goals in 17 games this season, an average of 5.65 per game.

Sawyer has scored 51 goals, and his 3.0 goals per game average is third-best in Division I. Lusby, meanwhile is right behind with 45 goals and a 2.65 goals per game mark, a number that is 11th in the country. Loyola is one of two schools to have two players in the top 11 of goals per game nationally (Robert Morris).

The Greyhounds have not had two players score 40 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.

The duo is now the top goal-scoring tandem in Loyola single-season history, eclipsing the performance in 2000 by Goettelmann and Prout.

Two Over 40/50

Mike Sawyer (51g, 59p) and Eric Lusby (45g, 62p) became the first set of Loyola teammates to score 40 goals and 50 points in a season since Tim Goettelmann (50, 65) and Gavin Prout (41, 53) accomplished the feat in 2000.

They are one of only two duos in the nation this year – Robert Morris’ Kiel Matisz (40, 64) and Jake Hayes (42, 61) are the other – to post 40 and 50.

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 (79) and caused turnovers (34), is fifth in goals (12) and is seventh in assists (7). His 34 caused turnovers are second-most in Loyola history – behind P.T. Ricci’s 51 in 2009 – since the stats became official in 2008.

A Tewaaraton Award nominee earlier in the year, 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 All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, then scored twice in the first quarter against Canisius to go along with six ground balls and three faceoff wins in the game.

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 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.

Ward Dishes Out Assists

Justin Ward was credited with two assists in the NCAA Quarterfinal against Denver, raising his season total to 30, and his 1.76 assists per game are now tied for 19th nationally. Those numbers are tops among the remaining players on the four teams in the NCAA Semifinals.

Ward is the first Loyola player this century to reach 30 assists, and his total is the most since Brian Duffy had 34 in 1996.

NCAA Semifinals Connections

Kevin Ryan’s family will have a rare connection to Loyola’s place in the NCAA Semifinals historically after this weekend. Ryan, who scored an EMO goal in the Quarterfinals against Denver, is the cousin of Sean Quinn and Kevin Quinn who played on Loyola’s semifinal teams in 1990 and 1998, respectively. Sean was a starting defender on the 1990 team, and Kevin a midfielder on the 1998 team.

Phil Dobson, a Loyola midfielder, will face his older brother, Devon, for the first time on a collegiate lacrosse field. Devon is a defensive midfielder for the Fighting Irish.

Top Spot

Loyola entered 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 Denver in the NCAA Quarterfinals was its 16th 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.

Second-Half Run

Loyola used 13 unanswered goals to break open a 4-3 halftime lead against Canisius in a 17-5 victory over the Golden Griffins in the NCAA Championships First Round.

The Greyhounds took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter before Canisius scored three unanswered in the second. Mike Sawyer corralled a rebound of an Eric Lusby shot off the pipe and scored 1:20 into the second quarter to start the run. During the stretch, Sawyer scored all five of his goals, and Lusby had two of his three.

The run was the second longest in the brief, three-year history of Ridley Athletic Complex. Only a 14-0 run to start the game on March 20, 2010, against Air Force had more goals.

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. Also, in March, Loyola’s men’s basketball team won its first MAAC title in 18 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994.

Sawyer Named One Of Five Tewaaraton Finalists

Mike Sawyer was named one of five Tewaaraton Award finalists on Thursday, joining Colgate A Peter Baum, Duke LSM C.J. Costabile, Massachusetts A Will Manny and Virginia A Steele Stanwick.

Sawyer is the first Loyola men’s player to be named a finalist, and he is also the first player from to hail the State of North Carolina to be so honored. He was one of three Greyhounds on the Tewaaraton Watch List where he was joined by Eric Lusby and Scott Ratliff, and Ratliff was a fellow semifinalist. The Award, which is given annually to the top player in college lacrosse, will be presented on May 31 at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Midfield Scoring

Loyola’s first midfield line of Davis Butts (19g, 32p), Sean O’Sullivan (16, 27) and Chris Layne (11, 21) has combined for 46 goals and 34 assists this season, while the second midfield unit of Pat Byrnes (9, 7), J.P. Dalton (9, 4) and Phil Dobson (7, 2) has added 25 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.

Spreading Out The Scoring Wealth

Loyola’s first 11 goals against Denver in the ECAC Semifinal 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.

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 (3/14-3/17) and 1999 (3/6-3/8).

It also matched the best start to a season, equaling the 1999 team that finished the regular-season unblemished at 12-0.

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 has guided the Greyhounds to a 16-1 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.

The win over Denver in the Quarterfinals 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 .619 winning percentage trails only Cottle’s .721 at Loyola.

All-ECAC Honors

Five Loyola players earned All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors form the conference’s coaches. Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff, who was also named ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, 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 (51) and goals per game (3.0). Butts has scored 19 goals and assisted on 13 from the Greyhounds first midfield line while also regularly playing a role on the wings during face-offs with 38 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 11th nationally with 45 goals (2.68 per game), and he also has 16 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 32 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers entering the NCAA Quarterfinals.

Big Runs

Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its 17 games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. In all, Loyola has scored three or more in a row on 34 occasions this season.

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 12 times this year, with the most recent 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.

On The EMO

This season, the Greyhounds are ranked second in the nation in man-up offense, scoring 48-percent of the time (24-of-50). Only Lehigh (.553) has a better mark this year. Loyola dropped below 50-percent for the first time this year by going 4-of-10 in the game against Denver.

The last time Loyola finished at or above .500 in man-up offense was in 1997 when it converted 39-of-77 (.506).

Second-Half Success

The Greyhounds have now outscored opponents 63-22 in the third quarters of games and 117-61 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.

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Loyola’s Sawyer, Ratliff receive All-America honors

Posted on 24 May 2012 by WNST Staff

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Loyola University Maryland juniors Mike Sawyer and Scott Ratliff earned All-America Second and Third Team honors, respectively, from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, becoming the first pair of Greyhounds to earn honors other than Honorable Mention in the same season since 2000.

In addition to the honors Sawyer and Ratliff received, five other Loyola players – graduate student Eric Lusby, juniors Reid Acton, Davis Butts and Josh Hawkins and sophomore Joe Fletcher – were named Honorable Mention All-Americans.

The last time two or more Loyola players were named to teams was 2000 when Mike Battista was named to the second, Tim Goettelmann to thesecond and Gavin Prout to the third.

Seven players are the most Greyhounds to be honored in a year since seven received recognition in 1999.

Sawyer, who is also a Tewaaraton Award finalist, set aschool record last Saturday in a NCAA Quarterfinals victory over Denver with his 51st goal of the year. His goal tally surpassed Goettelmann’s 2000 total of 50.

The junior attacker from Waxhaw, N.C., has totaled 58 points and 38 ground balls, as well, this year. He is third in the NCAA in goals per game (3.0) and second in total goals.

Ratliff earned Third Team honors as a long-stick midfielder while leading the Greyhounds in ground balls (79) and caused turnovers (34)this season. A Tewaaraton Award semifinalist, he also set the school long-pole single-season scoring record, recording 12 goals and seven assists thus far.

He is the first player from the state of Georgia, hailing from Marietta, to earn All-America honors, and he follows his father, Randy, as an All-American. Randy earned honors at the University of Maryland in 1977 and 1979.

Lusby, an attacker from Severna Park, Md., earned Honorable Mention this season after returning for his fourth year of eligibility. He played in just two games last year and received a medical redshirt following a knee injury in the 2010 NCAA First Round. Lusby has led the Greyhounds in points (61) this season, scoring 45 goals to go with 16 assists. He tied his career-high with five goals in the NCAA Quarterfinals against Denver and set a career-best with seven points.

Acton, a defender from Toronto, Ontario, was one of the top inside defenders in the nation and frequently drew the matchup against opponents’ top attacker. He has 41 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers this season and also scored a 75-yard goal in the ECAC Championship Game against Fairfield. Earlier in the year, he had primary marking responsibility against Denver All-American Mark Matthews, as Acton’s fellow Canadian’s 39 games with a goal streak was snapped.

Butts, a midfielder form Walpole, Mass., used his speed and dodging ability from the midfield to create opportunities for himself and teammates. He has scored 19 goals and has 13 assists this year, and his play on the wings of faceoffs on occasion has helped him scoop up 38 ground balls.

Fletcher, a defender from Syracuse, N.Y., earned a reputation during the season as one of the nation’s top defenders in his first year as a starter. He has totaled 32 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers, and he made one of the biggest plays of the year for Loyola, knocking down a Denver shot with less than 20 seconds to play in the NCAA Quarterfinals, securing the Greyhounds’ win.

Hawkins, a defensive midfielder from Amherst, Mass., continued to be one of the finest short-sticks in the nation, rolling up 60ground balls, good for second on the team despite missing the first four games of the year with a n injury. He also scored five goals and had two assists,helping key Loyola’s potent transition game.

Loyola will continue its season on Saturday, May 26, when it makes its third appearance in the NCAA Semifinals. The Greyhounds will take on Notre Dame at 2:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., in a gamethat will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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Loyola beats Denver again to get back to Final Four

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Loyola beats Denver again to get back to Final Four

Posted on 19 May 2012 by WNST Staff

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Eric Lusby scored five goals and had a career-high seven points, and J.P. Dalton won 17-of-22 faceoffs, as the top-seeded Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team defeated the University of Denver, 10-9, on Saturday afternoon to advance to next weekend’s NCAA Semifinals for the first time since 1998.

Lusby’s five goals tied his career-best, and he added two assists. Dalton dominated at the faceoff ‘X’, winning 77.2-percent of restarts against a team that had won 67.8-percent against the Greyhounds in two previous meetings this season.

The Greyhounds (16-1) will play the winner of No. 4 seed Notre Dame and No. 5 seed Virginia on Saturday, May 26, in the NCAA Semifinals at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

“What a day for the Greyhounds,” Head Coach Charley Toomey said. “I’m just so pround of these guys. It’s hard for me not to get emotional because this team has worked so hard for so long together through good times and bad this spring.”

Loyola will make its third trip to the NCAA Semifinals, joining the teams from 1990 and 1998 that also played on Championship Weekend. Toomey was the starting goalkeeper and team co-captain of the 1990 team that lost in the NCAA title game to Syracuse.

Lusby scored the second of two Loyola goals, the first was an unassisted tally from Mike Sawyer who wrapped around the crease on the right side and beat Denver goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante with a low-to-low shot at 10:30. Lusby then scored on an extra-man opportunity at 9:01, taking a Sean O’Sullivan and converting on a shot from the high right side.

Denver (9-7), however, would battle back and tie the game by the end of the first quarter. Mark Matthews found himself in space and scored from eight yards out with 2:20 left in the first, and he added a second goal at the end of a Jeremy Noble transition run with just six ticks left on the clock to tie the game at 2-2 heading to the second.

Noble put Denver briefly in front, 3-2, with a goal at 8:46, putting Loyola at a disadvantage on the scoreboard for the first time in over 201 minutes of game action, dating back to the regular-season finale against Johns Hopkins on April 28.

Loyola was not down for long, however, as Scott Ratliff passed it to Eric Lusby on the right side, and Lusby drew a double team. Lusby then got the ball right back to Ratliff who scored after using a shot fake,tying the game at 3-3 with 7:21 to play before halftime.

Kevin Ryan then scored just his second career goal – the first also came against Denver in the ECAC Semifinal – on a man-up possession. Ryan took a Brian Schultz feed near the crease and dumped an over the shoulder shot into the goal to put the Greyhounds in front at 6:27.

The Pioneers rallied with a Cameron Flint goal at 5:05, and then Lusby struck twice in a row to close the second quarter.

Both times, he scored off Justin Ward assists, the first coming from eight yards out on the right side, and the second with 1:09 left in the period after Ward fed him on the crease.

During the second quarter, as Loyola outscored Denver, 4-2, Dalton won all seven faceoffs.

“I would give a lot of credit to (Volunteer Assistant) Coach (Steve) Vaikness,” Toomey said of the faceoff success. “He spends countless hours with (J.P.) watching film. We know what we’ve got coming in off the wings. (Ratliff, Josh Hawkins, Kevin Moriarty and Davis Butts) are very athletic and are ground ball hawks. J.P. answered the bell today for us; J.P. was a beast.”

Chris Layne put Loyola up three, 7-4, 1:53 into the second half when he beat his man from behind and scored after getting topside. Denver, however, scored two in a row, as Wes Berg fed a pass from behind to Flint who scored on a Pioneers extra-man, and Berg then buried an off-balance shot from five yards out to pull Denver within a goal, 7-6, with 10:21 left in the third.

Lusby again tallied back-to-back goals to re-extend the Greyhounds’ advantage to three, 9-6. The first came when he cut to the middle and caught a Butts pass and scored from seven yards out. He then used a Schultz feed from behind to score an extra-man goal at 2:06.

“We see (Lusby’s shooting) every day,” Toomey said. “We know what we have on the corners, whether it’s Mike Sawyer or Eric Lusby. I think Eric would be the first one to tell you he was the recipient of Mike getting shut off. (Eric) shoots the ball with such velocity, but the one thing that we see is that he is so unselfish with the ball. When people are getting to his hands, he’s creating other opportunities.”

Schultz had his first career multi-point game with twoassists, a career-high.

The Greyhounds extended their lead to a game-high four goals 4:31 into the final quarter when Lusby flipped the ball to Butts 15 yards from the crease, took two defenders with him and allowed Butts to run free down the right alley. Butts then converted a jump-shot to make it 10-6 Loyola at 10:29.

With his two assists, Lusby was involved in seven of Loyola’s 10 goals on Saturday.

Denver scored the next three goals, one by Matthews, asecond from Noble and the third an unassisted Berg goal with 2:43 left in regulation.

Hawkins, who tied for game-high honors with six groundballs, came away from the faceoff after Berg’s goal with the ball, but Denver took back possession after a Loyola turnover at 1:47.

Berg appeared to have an open lane on the right side, but Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel stuffed the shot with one of his 11 saves on the day.

The Greyhounds cleared the ball, but a Butts shot was blocked, and Denver got the loose ball to set up one final transition opportunity.

Flint came free near the top of the box, and he took a shot from 10 yards out, but Loyola defender Joe Fletcher knocked it out of the air, and Ratliff picked up the ground ball and ran out the clock.

Loyola outshot the Pioneers, 48-31, and the Greyhounds had a 32-25 advantage in ground balls. Hawkins had six, while Ratliff and Runkel had five and four, respectively. Dalton picked up three, as well.

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