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Loyola battles Colgate in Patriot League semis Friday

Posted on 24 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Colgate Raiders

Friday, April 25, 2014  |  4:30 p.m.

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland will host the Patriot League Championships at Ridley Athletic Complex, beginning with the semifinals on Friday, April 25.

The top-seeded Greyhounds will play fourth-seeded Colgate University in the first semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The game will be followed by a semifinal between the U.S. Military Academy, the No. 2 seed and No. 3 Lehigh University at 7:30 p.m.

Colgate beat No. 5 seed Bucknell University, 10-9, in double-overtime on Tuesday, and Lehigh topped the No. 6 seed U.S. Naval Academy, 10-6.

Semifinal winners will meet in the title game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 27.

Loyola went 8-0 to win the Patriot League Regular-Season title.

Joe Fletcher leads all close defenders nationally in ground balls (61) and ground balls per game (4.69). In 13 games, the players Fletcher has been responsible for marking have scored 11 goals (several when Fletcher has been out of the game late in regulation).

Pat Laconi is tops among NCAA Division I non-pole players in caused turnovers (27) and caused turnovers per game (2.08).

 

Last Time Out

Brian Schultz scored a career-high six goals and matched his best with seven points last Thursday as the top-ranked Greyhounds defeated Bucknell University, 13-5.

Schultz logged his third career hat trick and an assist in the game’s first 25 minutes, and he added three more goals in the second half.

Nikko Pontrello added three goals and an assist, while Justin Ward scored once and assisted on three.

The teams played more than half of the first quarter without a goal, but Schultz took a Ward feed and scored at 7:27. Ryan Joseph responded with a goal fro the Bison, but Schultz fed Matt Sawyer for an in-close goal at 4:47, starting a 7-0 Loyola run.

The Greyhounds held Bucknell without a goal for 37 minutes, 17 seconds, taking an 8-1 lead into the fourth quarter.

Loyola out-groundballed the Bison, 39-31, with Joe Fletcher leading the way with seven. Graham Savio picked up five while winning 13-of-20 faceoffs, and Kyle Duffy had four.

Pat Laconi caused a career-high five turnovers, while Jason Crane and Schultz each caused two.

 

Turn On The Television

All three games in the Patriot League Championships 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 at least five that will feature the Greyhounds on the network. The  entire Patriot League Championships, as well as game against Johns Hopkins University on May 3will be broadcast live. Loyola’s games versus Duke University, at Georgetown University and against Bucknell University were also on the network.

 

In The Polls

With last Thursday’s win against Bucknell, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the fifth week in a row.

The Greyhounds have been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last three seasons. This stretch is the longest Loyola has been ranked first since spending nine-straight at the top from March 15-May 10, 1999.

 

Series History

Loyola and Colgate met for the first time earlier this year in Hamilton, N.Y., a game that was a 10-8 decision in the Greyhounds’ favor. The Raiders led 5-4 with 12:14 left in the third quarter before Loyola went on a 4-0 run that gave them an 8-5 advantage after goals by Jeff Chase, Justin Ward (two) and Nikko Pontrello.

Colgate pulled back within one on a Matt Clarkson strike with 13:33 left, but Matt Sawyer used a Ward feed to score from 10 yards out with 4:05 for the final margin.

Ward had a game-high five points with two goals and three assists, while Pontrello chipped in three goals and an assist. Clarkson scored three goals for Colgate.

 

All-League Awards

Three Loyola players earned individual awards on Monday when the Patriot League honors were announced. Joe Fletcher was named Defensive Player of the Year, Jack Runkel Goalkeeper of the Year and Justin Ward Offensive Player of the Year.

The trio was also named to the All-Patriot League First Team along with teammates Pat Laconi, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Sherlock. Kevin Ryan was named to the Second Team. Loyola’s seven All-League players were the most by any team this season.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 66 occasions. After defeating Bucknell, 13-5, on Thursday, Loyola has won 81.8 percent of those games (54-12).

 

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 41-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 12-1 this season) for a .854 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .923 this season is the best nationally.

Only Duke has won more games (43) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by more than seven percent (43-12, .782).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through games of Monday, April 21, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is second in Division I with 43 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 42 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 107 combined points (Ward, 55; Pontrello, 52). Albany’s Lyle (80) and Miles (77) have a combined 157.

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher not only leads Loyola in ground balls, total (61) and per game (4.69), this season, but more impressive than that, he paces all close defenders nationally in the categories. Fletcher is 46th overall in ground balls per game, while the 45 players who are ahead of him are either face-off specialists or long-stick midfielders who play on the wings during restarts.

 

And Short-Sticks, Too

Meanwhile, Pat Laconi leads all non-pole defenders nationally in caused turnovers and caused turnovers per game. With a career-high five against Bucknell, he has caused 27 this season while averaging 2.08 per game. He is eighth in the nation, and the seven players ahead of him in the rankings are all long-stick midfielders or close defenders.

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 43 assists in 13 games. With his third and final assist on April 12 against Boston University, Ward passed Sean Heffernan for first-place in school single-season history at the Division I level.

He is second in the nation in total assists (42), and he is also second in the country and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.23 assists per game this year. The 42 assists are tied for fourth in Patriot League history, six shy of matching Bucknell’s David Dickson’s record of 48 from a year ago.

With four assists against Duke on March 9, Ward set Loyola’s career Division I record (since 1982) in total assists, eclipsing the mark of 83 set from 1989-92 by Jim Blanding. His three at Colgate gave him 100 for his career, making him the second player in program history ever to reach the century mark.

Ward now has 109 career assists. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also sixth in school Division I history in total points with 161, 19 away from tying Gewas Schindler (1996-99) for fifth place.

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.

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello was held without a goal for the first time this season on April 5 against Navy, snapping a streak of 10-straight games to start the season that Pontrello had two or more goals. He rebounded, however, with three goals and two assists versus Boston University and three goals and an assist versus Bucknell. Through games of Monday, April 21, Pontrello is third in the nation in total goals with 43.

He scored two in the season-opener at Virginia and then had three each against Penn State and Towson before scoring a career-high six goals at Holy Cross. He then tallied four at Lehigh, five against Duke, three at Georgetown, five versus Lafayette and three against Colgate, Boston University and Bucknell.

Two of his goals have been game-winners in one-goal contests. Pontrello scored 19 seconds into overtime to give Loyola a 12-11 win at Penn State, and he then tallied one with 51.4 seconds left in regulation to push the Greyhounds past Georgetown, 10-9.

He leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in goals per game (3.31), while he is third and 17th in points per game (4.00).

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .647 mark, saving 132 out of 204 shots on goal he’s faced. In a six-game stretch  against Towson, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Duke and Army, Runkel made 61 saves and allowed just 26 goals (.701).

The senior goalkeeper has earned a record five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors this year and has a goals against average of 6.86 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .619 through 13 games. He is second in the nation in saves percentage and third in goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.67 goals against average and .567 saves percentage. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 39-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 43 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 lone 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.

He later had 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.

Versus Colgate, Fletcher was matched up against Ryan Walsh, and he held the Raiders’ leading scorer without a goal or assist for the first time in his career, a total of 42 prior games. He then marked Navy’s T.J. Hanzsche, holding him without a point for the first time in 15 games. He then snapped the 41-game point-scoring streak of Bucknell’s David Dickson on April 17, holding him without a shot.

In all, the players Fletcher has had primary marking responsibilities for have tallied 11 goals in 13 games this year (including three each by the University of Virginia’s Mark Cockerton and Penn State University’s Shane Sturgis in the season’s first two games). Four of those goals have come when Fletcher was already out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Fletcher has been named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week five times this year, the most any player in conference history has earned the award. He leads the Greyhounds with 61 ground balls and caused turnovers (19). His 64 career caused turnovers are fourth all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci, 88 of Scott Ratliff and Pat Laconi’s 68.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Pat Laconi has continued to show his versatility as one of the top short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation while being a player with offensive acumen. The Preseason All-American had a goal against Bucknell to bring his season total to eight goals and three assists and his career numbers to 13 and 12.

Laconi posted four ground balls, matching his career-high, and three caused turnovers at Colgate, the final of each coming with less than 25 seconds remaining to help seal the win. He caused another three turnovers a week later at Navy and then had a career-high five against Bucknell. His team-leading 27 caused turnovers are tops a this season have brought his career total to 68, third-most in school history.

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.69 through 13 contests. The Greyhounds have committed 0.98 fewer turnovers per game than the second-place team in the nation, Princeton.

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

The Greyhounds is the only team to be in the top five of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (13.23) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.00) are third. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.23).

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 13 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 22 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   Lafayette 12-0 26:53
Towson 10-0 16:38   at Virginia 9-0 14:18

 

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 27 goals, second-most on the team through 13 games. He had the game-winning goal 12 seconds into the second overtime at Navy and less than two weeks later posted a career-best six goals in a win over Bucknell.

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

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

Two of Loyola’s senior co-captains were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List when it was released in February. Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were among the 50 players nationally to receive recognition in February. Additionally, junior attacker Nikko Pontrello was added to the Watch List on March 20.

 

Fletcher and Ward 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. Earlier this month, they were selected as two of the award’s 10 finalists for this year.

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Loyola’s defender Fletcher named Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Posted on 23 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher Earns Patriot League MLAX’s Top Academic Honor

 

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Two days after being named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Loyola University Maryland senior defender Joe Fletcher was named the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year for his work on the field and in the classroom.

 

He was also one of 12 players named to the Patriot League All-Academic Team along with senior classmates Kyle Duffy and Justin Ward.

 

Fletcher brought a 3.812 grade point average into his senior season, and his performance on the field has been just as strong. He leads all close defensemen nationally in ground balls (61) and ground balls per game (4.69), and his matchups have scored just 11 combined goals in 13 games this year.

 

He will graduate next month with a bachelor of business administration in accounting degree before moving on to a full-time job with PricewaterhouseCoopers this summer.

 

On the field, Fletcher has helped the Greyhounds’ defense rank third in the nation in goals allowed per game (7.0). He has 19 caused turnovers, and his 64 during his career rank fourth in school history.

 

Fletcher earned his record fifth Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honor earlier this, tying Loyola senior goalkeeper Jack Runkel for the most by any player in a single season in League history. The 2013 USILA All-America First Team member has also solidified his reputation as a lock-down defender having not allowed a goal in one-versus-one defense in over a month.

 

Last Thursday, Fletcher shut down Bucknell University’s David Dickson, holding him without a point after Dickson entered the game with at least one goal or assist in 41-straight games. Fletcher, who was the 2013 ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year, too, also shut down Colgate University’s Ryan Walsh on March 29 after Walsh had scored in 42 consecutive, and he then held the U.S. Naval Academy’s T.J. Hanzsche without a point on April 5. Hanzsche had a point in 15 in a row.

 

Fletcher is also a finalist for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award and is on the Tewaaraton Award Watch along with Ward. He is the co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 students who serve as liaisons to Loyola’s president, administration and board of trustees.

 

Duffy has been a key member of Loyola’s rope unit as a short-stick defensive midfielder since coming to the Evergreen campus. He has a 3.617 grade point average, and with Fletcher he is a member of Loyola’s Sellinger Scholars program in the business school. Duffy will begin work for Deutsche Bank in London and New York City this summer.

 

He will graduate with a bachelor of business administration in finance with a minor in mathematics. On the field, he has 23 ground balls this season while scoring a goal and assisting on two in transition.

 

Ward was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year on Monday and with Fletcher is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award and is on the Tewaaraton Award watch list. Ward leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in assists (42) and assists per game (3.23). His assist total is tops all-time in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982), and it ranks fourth in Patriot League single-season history.

 

Earlier this season, Ward became the first player in school Division I history, and the second overall, to record 100 career assists; he has 109 career helpers entering the Patriot League Championships. In the classroom, Ward has a 3.216 grade point average and will graduate with a bachelor of business administration in finance next month.

 

Duffy, Fletcher and Ward will lead the top-ranked Greyhounds onto the field at Ridley Athletic Complex this weekend as they host the Patriot League Championships. Loyola will play fourth-seeded Colgate University at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25, in a game televised live by CBS Sports Network.

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New York prospect Walker signs NLI with Loyola

Posted on 23 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Andre Walker Of NYC’s Christ The King Signs NLI With Men’s Hoops

BALTIMORE – Less than a month after leading Christ the King High School to the its second-straight New York State Federation Tournament of Champions title, Andre Walker signed a national letter of intent to play men’s basketball at Loyola University Maryland.

Walker, who scored a game-high 25 points and earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors, joins Chancellor Barnard (Columbia, Md./Glenelg Country School), Colton Bishop (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day School) and Cam Gregory (Waldorf, Md./St. Stephens and St. Agnes School) to form the Greyhounds’ Class of 2018.

“We are excited about Andre joining our program,” said Loyola Head Coach G.G. Smith. “He comes from an outstanding high school program with a great winning tradition, and he as a huge part of their winning the last two state Federation titles. Andre will be a factor for us at both guard spots, and he complements what we think is an excellent Class of 2018.”

The 6-foot guard scored 13 of his points in the third quarter and went 7-of-10 overall from the field, 3-of-3 from 3-point range and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line against Long Island Lutheran High School.

As a senior for the Royals, Walker earned Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) All-League honors while helping Christ the King win back-to-back state crowns in addition to CHSAA Division AA titles.

The Westbury, N.Y., native came to Christ the King prior to his junior year in 2012-2013 after spending his first two seasons at St. Anthony’s High School on Long Island where he was a two-year starter for the Friars. Walker also played two years of football for St. Anthony’s.

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Loyola still tops, no change for Maryland or Hopkins in weekly lacrosse polls

Posted on 22 April 2014 by WNST Staff

There was very little movement atop this week’s new major college lacrosse polls.

Locally, Loyola claimed their 12th straight win this past Thursday night with a 13-5 thrashing of Bucknell. Johns Hopkins held off Navy in a defensive battle Friday night in Annapolis, claiming a 6-5 victory. Maryland wrapped up the ACC regular season title  by topping Notre Dame 12-8 in South Bend.

Here is a look at the new weekly college lacrosse polls (courtesy of NCAA.com), starting with the Inside Lacrosse media poll…

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Loyola (Md.) (15) 12-1 433 1
2 Duke (7) 12-2 425 2
3 Denver 11-2 391 3
4 Syracuse 9-3 370 4
5 Johns Hopkins 9-3 339 5
6 North Carolina 10-3 333 6
7 Maryland 10-2 324 7
8 Penn 7-3 264 9
9 Notre Dame 6-5 243 8
10 Virginia 9-5 242 10
11 Hofstra 10-3 232 11
12 Cornell 10-3 212 12
13 Yale 8-3 191 13
14 Army 9-3 119 16
15 Bryant 11-3 117 15
16 Drexel 9-4 98 18
17 Fairfield 10-3 89 17
18 Lehigh 11-4 63 19
19 Harvard 8-5 62 NR
20 Princeton 7-5 33 14

And the new USILA Coaches’ Poll…

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Loyola (Md.) (11) 12-1 239 1
2 Duke (1) 12-2 229 2
3 Denver 11-2 213 3
4 Syracuse 9-3 200 4
5 Maryland 10-2 194 5
6 North Carolina 10-3 176 7
7 Johns Hopkins 9-3 169 6
8 Virginia 9-5 145 9
9 Notre Dame 6-5 142 8
10 Penn 7-3 130 10
11 Cornell 10-3 115 T12
12 Hofstra 10-3 106 T12
13 Yale 8-3 104 11
14 Fairfield 10-3 63 15
15 Army 9-3 56 16
T16 Harvard 8-5 55 20
T16 Drexel 9-4 55 T18
18 Lehigh 11-4 40 17
19 Princeton 7-5 33 14
20 Bryant 11-3 29 T18

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 21 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Avondale, LA), LPGA Tour Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (Thursday-Saturday 6:30pm Sunday 7pm from San Francisco live on Golf Channel); MLS: FC Dallas @ DC United (Saturday 7pm RFK Stadium); Auto Racing: NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 (Saturday 7pm from Richmond live on FOX); Boxing: Keith Thurman vs. Julio Diaz (Saturday 9:30pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime); High School Basketball: Capital Classic (Saturday 7:30pm T.C. Williams High School)

10. Brian Regan (Friday & Saturday Warner Theatre); Ron White (Friday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Joe Rogan (Friday 8pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at The Hippodrome); Bill Bellamy (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore Green Week (Tuesday-Saturday throughout Charm City); The Gathering Food Trucks Rally (Friday Downtown Towson); Maryland Bacon Festival (Saturday 12pm Rash Field); “Brick Mansions” out in theaters (Friday)

This is a heart made out of bacon. This is wonderful.

These young ladies are wearing bacon. Did I mention bacon?

9. M3 Rock Festival feat. Tesla, Kix, Extreme, Sebastian Bach (Friday & Saturday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Ludacris (Friday 8pm Patriot Center); Lacuna Coil (Wednesday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Ani DiFranco (Saturday 9pm Rams Head Live); Musiq Soulchild (Tuesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Kindred the Family Soul (Friday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds (Thursday 8pm 8×10 Club); Edwin McCain (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Maceo Parker (Sunday 8:30pm Rams Head on Stage), Bret Michaels (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); The Used/Taking Back Sunday (Tuesday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Alabama Shakes (Friday & Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), Better Than Ezra (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club), Band of Skulls (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Nappy Roots (Sunday 8pm Howard Theatre); Johnnyswim (Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere); Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival feat. Jerry Douglas/Cris Jacobs (Saturday Druid Hill Park); Toadies (Sunday 8pm Black Cat); Ben Folds (Monday 8pm Lisner Auditorium); G. Love & Special Sauce “Sugar”, Keb Mo’ “Bluesamericana” and Neon Trees “Pop Psychology” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

From the last time Sister Sparrow was in town…and killing it.

I like to imagine I’m living my life within an Alabama Shakes tune. Because they’re excellent.

Nappy Roots are still around??!??!?!? Do you have any idea how many times I hit repeat on a Nappy Roots track in my life?

I think Allen McCallum and I may be headed to the Birchmere to see Johnnyswim. Because Johnnyswim is wonderful.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Loyola sweeps weekly Patriot League lacrosse honors

Posted on 21 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher, Runkel, Ward Earn Patriot League Year-End Honors

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Three Loyola University Maryland senior men’s lacrosse players were among seven to earn All-Patriot League honors on Monday, and they also received year-end Player of the Year awards from the League’s coaches.

Joe Fletcher was named the League’s Defensive Player of the Year, Jack Runkel the Goalkeeper of the Year and Justin Ward the Offensive Player of the Year. Fletcher, Runkel and Ward were all named to the All-Patriot League First Team along with Pat Laconi, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Sherlock. Kevin Ryan earned All-Patriot League Second Team recognition.

Loyola, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the USILA coaches, Warrior/Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine media polls, completed its first season in the Patriot League by winning the regular-season title with an 8-0 record. The Greyhounds will host the Patriot League Championships at Ridley Athletic Complex this weekend, beginning with the semifinals on Friday, April 25, and culminating with the title game on Sunday, April 27. Tickets are available for purchase at www.loyolagreyhounds.com/tickets.

The players have helped Loyola to a 12-1 record thus far in 2014. The Greyhounds are the only team in Division I to be ranked in the top five nationally in goals per game (5th, 13.23) and fewest goals allowed (3rd, 7.00). They are tops in the nation in scoring margin (+6.23) and fewest turnovers per contest (10.69).

Fletcher earned his record fifth Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honor earlier Monday, tying Runkel for the most by any player in a single season in League history. The 2013 USILA All-America First Team member leads NCAA Division I close defenders in ground balls (61) and ground balls per game (4.69) through 13 contests. He has also solidified his reputation as a lock-down defender having not allowed a goal in one-versus-one defense in over a month.

Last Thursday, Fletcher shut down Bucknell University’s David Dickson, holding him without a point after Dickson entered the game with at least one goal or assist in 41-straight games. Fletcher, who was the 2013 ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year, also shut down Colgate University’s Ryan Walsh on March 29 after Walsh had scored in 42 consecutive, and he then held the U.S. Naval Academy’s T.J. Hanzsche without a point on April 5. Hanzsche had a point in 15 in a row.

Runkel has been a standout between the pipes for the Greyhounds, posting a 6.86 goals against average this year while making saves on 61.9 percent of shots on goal he has faced. The senior, who was named to the 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team along with Fletcher, led the League in save percengage (68.6) in conference games while posting the second-best goals against average in League play (5.74).

He earned five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors, including four straight during the middle of the year, and he has won 43 games since becoming the Greyhounds’ starter early in the 2012 season.

Ward, who has two or more assists in all 13 of Loyola’s games this year, has again quarterbacked the Greyhounds’ offense, helping Loyola lead the conference and rank in the top five nationally in every major offensive statistical category. This season, Ward became Loyola’s career assist leader at the Division I level (since 1982) and had 109 entering the Patriot League Championships. With 42 assists to go with 13 goals, he also has set the school single-season assist record for Division I players.

His assist total for 2014 is tied for fourth in Patriot League single-season history, and he is second in Division I in total assists and assists per game (3.23). Along with Fletcher, Ward is a finalist for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, and they are both on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award as the sport’s top player.

Laconi has been regarded as one of the top, if not the best, short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation. In his four years with the Greyhounds, Laconi has been a starter on the Greyhounds’ rope unit, and this year he has taken his statistical measures to a new level. He leads all non-pole players nationally in caused turnovers (27) and caused turnovers per game (2.08). He also has scored eight goals and has three assists to key the Greyhounds’ transition game.

Pontrello burst onto the nation scene in this his second season as a starter for the Greyhounds. After logging 16 goals and 19 assists while starting on attack and in the midfield last year for Loyola, Pontrello has scored two or more goals in all but one of Loyola’s 13 contests this season. Through games of Sunday, April 20, Pontrello is second in the nation in both goals (43) and goals per game (3.31).

Sherlock has made an immediate impact for Loyola in his first year after transferring from the University of North Carolina where he missed last season with an injury. The redshirt freshman has scored 14 goals and assisted on eight in the midfield for Loyola, and he also runs the wings on faceoffs and plays several shifts a game in the defensive midfield.

Ryan has led the Greyhounds’ second midfield unit throughout the year and is tied for the team lead in extra-man goals with five. He has posted 20 goals and four assists this season for Loyola, ranking third on the team in goals scored. The senior also ranks 11th in the nation in shooting percentage, converting 46.5 percent of his shots into goals.

The other major award winners in the Patriot League were Colgate goalkeeper Brandon Burke who is the Rookie of the Year (Sherlock was not eligible for the award as only players in their first year of college are eligible). The U.S. Military Academy’s Joe Alberici was named the William Lawson Coach of the Year.

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Loyola to play in first Patriot League semifinal Friday

Posted on 20 April 2014 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland will host the Patriot League Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Championships this week after winning both sports’ regular-season titles with 8-0 records.

Ridley Athletic Complex will serve as the backdrop for both Championships, starting with the women’s semifinals on Thursday, April 24. The top-seeded Greyhounds will host Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross or Lehigh University at 5 p.m. in the opening semifinal, while No. 2 seed U.S. Naval Academy will play Boston University, Colgate or Holy Cross at 7:30 p.m.

The semifinal winners will meet in the Championship Game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26.

Loyola’s men, which are ranked No. 1 in the nation, open their championship play on Friday, April 25, by hosting the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The Greyhounds will play Bucknell University, Colgate or Navy.

The U.S. Military Academy is the Championships’ No. 2 seed and will play in the second semifinal, starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Black Knights will face Bucknell, Colgate or Lehigh.

The Men’s Championship Game will be contested at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, and all three men’s games will air live on CBS Sports Network.

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Schultz scores six goals to lift Loyola past Bucknell

Posted on 18 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Schultz Scores Career-High Six As Men’s Lacrosse Beats Bucknell, 13-5

BALTIMORE – Brian Schultz scored a career-high six goals on just 10 shots, helping No. 1-ranked Loyola University Maryland defeat Bucknell University, 13-6, in the teams’ final Patriot League regular-season game of the year.

Schultz, who had a previous best of four goals earlier this season against Lafayette College, recorded a hat trick in the game’s first 25-plus minutes, helping Loyola take a 5-1 halftime lead.

He tallied another in the third, the final goal of a 7-0 Greyhounds run, and two in the fourth quarter.

The Loyola run, its 22nd of the season of 3-0 or better, started when slick passing led to a Matt Sawyer goal on the doorstep with 4:47left in the first quarter. Brian Sherlock sent a high-to-low pass from the top to Schultz on the right side. Schultz didn’t let the ball settle in his stick and immediate fed Sawyer on the crease for a goal that put Loyola up, 2-1.

Loyola’s defense played as big of a role in the run as its offense, as Bucknell missed on 20-straight shots and was shutout for a period of 37 minutes, 17 seconds.

Jack Runkel made 14 saves in goal for the Greyhounds (12-1 overall, 8-0 Patriot League), and Loyola forced 18 Bucknell (7-7, 4-4) turnovers. The Greyhounds caused 13 of the turnovers, led by a career-high five by Pat Laconi. Schultz and Jason Crane each had two for Loyola. Joe Fletcher led all players in the game with seven ground balls.

Fletcher also held the player he was defending, Bucknell’s David Dickson, without a point, snapping a streak of 41 games with at least one. It is the third time in four weeks that Fletcher has held an opponent without a point after he entered the game with a streak of 15 or more games (Colgate’s Ryan Walsh, 42; Navy’s T.J. Hanzsche, 15).

Schultz put Loyola on the board after more than seven minutes of scoreless lacrosse to start the game. Justin Ward, who had a goal and three assists, used a skip pass to find Schultz on the low right side, and Schultz finished with a nine-yard rip for a goal at 7:27.

Ryan Joseph, however, tied the game for Bucknell with a goal off Tom Black’s assist at 65 seconds later, but Sawyer’s goal at 4:47would put Loyola in front for good.

Nikko Pontrello fed Schultz from behind as Schultz was cutting to the middle of the field, and Schultz scored his second with 9:45 left in the first, and after a transition run, Kyle Duffy shot a cross-box pass from high-to-low to Pontrello who quickly shot low to score at 8:06.

Schultz completed his hat trick off another Ward assist at 4:54, sending Loyola into the locker room ahead by four.

Pontrello and Ward scored unassisted at 13:11 and 5:57 in the third quarter, and Tyler Albrecht fed Schultz for a goal from the right side at 5:22 to push Loyola’s lead to 8-1.

Peter Burke scored 55 seconds into the fourth quarter, snapping Bucknell’s scoreless drought, but Loyola responded with two quick goals.

Ward saw Sherlock make a diagonal cut, threw him a pass, and Sherlock used a right-handed sidearm shot to score at 13:07. Schultz was then the recipient of a Kevin Ryan pass for his fifth of the night with 11:00 left in regulation.

Two-straight goals by the Bison’s Sean Doyle, both unassisted tallies, pulled Bucknell within six with 7:56 left, but Schultz fired in his sixth at 7:28, rolling from behind and beating his defender to the crease.

Thomas Filbotte added a Bucknell goal at 3:34, but Laconi scored off Fletcher’s first career assist, and Pontrello used another dodge from behind to tally the game’s final goal.

Graham Savio had another efficient day at the faceoff ‘X’ for Loyola, winning 13-of-20 and picking up five ground balls. Loyola also used a 39-31 advantage in ground balls to control the possession game.

In addition to Fletcher’s game-high seven, Kyle Duffy had four ground balls, and Runkel, Crane and Fournier each had three.

The Greyhounds will have more than a week off to prepare for their next game, a Patriot League Championships semifinal on Friday, April 25. Loyola will host the Patriot League semifinals and championship game at Ridley Athletic Complex.

The Greyhounds will play Bucknell, Colgate University or the U.S. Naval Academy in a 4:30 p.m. semifinal that will be aired live on CBS Sports Network. Tickets for the championship weekend are available at http://loyo.la/PLmlax14.

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Loyola tries to continue win streak Thursday against Bucknell

Posted on 16 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Bucknell Bison

Thursday, April 17, 2014  |  7:00 p.m.

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland plays its second-straight home game on Thursday, April 17, when it closes its Patriot League regular-season schedule at 7 o’clock against Bucknell University.

The Greyhounds are 5-0 this season, and 23-7 all-time at Ridley Athletic Complex.

With its 15-6 win last Saturday against Boston University, the Greyhounds earned at least a share of the Patriot League Regular-Season title and secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Championships and will host the event on April 25 and 27.

Justin Ward became the program’s single-season assist leader at the Division I level. He has 39 through 12 games this season, tying for seventh-most in Patriot League single-season history.

Joe Fletcher leads all close defenders nationally in ground balls per game with 51 total and 4.6 per game.

Pat Laconi is the top non-pole player nationally in caused turnovers (22) and caused turnovers per game (1.83) through games of April 13.

Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello are both second nationally in assists (3.25) and goals per game (3.33), respectively.

 

Last Time Out

Nikko Pontrello and Kevin Ryan each had three-goal games, and Loyola clinched its first-ever Patriot League Regular-Season title last Saturday with a 15-6 victory over Boston University at Ridley Athletic Complex.

The Greyhounds led 4-1 at halftime, but Boston University got within two 1:04 into the second half before Loyola went on a 4-0 run that broke the game open.

Graham Savio won 17-of-25 faceoffs and had six ground balls in the game, as Loyola controlled the possession battle, picking up 47 ground balls to the Terriers’ 23.

Savio had a slim 4-of-7 advantage in the first half, but he then won 5-of-9 in the third quarter and 8-of-9 in the fourth.

In addition to his three goals, Pontrello had a five-point night with two assists, while Ryan had an assist, too. Brian Schultz scored twice and assisted on one, and Justin Ward recorded three assists against Boston University.

Five Greyhounds had five or more groundballs in the game, led by Savio’s six. Ward, Joe Fletcher, Ryan Fournier and Pat Laconi each picked up five.

 

Turn On The Television

Thursday’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 at least five that will feature the Greyhounds on the network. The  entire Patriot League Championships, as well as game against Johns Hopkins University on May 3will be broadcast life. Loyola’s games versus Duke University and at Georgetown University were also on the network.

 

In The Polls

With Saturday’s win against Boston University, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the fourth week in a row.

The Greyhounds have been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last three seasons, most recently in the first polls of the 2012 season. This stretch is the longest the Greyhounds have been ranked first since spending nine-straight at the top from March 15-May 10, 1999.

 

Series History

Loyola will play Bucknell for the fourth time in series history but the first since April 2, 1983 when the Greyhounds defeated the Bison, 15-8. Loyola is 3-0 all-time in the series that was played in 1981, 1982 and 1983; a fourth game was scheduled for the 1984 season, but it was postponed due to weather and not rescheduled.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 64 occasions. After defeating Boston University, 15-8, on Saturday, Loyola has won 81.5 percent of those games (53-12).

 

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 40-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 11-1 this season) for a .851 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .917 this season is the best nationally.

Only Duke has won more games (42) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by more than seven percent (42-12, .778).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through games of Monday, April 14, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is second in Division I with 40 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 39 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 99 combined points (Ward, 51; Pontrello, 48). Albany’s Lyle (73) and Miles (67) have a combined 140.

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher is second on Loyola in ground balls, total (54) and per game (4.50), this season, but more impressive than that, he paces all close defenders nationally in the categories. Fletcher is 46th overall in ground balls per game, while the 45 players who are ahead of him are either face-off specialists or long-stick midfielders who play on the wings during restarts.

 

And Short-Sticks, Too

Meanwhile, Pat Laconi leads all non-pole defenders nationally in caused turnovers and caused turnovers per game. He has caused 22 this season while averaging 1.83 per game. He is 13th in the nation, and the 12 players ahead of him in the rankings are all long-stick midfielders or close defenders.

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 39 assists in 12 games. With his third and final assist last Saturday against Boston University, Ward passed Sean Heffernan for first-place in school single-season history at the Division I level.

He is second in the nation in total assists (39), and he is also second in the country and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.25 assists per game this year.

With four assists against Duke on March 9, Ward set Loyola’s career Division I record (since 1982) in total assists, eclipsing the mark of 83 set from 1989-92 by Jim Blanding. His three at Colgate gave him 100 for his career, making him the second player in program history ever to record 100.

Ward now has 106 career assists. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also seventh in school Division I history in total points with 157, one away from tying John Carroll (1984-87) for sixth place.

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.

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello was held without a goal for the first time this season on April 5 against Navy, snapping a streak of 10-straight games to start the season that Pontrello had two or more goals. He rebounded, however, with three goals and two assists last Saturday versus Boston University. Through games of Monday, April 14, Pontrello is second in the nation in total goals with 40.

He scored two in the season-opener at Virginia and then had three each against Penn State and Towson before scoring a career-high six goals at Holy Cross. He then tallied four at Lehigh, five against Duke, three at Georgetown, five versus Lafayette and three against Colgate and Boston University.

Two of his goals have been game-winners in one-goal contests. Pontrello scored 19 seconds into overtime to give Loyola a 12-11 win at Penn State, and he then tallied one with 51.4 seconds left in regulation to push the Greyhounds past Georgetown, 10-9.

Pontrello leads the Greyhound and the Patriot League with 40 goals and is second behind Justin Ward for the team- and League-lead with 48 points through 12 games.

He leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in goals per game (3.33), while he is second and 14th in points per game (4.00).

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .638 mark, saving 118 out of 185 shots on goal he’s faced. In a six-game stretch  against Towson, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Duke and Army, Runkel made 61 saves and allowed just 26 goals (.701).

The senior goalkeeper, who earned 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament honors, has a goals against average of 7.02 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .608 through 12 games. He is third in the nation in both saves percentage and  goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.73 goals against average and .562 saves percentage; he is fifth in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982) with 419 career saves. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 38-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 42 victories. Amato (as of Monday), however, Amato is a four-year starter, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.

Runkel picked up his fourth-straight Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honor on March 17, becoming the first player in League history to win any of the weekly honors (Offensive, Defensive, Goalkeeper or Rookie) four-consecutive times. His honor on March 31 made him the first player in League history to earn five in a season.

 

Fletch, White And Blue

Senior defender Joe Fletcher was the lone 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 five different occasions. In a pair of games against Towson and the Crusaders, he had 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers.

He later had 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.

Versus Colgate, Fletcher was matched up against Ryan Walsh, and he held the Raiders’ leading scorer without a goal or assist for the first time in his career, a total of 42 prior games. He then marked Navy’s T.J. Hanzsche, holding him without a point for the first time in 15 games.

Fletcher has been named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week four times this year, the most any player in conference history has earned the award. He is second on the Greyhounds with 54 ground balls and caused turnovers (18). His 63 career caused turnovers are third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

As good of a match-up defender as Fletcher is, he is as good off the ground. He leads all close defenders nationally with 54 ground balls and 4.50 per game.

 

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, had a goal an assist versus Army, a goal at Georgetown and an assist versus Navy,  and one of each versus Boston University bringing his season totals to seven goals and three assists. He now has 12 goals and 12 assists in his four-year career.

Laconi posted four ground balls, matching his career-high, and three caused turnovers at Colgate, the final of each coming with less than 25 seconds remaining to help seal the win. He caused another three turnovers a week later at Navy. His team-leading 22 caused turnovers this season have brought his career total to 63, fourth-most in school history.

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.42 through 12 contests. The Greyhounds have committed 1.33 fewer turnovers per game than the second-place team in the nation, Towson, a team that committed 18 turnovers earlier this year against Loyola.

The Greyhounds also lead the nation in clearing percentage at .940.

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

The Greyhounds is the only team to be in the top five of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (13.25) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.17) are fourth. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.08).

While it is fourth nationally in scoring defense, Loyola is just third in the Patriot League in the category. Army (1st, 5.70) and Lehigh (2nd, 6.50) both rank ahead of the Greyhounds nationally.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 12 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 21 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   Lafayette 12-0 26:53
Towson 10-0 16:38   at Virginia 9-0 14:18

 

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 21 goals, second-most on the team through 12 games. He also had the game-winning goal 12 seconds into the second overtime at Navy.

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

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

Two of Loyola’s senior co-captains were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List when it was released in February. Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were among the 50 players nationally to receive recognition in February. Additionally, junior attacker Nikko Pontrello was added to the Watch List on March 20.

Fletcher and Ward 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. Earlier this month, they were selected as two of the award’s 10 finalists for this year.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 15 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: MLS-DC United @ Columbus Crew (Saturday 7:30pm from Columbus live on MLS Direct Kick); Tennis: ATP Tour Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (Tuesday-Friday 6am Saturday 7:30am Sunday 9am from Monte-Carlo live on Tennis Channel)

10. PEEPShow (Tuesday-Monday Carroll Arts Center); Spring Football Festival (Saturday 12pm McHenry Row); The Gathering: Food Trucks Rally (Friday Baltimore Museum of Industry); Baltimore Green Week (Saturday-Monday throughout Charm City); “Transcendence” out in theaters (Friday); Philomena“, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“, “The Nut Job” and “Ride Along” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Here’s your annual reminder that there’s only one thing that matters on Easter (despite the fact that Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and Staburst Jelly Beans are the vastly superior Easter candies)…

Yes, it’s Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict and it’s more important than anything else.

9. Pat Green (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Live), Alter Bridge (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Eric Hutchinson/Saints of Valory (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Charm City Devils (Saturday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Keller Williams (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); French Montana (Thursday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime (Saturday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Cloud Nothings (Wednesday 8pm Black Cat), Andrew WK (Saturday 9pm Black Cat); Stephen Marley (Thursday 7pm Lincoln Theatre); Local H (Saturday 6:30pm DC9); NEEDTOBREATHE “Rivers In The Wasteland”, Nas “Illmatic XX” and Sevendust “Time Travelers & Bonfires” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I enjoy the work of Eric Hutchinson, friends.

I also enjoy the work of Saints of Valory.

I’m not particularly witty this evening. I’m just going to say “Charm City Devils” and we can move forward.

And here’s a tune from the new NEEDTOBREATHE record. Let’s all move forward from here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n1oH9q4vgc

(Continued on Page 2…)

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