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Loyola plays first ever home Patriot League contest Saturday against Army

Posted on 14 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Army Black Knights

Saturday, March 15, 2014  |  1:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland plays its second-straight home game on Saturday, March 15, when it hosts the U.S. Military Academy at 1 p.m.

The game will be Loyola’s first home Patriot League contest since officially joining the conference on July 1, 2013.

The Greyhounds are third nationally in goals per game, averaging 14.83, and they are also third in scoring margin with a +7.0 mark in their five games.

Nikko Pontrello moved up to third in the nation in goals per game (4.0) after scoring five last Sunday against Duke.

Justin Ward is now third nationally in assists per game (3.17). Ward has posted two or more assists in all of Loyola’s six games thus far.

Loyola has won its first two Patriot League games – at Holy Cross and Lehigh – by a combined score of 30-11.

Three Loyola players – Matt Sawyer (offensive), Joe Fletcher (defensive), and Jack Runkel (goalkeeper) – swept the Patriot League weekly awards on Monday following the win over Duke.

Duke had a 13-10 advantage in faceoffs won last Saturday, but led by Joe Fletcher’s seven, the Greyhounds came away with a 35-34 lead in ground balls.

Last Time Out

Loyola trailed Duke, 4-3, after the first quarter, but the Greyhounds scored 10 of the next 12 goals to go on to a 14-7 victory over the Blue Devils on Sunday night in front of a national television audience and 3,912 fans at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Matt Sawyer tripled his previous career-high with six goals, and Nikko Pontrello tallied five goals for the Greyhounds. The two needed just 14 shots for their 11 goals.

Sawyer and Pontrello scored goals within 1:07 of each other early int he second quarter, and Sawyer added two more in the frame to help the Greyhounds go into the locker room with an 8-5 advantage.

Pontrello then added the first two goals of the second half, and each had scores in the first two minutes of the third quarter, as did Justin Ward.

Ward finished with a goal and four assists, while Brian Schultz posted a goal and two helpers. Jeff Chase had the other Greyhounds goal.

Jack Runkel made nine saves in goal for the Greyhounds, as the defense allowed seven or fewer goals for the fourth-straight game.

 

 

Follow The Action

Saturday’s game, and all non-televised home games, will be broadcast on the Patriot League Network. Additionally, all of Loyola’s road conference games will also be available on the free HD network.

Log on to LoyolaGreyhounds.com/pln or PatriotLeague.tv to watch the home games on your computer, web-enabled televisions and most mobile devices.

 

In The Polls

Loyola moved up in the polls following its win last weekend over then-No. 4 Duke. The Greyhounds are now tied for second in he USILA Coaches’ Poll and second outright in both the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls he Lacrosse Magazine rankings.

Army enters the game receiving votes in both the in the USILA Coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse version.

 

Series History

Saturday will be the second meeting all-time between Loyola and the U.S. Military Academy and the first 71 years.

Army won the first meeting of the two teams at the end of the 1943 season, 9-3, in Baltimore.

 

Since 2012

Loyola has the best winning percentage in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse since the start of the 2012 season. The Greyhounds are 34-7 during that stretch (17-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 5-1 this season) for a .829 mark.

Only Duke has won more games (36) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly eight percent (36-12, .750).

 

Five-Plus For Two

Matt Sawyer scored six goals, and Nikko Pontrello tallied five for the Greyhounds on Sunday against Duke, marking the first time in over a decade that two Loyola players have scored five or more in the same game.

The last pair to do so was Gavin Prout (six) and Tim Goettelmann (five) in a 14-9 win on March 25, 2000, at 14th-ranked Brown University.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all six of its games this season, and it has had four stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 11 runs of 3-0 or better. Here is a look at their four best scoring stretches:

Opponent Run Time Covered   Opponent Run Time Covered
at Holy Cross 14-0 38:58   Towson 10-0 16:38
at Virginia 9-0 14:18   Towson 7-0 18:37

 

 

Tripled Up

Matt Sawyer entered Sunday’s game against Duke with a single-game high of two goals, those coming in the season-opener at the University of Virginia. It took the senior from Waxhaw, N.C., just 15-minutes, 56-seconds against the Blue Devils to match that total, and 20:51 to exceed it.

Sawyer finished the game by tripling his previous high, totaling six goals on just seven shots. His lone shot that did not find the net was perhaps his hardest of the night, and it went off the far-side post.

His six goals raised his 2014 total to 10, tied for third on the team. He now has 14 goals in his career.

Sunday’s game was not the first time a member of the Sawyer family had put up six goals on Duke. Matt’s older brother, three-time All-American Mike, scored six goals and had two assists in a 13-8 win over the Blue Devils in March 2012.

 

Slowing Scorers

Duke’s Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne came into Sunday’s game tied for the team lead in goals (12 each), and the duo had a combined 235 career goals. Loyola, however, held them to just one goal each in the victory.

In four career games against Loyola, prior to Sunday, Wolf had scored nine goals.

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello had his sixth multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Sunday when he scored a five goals against Duke. The game came a week after he scored four at Lehigh and two since he set a career-high with six goals at Holy Cross. The junior attacker scored twice in the opener against Virginia, and he then recorded three versus both Penn State and Towson. His final goal against the Nittany Lions came 19 seconds into overtime and lifted Loyola to a 12-11 win. In his career, Loyola is now 8-0 in games that he scored three or more goals.

Pontrello leads the Greyhounds with 24 goals and 29 points through six games. He has already eclipsed his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.

He leads the Patriot League and is third nationally in goals per game (4.0), while he is second and seventh in points per game (4.83).

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 13 combined assists in the last three contests. He is third in the nation, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.17 assists per game this year.

With four assists against Duke – the second game in a row he’s posted that total – Ward set Loyola’s career Division I record (since 1982) in total assists (85), eclipsing the mark of 83 set from 1989-92 by Jim Blanding. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also 15th in school Division I history in total points with 130.

Ward is in his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhound after earning USILA All-America Honorable Mention last year after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

 

Midfield Scoring

Entering the 2014 season, Loyola was looking to replace five of its top seven offensive midfielders from a year ago, a group that included All-American Davis Butts, as well as first middies Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan. As a group, the five contributed 47 goals, 29 assists and 76 points, right at 25 percent of the Greyhounds total in each.

This year, Loyola’s first and second midfield units have scored more than 47 percent of the team’s goals, a total of 42. Kevin Ryan scored eight goals combined against Holy Cross and Lehigh, and he is second on the team with 11 total. Matt Sawyer’s six versus Duke moved him into a tie for third with 10 total, and Tyler Albrecht is fifth on the squad with eight goals, while Brian Sherlock has six goals and five assists.

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .643 mark, saving 54 out of 84 shots on goal he’s faced. In the last four games against Towson, Holy Cross, Lehigh and Duke, Runkel has made 42 saves and allowed just 19 goals (.689).

The senior goalkeeper, who earned 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament honors, has a goals against average of 7.51 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .582 through five games.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.91 goals against average and .551 saves percentage. His record between the pipes is 32-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 39 victories. Amato, however, is a four-year starter, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.

 

Fletch, White And Blue

Senior defender Joe Fletcher was the long current collegiate player selected as part of one of 52 players who made up the United States Men’s National Team training roster this fall, and the day before Loyola’s season-opener, he found out he is one of 30 players who made the cut for the team that will compete at the 2014 World Cup in Denver.

Against Holy Cross, Fletcher set a career-high with eight ground balls, eclipsing his previous total of seven set on three different occasions. In a pair of games against Towson and the Crusaders, he had 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers.

He earned his second Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honor this year on Monday after picking up seven ground balls and causing a turnover against Duke. He also was primarily responsible for holding the Blue Devils’ All-American attacker Jordan Wolf to one goal.

This season, the Preseason All-American is tied for Loyola’s team-lead with 25 ground balls, and he leads the squad with 11 caused turnovers. His 56 career caused turnovers are third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on March 3 after matching his career-high with two goals at Lehigh.

The senior, who is a team co-captain and Preseason All-American, also scored twice against Towson, and his four goals match his total from a year ago when he scored four times and assisted on six. Laconi also is second on the team with seven caused turnovers this season.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has parlayed his opportunity into a solid start to the season. Through six games, Schultz has scored 10 goals, tied for third most on the team, and eight assists, second behind team-leader Justin Ward.

Entering this season, Schultz had seen most of his playing time on extra-man opportunities for the Greyhounds. As a sophomore and junior, he posted a combined three goals and five assists.

 

Hot Hand

Steve Vaikness, Loyola’s volunteer assistant coach lauded by many in the media as the top faceoff teacher in the nation, has pulled the right strings in the first five games with a faceoff group of Blake Burkhart, Brendan Donovan and Graham Savio.

In the Virginia game, Savio came in to win 11-of-18 restarts, and Donovan then provided wins in 4-of-7 during a critical stretch at Penn State. Burkhart shined against Towson, winning 10-of-14 as Loyola jumped out to a big lead. It was Savio again at Holy Cross, as the freshman won 14-of-18 draws.

Savio then took all of the faceoffs at Lehigh, winning a career-high 15-of-24. He battled Duke All-American Brendan Fowler on Sunday, going 10-of-21 (.476) against the 2013 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

As a unit, Loyola is winning 52.3 percent of faceoffs, up from last year’s mark of 46.5.

 

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair

Two of Loyola’s senior co-captains were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List when it was released last week. Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were among the 50 players nationally to receive recognition.

They were also two of 20 players nationally to be named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award that seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom and who have used their platforms as student-athletes to make positive impacts in the community.

 

Margin In Two

As Loyola outscored Towson and Holy Cross by a combined 28 goals, 36-8, it took a bit of time to find precedent for the last time the Greyhounds won back-to-back games by such a margin. The last time Loyola won two by 28 or more goals goes back to the Dave Cottle-coached 1996 team that beat Saint Joseph’s, 26-6, on April 10 and C.W. Post, 17-5, on April 13. That combined margin of victory was 32 goals, 43-11.

The last time Loyola scored a combined 36 goals in consecutive games was 2007 when it tallied 19 against Fairfield on April 21 and 17 versus Hobart a week later. The last time the Greyhounds yielded eight or fewer in back-to-back outings was 2001 when they beat Radford, 18-5, on April 11, and Butler, 12-3, on April 14.

 

Patriot League Honors

Loyola players have earned 10 Patriot League weekly awards over the last three weeks. Matt Sawyer (Offensive) won his first award, while Jack Runkel (Goalkeeper) won his third-straight, and Joe Fletcher (Defensive) earned his second in three weeks on Monday, March 10. Prior to Sawyer winning the offensive award, Nikko Pontrello had earned two in a row, while Pat Laconi (Defensive, March 3), Joe Fletcher (Defensive, February 24) and Brian Sherlock (Rookie, February 24) also were honored.

Romar Dennis won the initial Rookie of the Week Award this year after scoring twice in the season-opener at Virginia.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 11 March 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionNBA-Charlotte Bobcats @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Orlando Magic (Friday 7pm from Orlando live on Comcast SportsNet), Brooklyn Nets @ Washington Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Women’s College Basketball: CAA Tournament (Thursday-Sunday from Showplace Arena live on CAA.TV/Comcast SportsNet), Selection Monday (Monday 7pm ESPN); Golf: PGA Tour Valspar Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Palm Harbor, FL), Champions Tour Toshiba Classic (Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7pm from Newport Beach, CA live on Golf Channel); Harlem Globetrotters (Saturday 1pm Verizon Center Saturday 7:30pm Sunday 2pm Patriot Center)

10. Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Sunday 2pm Inner Harbor); Shamrock Shindig (Sunday 11am Pierce’s Park); Need For Speed” and “Veronica Mars” out in theaters (Friday); Inside Llewyn Davis“, “Homefront” and “The Book Thief” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Two very important things here. One, the appropriate St. Patty’s Day meal is NOT Corned Beef and Cabbage. It’s this.

Two-A reminder that after NFS star Aaron Paul (perhaps you’ve heard of him) finished his interview with us at the Super Bowl, he came back by the table to tell us it was his favorite one of the year. He personally thanked me. Because we’re best friends.

9. Shamrocks & Shenanigans feat. Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Saturday 7pm Power Plant Live); Paul Simon & Sting (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Uncle Kracker (Thursday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Mac McAnally (Saturday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Dr. Dog (Friday & Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Steve Earle (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere); The Moody Blues (Tuesday 8pm Strathmore); The Head and The Heart (Saturday 10:45am Rock N Roll Marathon DC); Ellie Goulding (Sunday 7pm Echostage); 311 “Stereolithic” and Aloe Blacc “Lift Your Spirit” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Mighty Mighty Bosstones were the band from Clueless. Also, you’re 44. I understand how difficult this is. Just remember I love you.

)

I’m surprised Paul Simon has time to tour considering he’s spending most of his time posing for the cover of Tiger Beat.

)

I’d like to see Sting in DC and I’d like to see him at WrestleMania.

)

Aloe Blacc is that guy whose song you’ve NEVER STOPPED HEARING.

)

(Continued on Page 2...)

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Maryland, Loyola, Hopkins claim top spots in weekly lacrosse polls

Posted on 10 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Area lacrosse teams continued a great start to the 2014 this weekend and have been rewarded for it by rising in the weekly polls. The University of Maryland went on the road and topped Stony Brook 11-8 to remain unbeaten, Johns Hopkins used two big runs to top UMBC 15-8 Saturday afternoon and Loyola doubled up Duke Sunday night at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Here are this week’s new rankings (courtesy of NCAA.com), starting with the Inside Lacrosse media poll.

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Maryland (22) 5-0 459 1
2 Loyola (Md.) (1) 5-1 432 5
3 Johns Hopkins 5-0 411 4
4 Duke 4-2 352 3
5 North Carolina 4-1 344 8
6 Virginia 6-1 338 2
7 Penn State 3-1 328 7
8 Cornell 5-0 303 15
9 Denver 4-2 281 12
10 Syracuse 3-2 274 9
11 Penn 3-1 233 13
12 Notre Dame 2-2 228 6
13 Albany 2-2 166 17
14 Lehigh 5-1 142 16
15 Massachusetts 4-1 126 10
16 Princeton 2-2 124 14
17 Yale 2-1 114 11
18 Hofstra 3-2 47 NR
19 Colgate 5-1 35 NR
20 Bryant 3-2 31 NR

Of note, Towson appeared in the “Also receiving votes” portion of the IL poll. Now here is the new USILA coaches’ poll…

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Maryland (13) 5-0 278 1
T2 Johns Hopkins 5-0 257 3
T2 Loyola (Md.) (1) 5-1 257 5
4 North Carolina 4-1 225 6
5 Penn State 3-1 207 7
6 Duke 4-2 206 4
7 Virginia 6-1 205 2
8 Cornell 5-0 178 15
9 Denver 4-2 168 12
10 Syracuse 3-2 161 11
11 Notre Dame 2-2 140 8
12 Penn 3-1 123 14
13 Albany 2-2 104 18
14 Massachusetts 4-1 87 9
15 Lehigh 5-1 85 16
16 Princeton 2-2 83 13
17 Yale 2-1 61 10
18 Bryant 3-2 29 NR
19 Fairfield 3-2 21 NR
20 Drexel 3-3 19 17

 

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Loyola lacrosse players sweep Patriot League weekly awards

Posted on 10 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Sawyer, Fletcher, Runkel Grab Patriot League Weekly Awards

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – For the second week in a row, three Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse players won weekly honors from the Patriot League. Matt Sawyer, Joe Fletcher and Jack Runkel won the offensive, defensive and goalkeepers of the week honors on Monday following the Greyhounds’ 14-7 win on Sunday night over then-No. 4 Duke University.

Loyola (5-1 overall) moved up to a tie for second in the USILA coaches’ poll and second outright in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse andLacrosse Magazine media rankings.

Sawyer tripled his previous career-high on Sunday night against the Blue Devils, scoring a game-best six goals for Loyola. He tallied four goals before halftime, helping the Greyhounds to an 8-4 lead at the break, and he tallied extra-man goals in both halves.

Entering the game, the Waxhaw, N.C., native entered the game with eight total goals, four last season and four in the Greyhounds’ first five this year. His previous best of two goals came in the season-opener at the University of Virginia.

Fletcher’s defensive honor is his second in three weeks. Against Duke, he picked up seven ground balls, helping the Greyhounds win the possession battle, and he caused a turnover. He had primary man marking responsibilities for the Blue Devils’ Jordan Wolf. The All-American entered the game leading Duke with 12 goals and five assists, but Fletcher held him to one goal.

Runkel earned his third-straight Goalkeeper of the Week honor, making nine saves against the Blue Devils while yielding just seven goals. Over the Greyhounds’ last four games, wins against Towson, Holy Cross, Lehigh and Duke, the senior from Fairfield, Conn., has directed the defense in allowing only 20 goals while he has been on the field.

Loyola steps back into Patriot League play this weekend when it hosts the U.S. Military Academy at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, at Ridley Athletic Complex.

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Sawyer, Pontrello combine for 11 goals as Loyola doubles up Duke

Posted on 09 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Sawyer, Pontrello Combine For 11 Goals As MLAX Downs No. 4 Duke

BALTIMORE – Matt Sawyer scored a career-high six goals, and Nikko Pontrello added five, as No. 5 Loyola University Maryland defeated fourth-ranked Duke University, 14-7, in front of 3,912 fans at Ridley Athletic Complex and a national television audience on CBS Sports Network Sunday night.

The Greyhounds (5-1 overall) trailed, 4-3, after the first quarter, but they scored 11 of the final 14 goals in the victory.

Sawyer scored three of his goals during a 5-0 Loyola run that started the second quarter, and his four in the first half matched half of his eight career goals entering the game. Pontrello scored in each quarter and had the first two of the third quarter.

Jordan Wolf’s goal with 2:50 left in the first quarter gave Duke (4-2) a 4-3 advantage that it would hold for the remainder of the period, but Sawyer face-dodged a defender and came free down the left alley to score his second of the game 56 ticks into the second quarter.

That goal sparked five unanswered goals that would stretch into a 7-1 Greyhounds run.

Pontrello backed down a defender on the left side of the crease and scored from close in to put Loyola in front, ultimately for good. Sawyer scored just under four minutes later, recording his second man-up goal of the night off a Justin Ward assist, and Brian Schultz was the recipient of a Ward cross-field pass at 8:14, and the senior ripped a hard shot inside the opposite post.

Ward’s assist on the Schultz goal was the 85th of his collegiate career, moving him into first-place in Loyola’s NCAA Division I history (since 1982) and passing the previous best by Jim Blanding. Ward fiished the game with five points on a goal and four assists.

Schultz’s goal at 8:14 made it a 7-4 Loyola advantage, and Sawyer tacked on another goal, unassisted after a long dodge to push the lead to four with 2:49 left in the first half.

Christian Walsh snapped Duke’s scoreless stretch at 16 minutes, 18 seconds, hitting a high-to-low shot from 12 yards out off a Dionne assist, bring the Blue Devils within three, 8-5, at halftime.

Loyola started the third quarter two men up after three penalties were called on a Duke player, and another was whistled on another. Pontrello tallied a goal for the Greyhounds on the extra-man opportunity at 13:14, his first of two-straight goals in the third quarter.

Duke got a goal back as Deemer Class scored on a Myles Jones assist with 4:14 left in the third quarter, but Loyola did not allow a Blue Devils goal for more than 11 minutes.

By that time, Sawyer, Pontrello and Ward had all scored in the fourth quarter, and Loyola was up 13-7 after Jones tallied one for the Blue Devils with 8:11 left.

Sawyer tacked on his sixth goal with 3:40 left in the game. It marked the second time this season that a Loyola player has scored six in a game (Pontrello at Holy Cross). It is also the second time a member of the Sawyer family has scored six against Duke at Ridley Athletic Complex. His older brother, three-time All-American Mike, tallied six goals and two assists in a 13-8 Loyola win on March 10, 2012.

Defensively, the Greyhounds held Duke’s two leading goal-scorers, Jordan Wolf (12 goals, 10 assists entering the game) and Dionne (12, 2) to one goal each.

Jack Runkel made nine saves on 16 shots on goal, while Loyola outshot the Blue Devils, 39-31.

Duke won 13-of-23 faceoffs in the game, but Loyola won the ground ball category, 35-34. Joe Fletcher led the Greyhounds with seven ground balls, while Pontrello, Runkel, Brian Sherlock, Graham Savio and Jason Crane each had three.

The Greyhounds move back into Patriot League play on Saturday, March 15, when they host the U.S. Military Academy at 1 p.m.

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Red hot Loyola welcomes Duke for Sunday night showdown

Posted on 08 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Duke Blue Devils

Sunday, March 9, 2014  |  6:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex | CBS Sports Network

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland returns to Ridley Athletic Complex to host a nationally televised game on Sunday, March 9, at 6 p.m., against Duke University.

The game features the last two NCAA Champions (Loyola 2012, Duke 2013).

The Greyhounds are fourth nationally in goals per game, averaging 15.25, and they are also fourth in scoring margin with a +7.0 mark in their five games.

Nikko Pontrello moved up to fifth in the nation in goals per game (3.75) after scoring four last Saturday at Lehigh.

Loyola has won its first two Patriot League games – at Holy Cross and Lehigh – by a combined score of 30-11.

Three Loyola players – Nikko Pontrello (offensive), Pat Laconi (defensive), and Jack Runkel (goalkeeper) – swept the Patriot League weekly awards on Monday following the win at Lehigh.

Loyola had used a 67-39 advantage in ground balls the past two Saturdays in wins over Holy Cross and Lehigh. Its 23-groundball advantage was the largest the Greyhounds have posted in Charley Toomey’s nine years as head coach, eclipsing a margin of 20 in 2008 against St. John’s.

Last Time Out

The Greyhounds moved to 2-0 in the Patriot League with a 14-7 victory over then-No. 14 Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday, March 1.

Kevin Ryan scored a career-high five goals, and Nikko Pontrello added four goals and an assist, in the win. Brian Schultz and Pat Laconi added one each.

Justin Ward posted his fifth multi-assist in as many games this season with four against the Mountain Hawks, while Jeff Chase recorded the first of his career with three.

After Loyola took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, Lehigh scored two in a row to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the second quarter. Pontrelllo, however, scored three unanswered, and Schultz added one before the end of the half, and the Greyhounds were up 7-3 going into halftime.

Lehigh opened the second-half scoring with a goal at 11:39, but Laconi, Ryan (twice) and Matt Sawyer scored in the third quarter to put Loyola up 10-4 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Jack Runkel posted a season-high 13 saves in goal for the Greyhounds, and Graham Savio won 15-of-24 at the face-off ‘X’, picking up six ground balls.

 

 

Turn On The Television

Sunday’s game will be broadcast live, nationally on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan will call the play-by-play, and Evan Washburn will handle the analysis of the action.

The game is one of four that will feature the Greyhounds on the network. Home games against Bucknell University and Johns Hopkins University, as well as the Greyhounds contest at Georgetown University, will air on the channel.

 

In The Polls

Loyola moved up in the polls following its win last week over then-No. 14 Lehigh. The Greyhounds are now fifth in both the USILA Coaches’ Poll and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls, and they are fourth in the Lacrosse Magazine rankings.

Duke enters the game ranked third in the in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine versions and fourth in the coaches’ poll.

 

Series History

Sunday will be the 27th meeting all-time between the Blue Devils and the Greyhounds, with Duke holding a 16-10 advantage in a series that dates back to 1946.

Including this year, the teams have played during the regular-season for 15-straight (since 2000). Twice during that span, 2008 and 2013, the teams have also met in NCAA Tournament action.

The Blue Devils won last year’s regular-season meeting, 9-8, outscoring Loyola 5-3 in the fourth quarter. Josh Offit’s goal with 12:26 left in regulation gave Duke its first lead since the second quarter, 6-5, but Sean O’Sullivan struck on an extra-man opportunity for Loyola, and the Greyhounds tied the game less than two minutes later. Offitt and Christian Walsh, however, scored back-to-back goals to put the Blue Devils in front for good.

The teams met again in the NCAA First Round, playing what would become to many the game of the year. Duke edged the Greyhounds, 12-11 in double-overtime. Case Mathias tied the game at 11-11 on a goal with 65 seconds left in regulation, and he scored the winner 2:20 into the second overtime.

Mathias led Duke with three goals, while Zach Herreweyers scored three for Loyola, and Justin Ward had five assists.

Duke had won five-straight over Loyola and eight of nine, before the Greyhounds defeated the Blue Devils, 13-8, on March 10, 2012, in Baltimore.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all five of its games this season, and it has had four stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have nine runs of 3-0 or better. Here is a look at their four best scoring stretches:

Opponent Run Time Covered   Opponent Run Time Covered
at Holy Cross 14-0 38:58   Towson 10-0 16:38
at Virginia 9-0 14:18   Towson 7-0 18:37

 

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello had his fifth multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Saturday when he scored a pair four goals at Lehigh. The game came a week after he set a career-high with six goals at Holy Cross. The junior attacker scored twice in the opener against Virginia, and he then recorded three versus both Penn State and Towson. His final goal against the Nittany Lions came 19 seconds into overtime and lifted Loyola to a 12-11 win. In his career, Loyola is now 7-0 in games that he scored three or more goals.

Pontrello leads the Greyhounds with 19 goals and 24 points through four games. He has already eclipsed his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.

He leads the Patriot League and is fifth nationally in goals per game (3.8), while he is second and 11th in points per game (4.8).

 

Ryan Racks Up Goals

Kevin Ryan has tied his previous, or set new career-highs in each of the Greyhounds’ last three games, bringing his season total to 11. The senior midfielder posted a pair of goals against Towson to match his previous best, and he then set a new high with three at Holy Cross.

Ryan broke that mark with a five-goal game at Lehigh last Saturday, scoring four in the second half to help push the Greyhounds to a 14-7 win. Loyola is 4-0 all-time when Ryan scored two or more goals.

 

Ward Playing The Role

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out nine combined assists in the last two contests. He is fourth in the nation, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.0 assists per game this year.

Ward is in his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhound after earning USILA All-America Honorable Mention last year after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

With four assists at Lehigh, Ward moved past into second place in Loyola’s Division I history with 82. He is two assists back of Jim Blanding for first place. Ward is also 17th in school Division I history in total points with 125.

 

Midfield Scoring

Entering the 2014 season, Loyola was looking to replace five of its top seven offensive midfielders from a year ago, a group that included All-American Davis Butts, as well as first middies Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan. As a group, the five contributed 47 goals, 29 assists and 76 points, right at 25 percent of the Greyhounds total in each.

This year, Loyola’s first and second midfield units have scored nearly 47 percent of the team’s goals, a total of 35. Kevin Ryan has scored eight goals in the last two games and is second on the team with 11 total. Tyler Albrecht is third on the squad with eight goals, while Brian Sherlock has six goals and four assists.

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .662 mark, saving 45 out of 68 shots on goal he’s faced. In the last three games against Towson, Holy Cross and Lehigh, Runkel made 33 saves and allowed just 12 goals (.733).

The senior goalkeeper, who earned 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament honors, has a goals against average of 7.62 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .585 through five games.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.93 goals against average and .551 saves percentage. His record between the pipes is 31-6. He is tied with Penn State’s Austin Kaut for second in wins among active goalkeepers. Runkel and Kaut trail Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 39 victories. Both Kaut and Amato, however, are four-year starters, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on March 3 after matching his career-high with two goals at Lehigh.

The senior, who is a team co-captain and Preseason All-American, also scored twice against Towson, and his four goals match his total from a year ago when he scored four times and assisted on six. Laconi also is second on the team with seven caused turnovers this season.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has parlayed his opportunity into a solid start to the season. Through five games, Schultz has scored nine goals, third most on the team, and six assisted, second behind team-leader Justin Ward.

Entering this season, Schultz had seen most of his playing time on extra-man opportunities for the Greyhounds. As a sophomore and junior, he posted a combined three goals and five assists.

 

Hot Hand

Steve Vaikness, Loyola’s volunteer assistant coach lauded by many in the media as the top faceoff teacher in the nation, has pulled the right strings in the first five games with a faceoff group of Blake Burkhart, Brendan Donovan and Graham Savio.

In the Virginia game, Savio came in to win 11-of-18 restarts, and Donovan then provided wins in 4-of-7 during a critical stretch at Penn State. Burkhart shined against Towson, winning 10-of-14 as Loyola jumped out to a big lead. It was Savio again at Holy Cross, as the freshman won 14-of-18 draws.

Savio then took all of the faceoffs at Lehigh, winning a career-high 15-of-24.

As a unit, Loyola is winning 53.8 percent of faceoffs, up from last year’s mark of 46.5.

 

Fletch, White And Blue

Senior defender Joe Fletcher was the long current collegiate player selected as part of one of 52 players who made up the United States Men’s National Team training roster this fall, and the day before Loyola’s season-opener, he found out he is one of 30 players who made the cut for the team that will compete at the 2014 World Cup in Denver.

Against Holy Cross, Fletcher set a career-high with eight ground balls, eclipsing his previous total of seven set on three different occasions. In a pair of games against Towson and the Crusaders, he had 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers. This season, the Preseason All-American is second on Loyola with 18 ground balls, and he leads the squad with 10 caused turnovers. His 55 career caused turnovers are third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

 

Tyler’s Time

As a freshman in 2013, Tyler Albrecht saw limited action for the Greyhounds, mostly coming off the wings on faceoffs and occasional offensive midfield shifts. His role has changed dramatically in his second season, and the Canadian midfielder is making the most of it.

Albrecht is a starter on Loyola’s first midfield with Matt Sawyer and Brian Sherlock, and he has three multi-goal games in five outings this year. Albrecht scored twice in the season-opener at Virginia, and he recorded hat tricks with three each against Penn State and Towson. He is third on the team with eight goals.

In addition to his offensive work, Albrecht has continued to be a two-way middie, playing on the wings for faceoffs and defensive shifts. He had five ground balls and two caused turnovers against Towson.

 

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair

Two of Loyola’s senior co-captains were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List when it was released last week. Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were among the 50 players nationally to receive recognition.

They were also two of 20 players nationally to be named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award that seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom and who have used their platforms as student-athletes to make positive impacts in the community.

 

Margin In Two

As Loyola outscored Towson and Holy Cross by a combined 28 goals, 36-8, it took a bit of time to find precedent for the last time the Greyhounds won back-to-back games by such a margin. The last time Loyola won two by 28 or more goals goes back to the Dave Cottle-coached 1996 team that beat Saint Joseph’s, 26-6, on April 10 and C.W. Post, 17-5, on April 13. That combined margin of victory was 32 goals, 43-11.

The last time Loyola scored a combined 36 goals in consecutive games was 2007 when it tallied 19 against Fairfield on April 21 and 17 versus Hobart a week later. The last time the Greyhounds yielded eight or fewer in back-to-back outings was 2001 when they beat Radford, 18-5, on April 11, and Butler, 12-3, on April 14.

 

Patriot League Honors

Loyola players have earned seven Patriot League weekly awards over the last two weeks. Nikko Pontrello (Offensive) and Jack Runkel (Goalkeeper) won their second awards in as many weeks on Monday, March 3, while Pat Laconi (Defensive, March 3), Joe Fletcher (Defensive, February 24) and Brian Sherlock (Rookie, February 24) also were honored.

Romar Dennis won the initial Rookie of the Week Award this year after scoring twice in the season-opener at Virginia.

 

Up Next

The Greyhounds step back into Patriot League play on Saturday, March 15, when they host the U.S. Military Academy at Ridley Athletic Complex in a 1 p.m. game.

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Loyola F Rassman named Academic All-Patriot League

Posted on 04 March 2014 by WNST Staff

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Loyola University Maryland sophomore forward Franz Rassman (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga College H.S.) was one of five players named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team on Tuesday, an honor reserved for the players in the conference who best combine on the court accomplishments and classroom achievement.

Rassman started 29-of-30 games for the Greyhounds who finished their season last night in the Patriot League Championships First Round, and he played some of his best basketball at the end of the regular-season.

Last Wednesday against College of the Holy Cross, Rassman scored a career-high 15 points, making 6-of-7 shots from the field. It not take long for him to equal that output as he scored 15 again on Saturday, hitting 7-of-9 field goals, in a win at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Rassman also grabbed seven rebounds against the Midshipmen, a number he equaled last night against Lafayette College.

He finished the year averaging 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game.

In the classroom, the business major has a grade-point average of better than 3.9, and last month he was named to the Capital One Academic All-America District II Team.

American University’s Jesse Reed, Bucknell University’s Brian Fitzpatrick, and Lafayette’s Seth Hinrichs and Joey Ptasinski joined Rassman on the Academic All-Patriot League team. Reed was named the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 04 March 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-ACC Tournament: Maryland vs. Georgia Tech/Virginia/Boston College (Friday 8pm from Greensboro, NC live on Comcast SportsNet); Boxing: Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo (Saturday 9pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime PPV); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC Fight Night-Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa (Saturday 3pm from London live on UFC Fight Pass); Tennis: ATP Tour WTA Tour BNP Paribas Open (Thursday-Monday 2pm from Indian Wells, CA live on Tennis Channel)

10. Jim Breuer (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Amy Schumer (Thursday 8pm Stephens Hall Towson University); Tony Woods (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Saturday Sandy Point State Park); 300: Rise of an Empire“, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” out in theaters (Friday); 12 Years a Slave” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Matthew McConaughey won an Academy Award. Which means we can’t be far from Jim Breuer getting his.

Also Amy Schumer returns to her alma mater. She’s a really polite gal-you should introduce her to your mom.

9. Juicy J (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Stir Fried feat. John Popper/Cara Kelly & The Tall Tale (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Stephen Kellogg (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Schoolboy Q (Friday 8pm & 11pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Vertical Horizon/Tonic/Dishwalla (Wednesday 7:30pm Howard Theatre); Bob Mould (Wednesday 7:30pm 9:30 Club); Bear Hands (Tuesday 8:30pm DC9); J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Tuesday 6:30pm U Street Music Hall); Lorde (Friday 8pm Echostage), David Guetta (Saturday & Sunday 9pm Echostage); Moody Blues (Monday 8pm Strathmore); Pharrell Williams “G I R L”, Drive-By Truckers “English Oceans” and Rick Ross “Mastermind” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Have you thought about the fact that John Popper has been in your life for two decades now?

Yes, I still smile when I hear a Vertical Horizon tune. So sue me.

I’ve been playing the Bear Hands tune a lot as a rejoiner on the show recently. You know it from the times you’ve emailed to say “what’s the name of that song?”

J. Roddy is amazing. You should probably already know that.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Maryland new #1; Loyola, Hopkins join them in Top 5 of new lacrosse rankings

Posted on 03 March 2014 by WNST Staff

The area’s top college lacrosse teams had another great weekend. The University of Maryland handled previously #1 ranked Duke with relative ease Saturday, winning 10-6 at Byrd Stadium. Johns Hopkins went on the road and handed Princeton their first loss, a 15-9 final. And Loyola continued their red hot play by going on the road and topping Lehigh 14-7.

As a result, all three teams moved up in the new weekly lacrosse rankings announced Monday. The Terps are the new Number 1 team in the country according to both polls, both other teams have joined them in the top five in both polls.

First, the new Inside Lacrosse media poll, courtesy of NCAA.com.

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Maryland (21) 4-0 458 2
2 Virginia (1) 6-0 433 4
3 Duke (1) 4-1 397 1
4 Johns Hopkins 4-0 387 7
5 Loyola (Md.) 4-1 357 8
6 Notre Dame 2-1 334 11
7 Penn State 3-1 315 10
8 North Carolina 3-1 311 3
9 Syracuse 2-2 243 6
10 Massachusetts 4-0 238 13
11 Yale 2-0 237 12
12 Denver 3-2 216 5
13 Penn 2-1 188 20
14 Princeton 2-1 180 9
15 Cornell 3-0 145 15
16 Lehigh 4-1 114 14
17 Albany 1-2 74 17
18 Drexel 2-2 71 16
19 Ohio State 1-3 27 19
20 St. John’s 2-1 25 NR

And the new USILA Coaches’ Poll, also courtesy of NCAA.com.

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Maryland (14) 4-0 298 3
2 Virginia (1) 6-0 282 4
3 Johns Hopkins 4-0 262 5
4 Duke 4-1 250 1
5 Loyola (Md.) 4-1 230 7
6 North Carolina 3-1 218 2
7 Penn State 3-1 205 9
8 Notre Dame 2-1 202 11
9 Massachusetts 4-0 174 13
10 Yale 2-0 146 12
11 Syracuse 2-2 140 8
12 Denver 3-2 135 6
13 Princeton 2-1 117 10
14 Penn 2-1 115 20
15 Cornell 3-0 72 16
16 Lehigh 4-1 69 14
17 Drexel 2-2 57 15
18 Albany 1-2 51 18
19 St. John’s 2-1 23 NR
20 Army 3-1 20 NR

 

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Loyola’s Laconi, Pontrello, Runkel honored by Patriot League

Posted on 03 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Laconi, Pontrello, Runkel Receive Patriot League Weekly Honors

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Three Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse players – short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi (defensive), attacker Nikko Pontrello (offensive) and Jack Runkel (goalkeeper) – earned weekly awards from the Patriot League on Monday after the Greyhounds defeated then-No. 14 Lehigh University, 14-7, on Saturday afternoon.

Pontrello and Runkel earned their honors for the second week in a row, while Laconi is the second Greyhound in as many weeks to receive the Defensive Player of the Week honor, following in the footsteps of fellow co-captain Joe Fletcher.

Laconi scored a pair of goals in the game at Lehigh, matching his career-high set just over a week before in a game against Towson Unviersity. He also caused a turnover and was part of a Loyola defense that held Lehigh to 29 shots and only 20 on goal.

Pontrello recorded his fifth multi-point outing in as many games this year and his fourth in a row with three or more goals. The junior attacker scored four goals, all in the first half, including three in a row during a second quarter that saw Loyola outscore the Mountain Hawks, 4-0. He has scored 19 goals this season, already eclipsing his previous seasonal best of 16 from last year. His 3.8 goals per game are best in the Patriot League and fifth in the NCAA.

Runkel was tabbed with the weekly goalkeeper honor for the second consecutive time after making 13 saves and allowing just seven Lehigh goals on Saturday. In Loyola’s last three games, Runkel has yielded only 12 goals to Towson, Holy Cross and Lehigh. He has played to a 7.81 goals against average and a .585 saves percentage.

Loyola, which moved up to No. 5 nationally in the USILA Coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls and fourth in the Lacrosse Magazine rankings, hosts No. 4 Duke University at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, in a game that will air nationally on CBS Sports Network.

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