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Former Loyola star Fletcher named Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of Year

Posted on 09 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher Named Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete Of Year

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse All-American Joe Fletcher was named the Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an award voted on by conference member schools that honors the top performer in the classroom and competition.

The award is presented annually to one male and one female Patriot League student-athlete. Those who are named Scholar-Athletes of the Year in their respective sports – as Fletcher was in men’s lacrosse – are eligible for the honor. Boston University outdoor track and field standout Allison Barwise received this year’s female award.

“Joe is the definition of a true student-athlete, and we are so proud of him for this honor and the many other he has received throughout his distinguished career,” said Jim Paquette, Loyola’s assistant vice president and director of athletics. “Joe was a leader in every facet of his life at Loyola – in the classroom, locker room, community and on the field – and he will be the same in the business world as he starts his career.”

Fletcher, who received the William C. Schmeisser Award as the nation’s top defender, was a two-time First Team All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. He also earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honors this season and was the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The defender wrapped up his tenure at Loyola last month by graduating with a bachelor of business administration in accounting degree, posting a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in his final semester to finish with a 3.835 mark in his college classwork. This summer, he started his full-time job as a risk analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In May, Fletcher was named one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top player, in the process becoming just the second close defender in the award’s 14-year history to be a finalist. Last month, he was the first Greyhounds men’s lacrosse player in program history to earn Capital One Academic All-America® presented by CoSIDA honors when he was named to the At-Large second team.

On the field, he was a three-time USILA All-American, earning honorable mention in 2012 in addition to first team laurels each of the last two seasons, the 2013 ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year, a USILA Scholar All-American and a finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award.

He was the consensus top defender throughout the season and was equally good as a lockdown cover defender and groundball player. He led all NCAA Division I players in ground balls per game (4.71) and total ground balls (80). He also caused a career-high 31 turnovers. In 17 games this season, the players Fletcher had primary marking responsibilities for scored just 19 goals, several coming when he was already out of the game late in contests.

Fletcher was also a member of the 30-man U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Team that trained for the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships that will take place next week in Denver. He was the lone collegian to be a member of the 52-man training squad and the 30-man team.

Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Fletcher was the third overall draft pick in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft – the highest a Loyola player had ever been selected – by the New York Lizards. In seven games with the Lizards, Fletcher has 18 ground balls, and he was selected as the MLL Warrior Defensive Player of the Week after his first game.

In April, Fletcher received Loyola’s John R. Mohler Award as the athletic department’s top male senior student-athlete. He was a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 student leaders who meet regularly and serve as liaisons to the University’s president, administration and board of trustees. Fletcher served as the co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as well, in 2013-2014.

He earned five Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors throughout the year, something that had never been done in conference history.

Over the course of his career, Fletcher collected 191 ground balls and caused 76 turnovers. His caused turnover total is third-most all-time at Loyola and the most by a close defender.

This is the third-straight year, and fourth time in five years, a men’s lacrosse student-athlete has won the Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor. The U.S. Military Academy’s Brendan Buckley earned the award in 2012 and 2013, and fellow cadet Andrew Masisano was honored in 2010. Prior to 2010, a men’s lacrosse player had never won the honor.

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Loyola/Johns Hopkins to resume lacrosse series in 2016

Posted on 17 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola-Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse Series To Resume in 2016

BALTIMORE – The head men’s lacrosse coaches Loyola University Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, Charley Toomey and Dave Pietramala, announced that the two schools will not play a regular-season game during 2015, but the series will resume in 2016.

With both programs joining new conferences over the past year – Loyola began play in the Patriot League in 2014, and Johns Hopkins will be a member of the Big Ten starting next year – the traditional late-season date on which the teams have played was not an option.

The teams will play a scrimmage at Johns Hopkins on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, and will then meet in the 2016 season in a game to be played at Loyola’s Ridley Athletic Complex.

“We are disappointed that we will not be playing during the regular-season in 2015, but we are certainly looking forward to picking back up in 2016,” said Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey. “Playing this game on a Saturday was something that was very important to both programs, and I am pleased that we have been able to do that going forward. Our scrimmage against Johns Hopkins in 2015 is going to be a great way for our team to prepare for tough early-season games against Virginia and Penn State.”

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Loyola defender Fletcher named Academic All-American

Posted on 05 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher Named To Capital One Academic All-America Team

BALTIMORE – Joe Fletcher added another Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse first to his resume today, becoming the first student-athlete in program history to earn Capital One Academic All-America® presented by CoSIDA honors when he was named to the At-Large second team.

The defender wrapped up his tenure at Loyola last month by graduating with a bachelor of business administration in accounting degree, posting a perfect 4.0 grade point average in his final semester to finish with a 3.835 mark in his college classwork.

Fletcher was one of 15 student-athletes selected to the At-Large second team and one of four lacrosse players overall selected to the three teams. Syracuse University’s Kevin Rice joined him on the second team, while Villanova University’s John LoCascio and Duke University’s Jordan Wolf were members of the third team.

The at-large team for the Capital One Academic All-America® program includes the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis, water polo for both men and women; and bowling, rowing and field hockey for women; and volleyball and wrestling for men.

Last month, Fletcher became he first player in school history to earn a positional player of the year award from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association; he was named the 2014 recipient of the William C. Schmeisser Award as the nation’s top defender.

A three-time USILA All-American and two-time member of the first team, Fletcher was also one of five finalists for the 2014 Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top player. He was just the second close defenseman to be among the five finalists in the 14-year history of the honor.

He was the consensus top defender throughout the season and was equally good as a lockdown cover defender and groundball player. He led all NCAA Division I players in ground balls per game (4.71) and total ground balls (80). He also caused a career-high 31 turnovers. In 17 games this season, the players Fletcher had primary marking responsibilities for scored just 19 goals, several coming when he was already out of the game late in contests.

Fletcher is a member of the 30-man United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team from which the roster for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships will be chosen. He was the only collegiate player on that list, and he was the lone current collegian in the 52-man training pool.

As good as he has been on the field for the Greyhounds, Fletcher has been equally outstanding in the classroom and community. He was named the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Scholar All-American, and he will start a job this summer for Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

In April, Fletcher received Loyola’s John R. Mohler Award as the athletic department’s top male senior student-athlete. He was a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 student leaders who meet regularly and serve as liaisons to the University’s president, administration and board of trustees. Fletcher served as the co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as well, in 2013-2014.In addition to his academic and All-America honors, Fletcher was also named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Patriot League First Team, and he was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, as well.

He earned five Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors throughout the year, something that has never been done in conference history.

Over the course of his career, Fletcher collected 191 ground balls and caused 76 turnovers. His caused turnover total is third-most all-time at Loyola and the most by a close defender.

Prior to the season, he was the third-overall draft pick in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft by the New York Lizards. He made his professional debut in May and promptly won Warrior Defensive Player of the Week honors after his first game.

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Loyola’s Fletcher named nation’s top defender

Posted on 23 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher Named Nation’s Most Outstanding Defender

BALTIMORE – Friday morning brought another first for Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse courtesy of Joe Fletcher (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesse H.S.). The senior defender became the first player in program history to win one of the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s major awards, as he was earned the William C. Schmeisser Award Outstanding Defensive Player.

Fletcher, who on Thursday was named to the USILA All-America First Team for the second year in a row, is also a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award. He is the second defender in the 14-year history of that honor to be named one of the five finalists.

He was the consensus top defender throughout the season and was equally good as a lockdown cover defender and groundball player. He led all NCAA Division I players in ground balls per game (4.71) and total ground balls (80). He also caused a career-high 31 turnovers. In 17 games this season, the players Fletcher had primary marking responsibilities for scored just 19 goals, several coming when he was already out of the game late in contests.

“Joe Fletcher has been a tremendous representative of our men’s lacrosse program and Loyola University Maryland, “ said Charley Toomey, the Greyhounds’ head coach. “As a player, a student and a person, Joe is a role model for younger players, and this is a great honor to recognize his play.”

Fletcher is a member of the 30-man United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team from which the roster for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships will be chosen. He was the only collegiate player on that list, and he was the lone current collegian in the 52-man training pool.

As good as he has been on the field for the Greyhounds, Fletcher has been equally outstanding in the classroom and community. He was named the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Scholar All-American. He also earned Capital One Academic All-District I At-Large honors and graduated last weekend with a 3.81 grade point average to earn his bachelor of business administration in accounting; he will start a job this summer for Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

In addition to his academic and All-America honors, Fletcher was also named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Patriot League First Team. He is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, as well.

Last month, Fletcher received Loyola’s John R. Mohler Award as the athletic department’s top male senior student-athlete. He is also a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 student leaders who meet regularly and serve as liaisons to the University’s president, administration and board of trustees. Fletcher served as the co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as well, in 2013-2014.

He earned five Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors throughout the year, something that has never been done in conference history.

Over the course of his career, Fletcher collected 191 ground balls and caused 76 turnovers. His caused turnover total is third-most all-time at Loyola and the most by a close defender.

Prior to the season, he was the third-overall draft pick in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft by the New York Lizards. He made his professional debut last weekend and promptly won Warrior Defensive Player of the Week honors after his first game.

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Five Loyola lacrosse players earn USILA All-America honors

Posted on 22 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Five Loyola Men’s Lacrosse Players Earn USILA All-America Honors

BALTIMORE – Joe Fletcher became Loyola University Maryland’s first men’s lacrosse player to earn U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-America First Team honors in back-to-back years since 1998-99 on Thursday, and the senior close defender was joined on the All-America teams by four of his Greyhounds teammates.

Senior short-stick midfielder Pat Laconi, senior goalkeeper Jack Runkel and senior attacker Justin Ward all were named to the Second Team, and junior attacker Nikko Pontrello earned Honorable Mention.

Fletcher is the first player to be a repeat First Team All-American at Loyola since midfielder Mark Frye accomplished the honor in 1998 and 1999. It is also the first time in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982) that the Greyhounds have placed four players on the first and second teams. The only other time in program history that happened was in 1981 when four were named to the First Team.

Fletcher is also one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top player; with that recognition, he became just the second player in the 14-year history of the award to be named a finalist as a close defender. He leads all close defensemen nationally in ground balls (80) and ground balls per game (4.71), and he also set a career-high with 31 caused turnovers.

The All-America honors add to an already crowded shelf of awards Fletcher has earned this year. He was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year, to the Capital One Academic All-District I At Large Team and to the USILA Scholar All-America Team.

He played in all 65 games that Loyola has played the last four years, starting 53. In those contests, he picked up 191 ground balls and caused 76 turnovers, the third-most in school history and most by a Greyhounds close defenseman. Additionally, Fletcher was whistled for just five penalties and only two of the one-minute variety over his time on the field.

Laconi solidified his reputation as one of the top cover short-stick defensive midfielders and transition players this year, posting career-highs in goals (11), ground balls (31) and caused turnovers (34). The only short-stick defensive midfielder to be named to the First or Second Team this season, he 34 caused turnovers and 2.0 per game mark rank eighth nationally and tops amongst all non-pole defenders in Division I.

He also more than doubled his goal-scoring total from his first three seasons at Loyola (five) this year. An All-Patriot League First Team performer and USILA Scholar All-American, Laconi played in all 65 games for Loyola over the last four seasons and finished with 89 ground balls, 75 caused turnovers, 16 goals and 12 assists. His caused turnover total is the most by a Loyola short-stick player and fourth-most in school history.

Runkel saved his best collegiate season for his senior year, as he posted excellent performances between the pipes. The Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year is third in NCAA Division I in goals against average (7.20) and saves percentage (.611) while making a career-high 181 saves in the cage.

The first Loyola goalkeeper to earn First or Second Team All-America honors since Tim McGeeney was recognized on the Second Team in 1995, Runkel posted 10 or more saves on 10 occasions this year and had a season-high of 19 against the U.S. Military Academy. Runkel was named the Patriot League Championships Most Valuable Player after stopping 27 shots in the two games, 15 in the title game against Lehigh University. Over his four years at Loyola, three as a starter, Runkel compiled a 42-7 record as the goalkeeper of record for the Greyhounds. He had a goals against average of 7.71 and a .569 career save percentage.

Ward was a three-year starter on attack as the Greyhounds’ offensive quarterback, and he has his most statistically productive season in 2014. He shattered Loyola’s Division I single-season and career records for assists this year, passing out 53 assists to better the 1994 mark of 38 by Sean Heffernan. An Honorable Mention All-American in 2013, Ward also tied Eric Lusby’s 2012 record for points in a season, totaling 71 this year. His 3.12 assists per game this year rank second in Division I.

His career assist total finished at 120, breaking the school Division I mark by 36. He eclipsed the total of 84 that Jim Blanding recorded from 1989-92. This year, Ward was the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and USILA Scholar All-American after recording two or more assists in 16 of Loyola’s 17 games. He tallied three or more for a 12-game stretch, as well during the year.

Pontrello burst into the nation’s lacrosse consciousness with one of the top goal-scoring seasons in school history. After scoring 20 goals in his first two seasons at Loyola, he finished with 51 this year, the third-most in school single-season history. He also had 12 assists for a total of 63 points, the sixth-most in school single-season history, and his 3.0 goals per game this season rank fifth nationally.

After scoring a combined five goals in the Greyhounds’ first two games of the season at the University of Virginia and Penn State University, Pontrello combined for 19 in a four-game stretch that included five in a 14-7 win over Duke University. An All-Patriot League First Team honoree, he scored two or more goals in Loyola’s first 10 games of the year, had multiple goals in 15-of-17 outings and at least one goal in 16 contests.

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Loyola’s Ryan, Runkel to play in North-South All-Star Game

Posted on 20 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Ryan, Runkel To Play In North-South All-Star Game

BALTIMORE – A pair of Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse players earned who their bachelor’s degrees last Saturday will play in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association North-South All-Star Game.

Midfielder Kevin Ryan and goalkeeper Jack Runkel will play for the South team in the game that will be played at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday, May 26, at 10 a.m.

Ryan and Runkel both earned All-Patriot League honors this year, the former picking up second team recognition, while the latter was named to the first. Runkel was also named the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year and the Patriot League Championships Most Valuable Player.

The 2014 season saw Ryan post career-high numbers as a member of the Greyhounds’ midfield. The senior from Mountain Lakes, N.J., was third on the team with 24 goals and fifth with 28 points. He also was tied for team-high honors with six extra-man goals.

Ryan had three hat trick and seven multi-goal games during the season with a career-best five goals coming on March 1 at Lehigh University.

Runkel was one of the top goalkeepers in the nation this season and won a record five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors during the season. The native of Fairfield, Conn., is third in Division I in save percentage (.611) and goals against average (7.20) this year.

He had a season-high 19 saves on March 15 against the U.S. Military Academy, and later in the year, he posted 27 saves in the Greyhounds two wins to claim the Patriot League Championship. He made 12 stops against Colgate University in the semifinals and 15 versus Lehigh in the title contest.

Runkel finished his career with 479 saves, fourth-most in school Division I history, and he posted  a career-record of 42-7 in three seasons as the Greyhounds’ starter between the pipes.

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Loyola captains Fletcher, Laconi, Ward pick up scholar All-America honors

Posted on 20 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Captains Trio Earns USILA Scholar All-America Honors

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland’s three men’s lacrosse co-captains – defender Joe Fletcher, short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi and attacker Justin Ward – were today named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Scholar All-America Team.

Loyola and Duke University were the only two NCAA Division I programs to have three or more players honored as Scholar All-Americans. The Blue Devils led the nation with three honorees.

The three seniors were all All-Patriot League First Team players and led the Greyhounds to a 15-2 record and six-week stay at No. 1 in the nation this season.

Each of the student-athletes is in the top two of a major statistical category this season, and all graduated with bachelor of business administration degrees last Saturday. Laconi tops all non-pole players nationally in caused turnovers per game, while Fletcher leads all close defenders in ground balls per game. Ward is second in the nation in assists per game.

Laconi has been one of the top cover short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation since coming to Loyola. This year, he led the team with 34 caused turnovers, and his 2.0 per game are eighth overall in Division I, tops amongst short-sticks.

He also scored a career-best 11 goals this year and finished his career with 16 goals and 12 assists. His 75 career caused turnovers rank fourth all-time at Loyola.

Ward, the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, led the Greyhounds in points for the second year in a row and during the season, he shattered Loyola’s Division I career and season records for assists. He finished his senior campaign with 18 goals and 53 assists for 71 points; his points total tied Eric Lusby’s 2012 mark for most points by a Loyola Division I player in a season.

Ward’s 53 assists in 2014 broke the previous record by 15, and his 3.12 per game rank second in Division I this year. He completed his Loyola career with 57 goals and 120 assists, shattering Loyola’s Division I career assists record by 36, and his 177 points rank sixth in school Division I history.

Fletcher is a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award and is the second defender in the honor’s 14-year history to be named one of the final five. This year, he set career-highs with 80 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers with his 4.71 ground balls per game ranking first among close defenders.

Last week, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District I Team, and he was also honored as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The three, who were housemates off the field, will soon begin their professional lacrosse careers. Fletcher was the No. 3 overall pick by the New York Lizards in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft, while Laconi and Ward were selected ninth and 23rd overall, both by the Charlotte Hounds.

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Loyola defenseman Fletcher picks up Academic All-District honor

Posted on 15 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher Earns Capital One Academic All-District Honors

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland senior defender Joe Fletcher (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesse H.S.) added another honor to his resume on Thursday when he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District II At-Large Team.

The 13 members of the All-District II team were voted on by members of CoSIDA, the College Sports Information Director of America, and were culled from nominees in the men’s sports of fencing, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, water polo and wrestling. District II is comprised of NCAA Division I schools in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The top defender in the nation this year, Fletcher has excelled on the field and in the classroom. He entered his senior year with a 3.81 grade point average and will graduate on Saturday with a bachelor of business administration in accounting. He will start a full-time job this summer with Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Last week, Fletcher was named one of five finalists for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top lacrosse player. In the process, he became just the second close defender to be tabbed a finalist in the honor’s 14-year history.

Fletcher is a member of the 30-man United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team from which the roster for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships will be chosen. He was the only collegiate player on that list, and he was the lone current collegian in the 52-man training pool.

This season, he was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year, to the All-Patriot League First Team, the Patriot League All-Tournament Team and as a finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award. Before the season started, he was the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft, and he will soon begin play for the New York Lizards.

Fletcher leads all close defensemen nationally in ground balls (80) and ground balls per game (4.71) while causing 31 turnovers. During the year, he was a five-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week, something that had never been done by a player in conference history.

Last month, Fletcher received Loyola’s John R. Mohler Award as the athletic department’s top male senior student-athlete. He is also a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 student leaders who meet regularly and serve as liaisons to the University’s president, administration and board of trustees. Fletcher served as the co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as well, in 2013-2014.

Over the course of his career, Fletcher collected 191 ground balls and caused 76 turnovers. He is a two-time USILA All-American (first team in 2013, honorable mention in 2012), the 2013 ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year and three-time all-conference honoree.

Fletcher will now be on the ballot for Capital One Academic All-America honors.

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Loyola can’t handle Thompsons, Albany in season closing defeat

Posted on 11 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Great Danes Deal Men’s Lacrosse 13-6 Defeat In NCAA First Round

BALTIMORE – The University at Albany jumped out to a 5-1 lead midway through the second quarter, and top-ranked and third-seeded Loyola University Maryland could not climb back to closer than two, and the Great Danes snapped the Greyhounds’ 15-game winning streak with a 13-6 victory to advance to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals on Saturday.

Albany’s Lyle Thompson became the NCAA’s all-time leader in single-season points, passing UMBC’s Steve Marohl with a goal 13:55 into the game. He finished with three goals and five assists, while his brother, Miles, tallied five goals and two assists.

After Lyle Thompson scored on the game’s first possession, Loyola had a good look at the cage, but Justin Ward hit the post at 10:55. The Great Danes came up with the ground ball, and the teams traded turnovers before Miles Thompson score dhis 75th goal of the year at 8:31.

Less than a minute after that, Loyola’s Romar Dennis hit the crossbar twice with hard shots, but Pat Laconi broke through with a transition goal for the Greyhounds at 2:49.

Loyola (15-2 overall) got the ball back on the restart, but the Greyhounds committed one of their 16 turnovers and Jon Newhouse tallied a transition goal for the Great Danes (12-5) to make it 3-1.

Miles Thompson scored twice more off Lyle Thompson assists at 12:14 and 6:51 in the second quarter before Dennis dodges at the top left, switch hands and stuck a high shot for a goal at 6:25.

The Greyhounds got the ensuing faceoff, and Nikko Pontrello took the ball behind, rolled the crease and scored low to pull Loyola within a pair, 5-3, 13 ticks after Dennis’ goal.

That was, however, as close as Loyola would get for the remainder of the game as Miles Thompson scored at 2:30, and Lyle Thompson added one with just over seven seconds left in the first half to put Albany up 7-3 at the break.

The Great Danes scored the first two goals of the second half to lead 9-3 before Laconi scored his second of the game, matching his career-high.

Ward tallied the first of his two goals with barely two seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the Albany lead to four entering the final period.

Three-straight goal from the Great Danes, however, sealed their first-round win. They had two 3-0 runs and a 4-0 stretch in the game marking the first time since February that a team has posted three-straight or better on the Greyhounds more than once in a game.

Loyola won the ground-ball battle, 39-35, on the strength of Graham Savio’s 15 faceoff wins and eight ground balls, but its 16 turnovers led to eight of Albany’s 13 goals.

The Great Danes will meet the winner of the University of Notre Dame and Harvard University in next Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Loyola’s season finished with a 15-2 record. The Greyhounds had won 15-straight games since falling in overtime on February 6 to the University of Virginia in the season-opener.

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Loyola opens NCAA Tournament Saturday against Albany

Posted on 10 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Albany Great Danes

Saturday, May 10, 2014  |  12:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex | ESPNU


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland will host its sixth-straight home game on Saturday, May 10, when the University at Albany visits Ridley Athletic Complex for a 12 p.m. game in the NCAA First Round.

The Greyhounds are making their first appearance in as many years in the NCAA Championships.

Saturday’s game will mark Loyola’s 22nd appearance in the NCAA Championships, 20th at the NCAA Division I level (since 1982).

The game will be the second NCAA men’s lacrosse contest to be played at RIdley Athletic Complex in the facility’s five-year history.

Joe Fletcher leads all close defenders nationally in ground balls (76) and ground balls per game (4.75).

Pat Laconi is tops among NCAA Division I non-pole players in caused turnovers (32) and caused turnovers per game (2.0).

Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello entered the week ranked second and fourth in assists and goals per game, respectively, in the NCAA at 3.31 and 3.13.

Jack Runkel is second in goals against avg. (6.91), third in saves percentage (.620).


Last Time Out

Johns Hopkins scored three times in the first four minutes, two seconds of last Saturday’s game, but Loyola outscored the Blue Jays, 13-5, over the course of the next 45-plus minutes.

Back-to-back Brian Schultz goals early in the fourth quarter put Loyola in front by five, and the Greyhounds ended up with a 13-10 victory in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Rob Guida bookended a Brandon Benn transition goal with two in the first five minuted, but Brian Sherlock put the Greyhounds on the board at 10:34, and Matt Sawyer scored on extra-man 21 ticks of the clock later.

Jeff Chase scored the first of his two second-quarter goals to put Loyola in front for the first time at 8:49, and after two ties thereafter, Brian Sherlock scored his second of the day to put the Greyhounds on top for good.

Graham Savio won 17-of-26 faceoffs, picked up a career-best 12 ground balls and scored his first career goal, four seconds after Sherlock’s second.

Nikko Pontrello and Sherlock each scored three, and Justin Ward had four assists.

Pat Laconi caused four turnovers.

 

Turn On The Television

The Greyhounds will make their seventh appearance of the season on national television when they take the field on Saturday. It will be the first on the ESPN family of networks.

Joe Beninati will call the play-by-play, while Paul Carcaterra handles analysis duties.

 

In The Polls

After its win over Johns Hopkins, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the seventh 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.

 

NCAA Championships History

Loyola is making its 22nd all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 20th in Division I history (since 1982). The Greyhounds are 12-20 all-time in the tournament, 12-18 at the Division I level.

Last year, the Greyhounds played in the NCAA First Round at No. 8 seed Duke University in a game that was touted by many to be the best in collegiate lacrosse of 2013. The Blue Devils rallied to send the game to overtime, and Case Mathias scored the game-winner in the second extra frame for a 12-11 Duke win that helped send the Blue Devils on to the national title.

The Greyhounds won the first NCAA Division I Championship, in any sport, in 2012, when they defeated Maryland, 9-3, on Memorial Day. The win completed an 18-1 season for the Greyhounds in which they tied the NCAA Division I record for wins in a season, matching the 18-2 Duke team from 2008. Loyola entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and defeated Canisius, Denver and Notre Dame en route to the title game.

 

Series History

The Greyhounds and Great Danes will meet for the second time when they step onto the field Saturday, both coming in NCAA First Round action. Albany hosted Loyola on May 13, 2007, and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 19-10 win.

Dan Kallaugher won 27-of-33 faceoffs for Loyola and picked up 19 ground balls. His 27 wins are tied for seventh-most in NCAA single-game history and second-most in an NCAA Tournament game.

Andrew Spack, Paul Richards and Shane Koppens all scored twice in the game for Loyola, but Merrick Thomson tallied five for the Great Danes.

 

Streaking On Campus

Loyola’s 15-game winning streak – the Greyhounds have not lost since falling in overtime on February 6 in the season-opener at the University of Virginia – is the longest in school history.

Previously, Greyhounds teams in 2012 and 1998 held the longest winning streak in program history with 12-straight wins. Loyola’s 15-1 start is also tied for the best in school history through 16 games, matching that of the 2012 squad.

 

Alum Coaches

Led by Loyola’s staff with Head Coach Charley Toomey ’91, Assistant Coach Matt Dwan ’95 and Director of Operations P.T. Ricci ’09, there are eight Loyola alums on coaching staffs of teams in the NCAA Division I Championships.

The list includes: Richmond assistants Steve Layne ’10 and Paul Richards ’07, Air Force’s Bill Wilson ’94, Notre Dame volunteer assistant Kevin Anderson ’93 and Virginia volunteer assistant Tim McDermott MBA ’07.

 

All-League Awards

Three Loyola players earned individual awards when the Patriot League honors were announced last month. 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.

 

Tournament Honors

Jack Runkel was then named the Patriot League Championships Most Valuable Player, and he was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Joe Fletcher, Justin Ward and Brian Schultz.

Runkel made 15 saves in the title game against Lehigh after posting 12 in the semifinal versus Colgate. Fletcher finished with 11 ground balls and eight caused turnovers, five of the latter tying her career-high in the Colgate game. Ward distributed seven assists and scored three goals, and Schultz tallied six goals and assisted on three.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 69 occasions. After defeating Johns Hopkins, 13-10, on Saturday, Loyola has won 82.6 percent of those games (57-12).

 

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 44-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 15-1 this season) for a .863 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .933 this season is the best nationally.

Duke and Loyola have both won 44 games during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly nine percent (44-13, .772).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through the end of the regular-season in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is third in Division I with 50 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 53 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 131 combined points (Ward, 69; Pontrello, 62). Albany’s Lyle (114) and Miles (108) have a combined 222.

Goalkeeper Jack Runkel is also near the top of statistical rankings for his position. He is second in goals against average (6.91) and saves percentage (.620).

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher not only leads Loyola in ground balls, total (76) and per game (4.75), 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 tops all non-pole defenders nationally in caused turnovers and caused turnovers per game. With four against Johns Hopkins, he has caused 32 this season while averaging 2.0 per game. He enters the Albany game 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 53 assists in 16 games. In the Patriot League Championship Game against Lehigh, Ward became the conference’s single-season assist leader, passing Bucknell University’s David Dickson who had 48 in 2013.

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 (53), and he is also second in the country, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.31 assists per game this year. The 45 assists are tied for second in Patriot League history, three 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 120 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 170, five away from tying Gewas Schindler (1996-99) for fifth place. His 69 points this season are tied for third in school single-season history, two away from matching Eric Lusby’s 2012 school-record total.

Of his 53 assists this year, 31 have gone to his fellow attack players. More than half of Brian Schultz’s 36 goals (19-of-36) have come off Ward assists, continuing a trend from when the pair were club teammates with the Maryland Roughriders. Nikko Pontrello has tallied 12 of his team-high 50 from Ward helpers, and Ward has also assisted on 11 of the Greyhounds’ 23 extra-man goals 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.

 

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.

As of the end of the regular-season, Pontrello is third nationally with 50 goals after recording three each in the Patriot League Championship Game against Lehigh and against Johns Hopkins.

Pontrello is the fourth player in school single-season history to score 50 or more goals in a year, joining Eric Lusby (54, 2012), Mike Sawyer (52, 2012) and Tim Goettelmann (50, 2000).

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, Bucknell and Lehigh in the Patriot League title game. He has now scored two or more in 14 of 16 games this year.

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.

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .642 mark, saving 167 out of 260 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 earned a record five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors this year and was named the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year. He has a goals against average of 6.91 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .620 through 16 games. He is second in the nation in goals against average and third in saves percentage.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.63 goals against average and .573 saves percentage. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 42-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 46 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 16 goals in 16 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). Six 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 is second on the team in ground balls (76) and caused turnovers (28). His 73 career caused turnovers are tied for third all-time with fellow captain Pat Laconi at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

 

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 in settled offense against Johns Hopkins to bring his season total to nine goals and three assists and his career numbers to 14 and 12.

Laconi caused a career-high five turnovers against Bucknell and four versus Johns Hopkins. His team-leading 32 caused turnovers are tops on the team this season have brought his career total to 69, tied for third-most in school history.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 36 goals, second-most on the team through 16 games, and his 14 assists are also second. 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.

With a career-high six goals against Bucknell on April 17, four versus Colgate in the Patriot League Semifinal, a pair in the title game versus Lehigh and three versus Johns Hopkins, Schultz scored 15 goals, to go with four assists, in Loyola’s last four games.

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.

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

The Greyhounds entered the final of the regular-season as the only team to be in the top five of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (13.31) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.13) are second. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.19).

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 16 of its games this season, and it has had six stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 31 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

 

On the flip side, Loyola’s opponents have made runs of 3-0 or better just seven times this year. Virginia and Penn State did it twice each in the first two games of the year, Army and Georgetown did it in back-to-back games in March and Johns Hopkins did it to open last Saturday’s game.

 

Quarter Or More Scoreless

Loyola has held opponents scoreless for 15 or more minutes on 18 occasions this season (chart on left). Six times, the Greyhounds have posted shutout streaks of better than 30 minutes of clock time.

The longest Loyola has held a team without a goal this season is 47 minutes, 13 seconds, in the February 22 game at Holy Cross.

The Greyhounds have played just two games this year – at Penn State and at Colgate – in which they have not held opponents scoreless for 15 or more minutes at a time.

Opponents have held Loyola without a goal for stretches of 15 or more minutes three (at Virginia, at Georgetown, at Navy). Only Virginia did so for more than 17 minutes. The Cavaliers went on an 8-0 run over 31:23, holding the Greyhounds scoreless in the second and third quarters before Loyola reeled off nine-straight in the fourth.

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

Loyola is one of three schools (along with Duke) to have three players named Tewaaraton Award nominees. Joe Fletcher, Nikko Pontrello and Justin Ward are semifinalists for the honor of college lacrosse’s top player.

Fletcher and Ward are also two of 10 players nationally to be named finalists for the Senior CLASS Award that honors seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom.

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