Tag Archive | "Nikko Pontrello"

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Ward, Pontrello lead way as Loyola tops Colgate

Posted on 29 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Ward, Pontrello Spark Offense As No. 1 Loyola Tops No. 17 Colgate

HAMILTON, N.Y. – Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello combined for five goals and nine total points, and top-ranked Loyola University Maryland defeated No. 17 Colgate University, 10-8, in Patriot League action on Saturday afternoon at Andy Kerr Stadium.

Ward scored two both of his goals in back-to-back fashion midway through the third quarter, and he had an assist on a 12-yard Matt Sawyer shot with 4:05 remaining that gave the Greyhounds (9-1, 5-0) a two-goal cushion.

Pontrello finished with three goals and an assist, scoring two of his in a span of two minutes, 42 seconds between the third and fourth quarters.

Loyola’s defense yielded 11 shots to the Raiders (7-3, 4-1) in the fourth quarter, but most came from 12 or more yards away. Goalkeeper Jack Runkel posted 12 saves in the victory, and the Greyhounds held Colgate’s leading scorer, Ryan Walsh, without a point for the first time in his career, a span of 42 prior games.

Pat Laconi had four ground balls and three caused turnovers, the last of each coming with less than 25 seconds to play, enabling the Greyhounds to run out the clock. Joe Fletcher had a team-best seven ground balls, and he had primary man-to-man marking responsibilities for Walsh.

The teams traded goals one-for-one in the first half with the Greyhounds never trailing, but Colgate tied the game at 4-4 heading into halftime as Kevin Boyle finished a transition opportunity for the Raiders following a Loyola turnover. He took a Brandon McCann pass and scored from just in front of the crease with 4.4 seconds left, tying the game for the fourth time.

Cameron Williams scored his second goal of the game to give Colgate its first lead 2:46 into the second half, running down the right alley for a shot.

Jeff Chase answered for Loyola, as he scored from 10 yards out after cutting left to right, knotting the game at 5-5 with 9:29 to play in the third quarter.

Chase’s goal sparked a 4-0 Loyola run that put the Greyhounds in front, 8-5. Sawyer wheeled around the crease and found Ward in front of him for a goal 43 seconds after Chase’s to put Loyola in front 6-5.

Ward then gave the Greyhounds their first multi-goal lead of the game at 6:02 following a Raiders turnover. Pontrello picked up a ground ball during a Colgate failed clear and fed it ahead to Ward who scored from close in on the left side.

Pontrello then pushed the advantage to 8-5 when he caught a Ward pass at goal-line extended left, dodged toward the crease and scored his second of the day at 2:31 in the third.

Colgate, however, got a pair of goals late in the third to make it a one-goal game once again.

Matt Clarkson scored one at 1:08, and then after a Greyhounds turnover, Tyler Rigo got his hands free on the right side for a goal with 16.4 seconds left in the third quarter, pulling the Raiders within one, 8-7.

Loyola quickly pushed its advantage back to two, however, in the fourth quarter. Graham Savio won the period’s opening faceoff to himself, ran into the box and got a shot past Colgate goalkeeper Brandon Burke, but it hit hard off the crossbar and rebounded in front of the crease.

Ryan Fournier collected the ground ball and fed Pontrello on the left side of the crease where he shot-faked and scored his third of the day 11 seconds into the final quarter of regulation.

Clarkson, however, scored quickly for Colgate, tallying his season-high third of the day 1:16 after Pontrello’s third.

The teams played to the one-goal game for nearly 10 minutes before Ward rolled from behind the cage and found Sawyer open 12 yards out up top, and Sawyer ripped a sidearm shot to put Loyola in front two, 10-8.

Colgate had the next possession after winning the faceoff, but it had no shots from inside 12 yards against the Greyhounds defense. The Raiders’ first three attempts went wide, and Runkel made a save on the fourth to gain possession again for Loyola.

At the end of the clear, Loyola drew a slashing call against Colgate, but the Greyhounds turned the ball over on the extra-man opportunity, giving the Raiders possession with 90 ticks left on the clock.

McCann sent a Raiders shot wide after a Colgate timeout, and Loyola called for a break in the action with 41 seconds remaining.

Eric Foote had the ball at the top of the box where Laconi stripped him with a check and picked up the ground ball. He cleared it to Ward and despite beind doubles in the corner, he found Brian Sherlock who ran out the clock with the ball in his stick.

In addition to Ward’s two goals and three assists and Pontrello’s three and one, Sawyer had a goal and an assist, while Chase, Sherlock, Brian Schultz and Kevin Ryan added goals.

Clarkson led Colgate with three goals, while Williams and Rigo had two apiece and McCann assisted on three first-half goals. Burke made 12 saves in goal.

Loyola continues its Patriot League road swing on Saturday, April 5, with a 12 noon game in Annapolis, Md., against the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Loyola perhaps set to take over top spot after crushing Lafayette

Posted on 22 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Nine Score As Men’s Lacrosse Tops Lafayette, 21-4

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland’s starting attack of Justin Ward, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Schultz all scored four goals, and six other Greyhounds tallied at least one, as No. 2-ranked Loyola beat visiting Lafayette College, 21-4, in Patriot League action Saturday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Ward finished with a team-high eight points, added four assists to bring his nation-leading total to 30 this season. Schultz’s four were a career-high.

Brian Sherlock added a career-high with three goals and two assists, and Romar Dennis matched his previous best with two tallies. Kevin Ryan and Matt Cunningham each scored goals, while Joe Fletcher and Mike Kutzer each had their first of their careers in transition.

Led by Ward’s four assists, 15 of the Greyhounds’ 21 goals were assisted on Saturday. Sherlock had two for the third time this season, and Tyler Albrecht distributed a career-best two. Ryan, Schultz, Dennis, Cunningham, Jordan Germershausen, Matt Sawyer and Graham Savio all had one.

Loyola (8-1 overall, 4-0 Patriot League) controlled possession in the game, winning 18-of-29 faceoffs and picking up 30 more ground balls than the Leopards, 52-22.

Savio won 13-of-19 restarts he took, and Blake Burkhard was successful on 5-of-8. Savio picked up a career-high 11 ground balls, while David Manning and Ryan Fournier each had career-bests with six and five, respectively.

Schultz and Sherlock combined to get the scoring started early for the Greyhounds less than three minutes into the game as Schultz rolled the crease and took a Sherlock pass to score. Ward tallied his first after Dennis dodged to the middle and passed to Ward for a 10-yard shot at 10:14.

Just over a minute later, Schultz scored his second, ripping a 15-yard shot off a Matt Sawyer goal. Lafayette got on the board at 8:03when Sonny Round dished out one of his two assists, finding Robert Orazietti crashing to the crease for a goal.

Schultz scored his third of the game, less than halfway through the first quarter, at 7:42 when he struck from nine-yards out off a Tyler Albrecht assist.

Fletcher, a two-time All-American defender, scored his first career goal 35 seconds later when Ward hit him with a pass in front of the crease, and Fletcher dumped it in for what would be the eventual game-winner.

Loyola led 6-2 by the end of the first quarter as Brendan Dunlap scored one of his two for the Leopards (1-6, 1-4) and Pontrello responded for the Greyhounds.

Pontrello quickly made it 7-2 in Loyola’s favor. Savio won the second quarter’s opening faceoff, picked up the ground ball and ran it into the box where he hit Pontrello on the crease for his second of the day.

Dennis and Sherlock scored their first of the afternoon at 14:16 and 13:12, and Loyola was up 9-2 with 13:12 left before halftime. Sherlock would score twice more in the quarter, and Pontrello and Ward each added goals, giving Loyola a 13-2 halftime advantage.

The lead went to 17-2 Loyola after Schultz and Pontrello scored, and Ward had back-to-back strikes. Brian Bock scored for Lafayette with 4:55 left in the third quarter, but Dennis, Cunningham and Kutzer responded with Greyhounds goals.

Dunlap scored his team-high second with 1.9 ticks left before the end of the frame, making it 20-4 Loyola at the end of the frame. Ryan had the only score of the fourth quarter at 9:15, providing the final 21-4 margin.

Loyola outshot the Leopards, 56-16. Jack Runkel played less than three full quarters and made five saves, allowing two goals for Loyola. Pat McEnerney stopped two shots, and Sam Beazell played the final seven minutes of scoreless lacrosse.

The Greyhounds continue Patriot League action on Saturday, March 29, with their first of two road games. Loyola will travel to Hamilton, N.Y., to face Colgate University at 12 noon.

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Loyola looks for seventh straight Saturday against Lafayette

Posted on 21 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Game Information
Opponent Lafayette Leopards
Date Saturday, March 22, 2014
Time 1:00 p.m.
Location Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

  • Loyola University Maryland plays its second game of the week on Saturday, March 22, when it hosts Lafayette College at 1 o’clock.
  • After winning four games by an average of 10.5 goals, and none by less than seven, the Greyhounds have won two-straight by one goal.
  • Loyola committed just seven turnovers on Wednesday night at Georgetown to reduce its nation-leading turnovers per game mark to 10.0.
  • Nikko Pontrello, who on Thursday was added to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, scored three goals against the Hoyas and now leads the NCAA in total goals with 29. He is fourth nationally in goals per game (3.625).
  • Justin Ward passed out four assists Wednesday in addition to scoring a goal to raise his season total to 26, also tops in the country.
  • Kevin Ryan is 10th nationally in shot percentage. He has scored goals on 51.9 percent of his shots (14-of-27) this year.
  • Pat Frazier picked up a career-high four ground balls on Wednesday night at Georgetown. He’s also third on the team with eight caused turnovers.

Last Time Out

  • Nikko Pontrello scored all three of his goals in the second half on Wednesday night, his final tally coming with 51.4 seconds left to lift Loyola to a 10-9 non-conference victory at Georgetown.
  • Pontrello had tied the game with 7:55 left, shot-faking from the crease after a Justin Ward pass, and with less than a minute to play in regulation, he dodged from behind the crease and rolled toward the goal, beating Jake Haley low with his shot.
  • Georgetown won the ensuing faceoff, and the Hoyas called two timeouts to set up a final shot. David Manning, however, stripped Bo Stafford of the ball with less than seven seconds left, and Joe Fletcher picked up the ground ball to secure the win for the Greyhounds.
  • Georgetown scored three-straight goals that spanned the second and third quarters to take a 7-5 advantage 3:30 into the third. Brian Schultz bookended Pontrello’s first goal to push Loyola back in front with 2:47 left in the third.
  • The Hoyas rallied to regain the lead, however, with 11:19 to go in regulation. The game finished with seven ties and five lead changes.

Follow The Action    

  • Saturday’s game, and all non-televised home games, will be broadcast on the Patriot League Network. Additionally, all of Loyola’s road conference games will also be available on the free HD network.
  • Log on to LoyolaGreyhounds.com/pln or PatriotLeague.tv to watch the home games on your computer, web-enabled televisions and most mobile devices.
  • Brett Hollander will call the play-by-play, and Chris Gunkel ’90 will provide the analysis.

In The Polls    

  • With last Saturday’s win over Army, Loyola remained at No. 2 in the USILA Coaches, Warrior/Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine media polls. Prior to Saturday’s games, Loyola was tied for second in the coaches’ version with Johns Hopkins University.

Series History    

  • Loyola and Lafayette will play for the second time in series history, but Saturday’s game will be the first meeting since Loyola’s opening game of the 1939 season. In that contest, the Greyhounds beat the Leopards, 15-1.

Get To Ten    

  • Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 62 occasions. After defeating the Hoyas, 10-9, on Wednesday, Loyola has won 80.6 percent of those games (50-12).

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 36-7 during that stretch (17-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 7-1 this season) for a .837 mark.
  • Only Duke has won more games (37) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly eight percent (37-12, .755).

Chart Toppers    

  • A pair of Greyhounds attackers lead the nation through games of Wednesday, March 19, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello paces Division I with 29 goals, while Justin Ward is first with 26 assists.

Pontrello Putting Up Points    

  • Nikko Pontrello had his eighth multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Saturday when he scored three in the second half against Georgetown. Through games of Wednesday, March 19, Pontrello leads the nation in total goals with 29.
  • He scored two in the season-opener at Virginia and then had three against Penn State and Towson before scoring a career-high six goals at Holy Cross. He then tallied four at Lehigh and five against Duke.
  • 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 Greyhounds with 29 goals and 34 points through eight games. He has already eclipsed his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.
  • He leads the Patriot League and is fourth nationally in goals per game (3.65), while he is first and 12th in points per game (4.43).

Stopping Shots    

  • After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .646 mark, saving 82 out of 127 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 7.51 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .603 through five games. He has moved up to fourth in the nation in saves percentage and seventh in goals against average.
  • In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.89 goals against average and .557 saves percentage; his record between the pipes is 34-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 40 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, Rookie) four-consecutive times.

Record-Setting Quarterback    

  • Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 20 assists in the last five contests. He leads the nation in total assists (26) and is third in the nation, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.25 assists per game this year.
  • With four assists against Duke – the second game in he posted that total – 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. Following his four at Georgetown, Ward now has 93 in his career. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also 12th in school Division I history in total points with 138.
  • 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.

On Target    

  • Kevin Ryan scored twice against Army, needing just two shots, and he added a first-quarter goal against Georgetown. Through eight games, the senior midfielder has scored on 14 of his 27 shots for a shooting percentage of .519, the 10th-best shooting percentage in the nation this year.
  • Take out an 0-of-5 performance in the season-opener at Virginia, and Ryan has found the net on 13-of-17 shots (.764) in the Greyhounds’ last six games. He has three games this year – at Holy Cross (3-of-3), at Lehigh (5-of-5) and Army (2-of-2) – in which he has scored on all of his shots.

Man-Up Success    

  • Loyola has converted on exactly half of its man-up possessions this year, scoring 13 goals on 26 opportunities. Its .500 success rate is good for a tie for ninth in NCAA Division I through games of Thursday, March 20.
  • Nikko Pontrello leads the way with five man-up goals, while Kevin Ryan has three and Matt Sawyer, two.
  • Seven of Loyola’s extra-man goals have been assisted by Justin Ward.

Five-Plus For Two    

  • Matt Sawyer scored six goals, and Nikko Pontrello tallied five for the Greyhounds on Sunday against Duke, marking the first time in over a decade that two Loyola players have scored five or more in the same game.
  • The last pair to do so was Gavin Prout (six) and Tim Goettelmann (five) in a 14-9 win on March 25, 2000, at 14th-ranked Brown University.

Games Of Runs    

  • Loyola has used significant runs in all eight of its games this season, and it has had four stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 13 runs of 3-0 or better. Here is a look at their four best scoring stretches:

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

Tripled Up    

  • Matt Sawyer entered the March 9 game against Duke with a single-game high of two goals, those coming in the season-opener at the University of Virginia. It took the senior from Waxhaw, N.C., just 15-minutes, 56-seconds against the Blue Devils to match that total, and 20:51 to exceed it.
  • Sawyer finished the game by tripling his previous high, totaling six goals on just seven shots. His lone shot that did not find the net was perhaps his hardest of the night, and it went off the far-side post.
  • His six goals raised his 2014 total to 10, tied for third on the team. He now has 14 goals in his career.
  • Sunday’s game was not the first time a member of the Sawyer family had put up six goals on Duke. Matt’s older brother, three-time All-American Mike, scored six goals and had two assists in a 13-8 win over the Blue Devils in March 2012.

Slowing Scorers    

  • Duke’s Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne came into the March 9 game tied for the team lead in goals (12 each), and the duo had a combined 235 career goals. Loyola, however, held them to just one goal each in the victory.
  • Against Army, Loyola faced another top scorer, John Glesener. Through six games prior to facing the Greyhounds, Glesener had scored 15 goals, but he was held to two on 22 shots by the Loyola defense.

Fletch, White And Blue    

  • Senior defender Joe Fletcher was the long current collegiate player selected as part of one of 52 players who made up the United States Men’s National Team training roster this fall, and the day before Loyola’s season-opener, he found out he is one of 30 players who made the cut for the team that will compete at the 2014 World Cup in Denver.
  • Against Holy Cross, Fletcher set a career-high with eight ground balls, eclipsing his previous total of seven set on three different occasions. In a pair of games against Towson and the Crusaders, he had 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers.
  • He earned his second Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honor this year on Monday after picking up seven ground balls and causing a turnover against Duke. He also was primarily responsible for holding the Blue Devils’ All-American attacker Jordan Wolf to one goal. Fletcher was again honored on March 17 after limiting Army’s John Glesener to two goals on 22 shots.
  • This season, the Preseason All-American leads the Greyhounds with 32 ground balls, and he is tied for the squad lead with 12 caused turnovers. His 57 career caused turnovers are third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

Not Just Defensive Midfield    

  • Short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on March 3 after matching his career-high with two goals at Lehigh.
  • The senior, who is a team co-captain and Preseason All-American, had a goal an assist versus Army and a goal at Georgetown, bringing his season totals to six goals an one assist. He now has 11 goals and 10 assists in his four-year career. His 12 caused turnovers this season have brought his career total to 53, tied for fourth most in school history.

Schultz Stepping Up    

  • In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has parlayed his opportunity into a solid start to the season. Through eight games, Schultz has scored 13 goals, third most on the team, and eight assists, second behind team-leader Justin Ward.
  • Entering this season, Schultz had seen most of his playing time on extra-man opportunities for the Greyhounds. As a sophomore and junior, he posted a combined three goals and five assists.

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair    

  • Two of Loyola’s senior co-captains were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List when it was released last week. Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were among the 50 players nationally to receive recognition.
  • They were also two of 20 players nationally to be named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award that seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom and who have used their platforms as student-athletes to make positive impacts in the community.
  • In addition to the senior duo that is on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, junior attacker Nikko Pontrello was also named to the group on March 20.

Up Next    

  • The Greyhounds play their next two games, both Patriot League tilts, on the road. They head to Hamilton, N.Y., for a Saturday, March 29, game at Colgate University before traveling to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday, April 5.

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Loyola attackman Pontrello added to Tewaaraton Award watch list

Posted on 20 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Pontrello Added To Tewaaraton Watch List

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nikko Pontrello, Loyola University Maryalnd’s junior attacker leads NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse players in total goals this season, was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List on Thursday, joining teammates Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward.

Pontrello has scored two or more goals in all eight contests Loyola (7-1 overall) has played this season, and he has three-plus in six of the games. As of March 20, Pontrello is fourth in the nation in goals per game (3.625) and tops in total goals (29).

The Marlton, N.J., native entered the season with 20 career goals after scoring four as a freshman in 2012 and 16 last season when he also totaled 19 assists to finish third on the team with 35 points.

This season, he opened the year with two goals and an assist at Virginia, and since then he has scored four goals twice (Towson, at Lehigh), five (Duke) and six (at Holy Cross) once each.

In last night’s 10-9 win at Georgetown, Pontrello scored all three of his goals in the second half, the last coming on a dodge from behind the cage and roll to the crease with 51.4 seconds left to record the game-winning tally.

Pontrello has scored on 50 percent of his 58 shots this season, tying him for 12th in the nation in shot percentage. He also is third on the team in ground balls with 23.

He joins fellow attacker Ward and Fletcher, a defender, on the watch list of those who will vie for the honor of top lacrosse player in the nation. Ward leads the country in total assists (26) and is third in assists per game (3.25), while Fletcher is one of the nation’s top defenders, pacing the Greyhounds in ground balls (32) and tied for the team-lead with 12 caused turnovers.

The trio will lead Loyola back into Patriot League action on Saturday, March 22, at 1 p.m. when the Greyhounds host Lafayette College at Ridley Athletic Complex. The game, while will air live on the Patriot League Network (www.patriotleague.tv), is part of a doubleheader with the Loyola women hosting Lehigh University at 4 p.m.

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Pontrello scores late winner to lift #2 Loyola past Georgetown

Posted on 19 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Pontrello Scores Late To Push Men’s Lacrosse Past Hoyas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nikko Pontrello scored his third goal of the game with 51.4 seconds remaining in regulation, and David Manning had a caused turnover on the defensive end with less than seven seconds left to seal a 10-9 win for the No. 2 Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team at Georgetown University.

Pontrello tied the game with his second goal of the night with 7:55 left, and with a 30-second warning on, he dodged from behind the crease and rolled back toward the goal, sticking a low shot past Hoyas goalkeeper Jake Haley for the winner.

The Greyhounds (7-1 overall) overcame a night when Georgetown won 15-of-22 faceoffs and the Hoyas picked up four more ground balls, 30-26.

Georgetown (3-5) scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter to take a 9-8 lead when Bo Stafford fed a cross-crease pass to Reilly O’Connor, and O’Connor scored with 11:19 left.

O’Connor’s goal game just eight seconds after Devon Lewis created the game’s sixth tie with his second of the night.

Georgetown had another possession after O’Connor’s goal, but Joe Fletcher caused a turnover on the defensive side for the Greyhounds. Haley, however, made a save on a Pat Laconi shot in transition to get the ball back for the Hoyas.

In settled offense, Georgetown’s Peter Conley had his shot blocked by a Loyola defender, and Ryan Fournier came up with the ground ball for the Greyhounds, starting a transition run. The ball was worked to Ward on the high left side, and he found Pontrello rolling from behind the cage. Pontrello danced along the crease and shot-faked Haley for the goal at 7:55 to tied the game at 9-9.

Loyola earned possession after Pontrello’s goal via a faceoff violation by the Hoyas, but Haley made a save on a Brian Sherlock shot. After a Georgetown turnover, he came up with another save – he finished with 11 – on Jeff Chase’s attempt, getting the Hoyas another opportunity regain the lead.

Laconi trail-checked Charles McCormick to give Loyola the ball back, but after a Greyhounds’ timeout, a turnover put Georgetown back on offense.

Stafford dodged free of his defender on the right side, but Jack Runkel was there to save his shot attempt at 2:19, preserving the tie for the Greyhounds and setting up the possession that led to Pontrello’s game-winner.

Runkel posted nine saves in the win for Loyola.

After Pontrello’s go-ahead go in the final minute, Tyler Knarr won his 15th faceoff of the night, picking up his 15th ground ball, and Georgetown called a timeout with 20 seconds left.

Stafford tried to speed-dodge from behind goal-line extended, but Manning checked the ball away, and Fletcher came up with the groundball to secure the win.

Georgetown opened up a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 58 seconds thanks to a pair of faceoff wins by Knarr. Lewis scored unassisted 52 seconds into the game, and Knarr won the restart and scored six seconds later.

Runkel made a save on the Hoyas’ third shot after they gained possession again, and Laconi finished a transition run with his fifth goal of the year.

Matt Sawyer then used a Tyler Albrecht pass to score from the right side at 9:06, tying the game at 2-2. The teams traded goals evenly over the next eight-plus minutes as Ward’s stick off a Kyle Duffy ground ball and assist at 14:11 in the second quarter tied the game at 4-4.

Albrecht then got free down the left side and scored at 12:07, giving the Greyhounds their first lead of the contest.

Peter Conley, however, scored back-to-back goals for the Hoyas, and Georgetown led 6-5 at halftime. Charles McCormick had the second half’s first goal at 11:30 to make Georgetown’s lead two, but Brian Schultz bookended a Pontrello goal, and Loyola used a 3-0 run to lead 8-7 at the end of the third quarter.

Ward finished the night with five points, scoring a goal and assisting on four others. Pontrello scored all three of his goals in the second half, and both of Schultz’s came in the third quarter.

Loyola reenters Patriot League play at home on Saturday, March 22, when the Greyhounds host Lafayette College at 1 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex. The game is the first of a doubleheader in which the Loyola women host Lehigh University at 4 p.m.

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

Posted on 09 March 2014 by WNST Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Red hot Loyola welcomes Duke for Sunday night showdown

Posted on 08 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Duke Blue Devils

Sunday, March 9, 2014  |  6:00 p.m.

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

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Time Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Turn On The Television

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

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

 

In The Polls

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

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

 

Series History

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Games Of Runs

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

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

 

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

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

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

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

 

Ryan Racks Up Goals

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

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

 

Ward Playing The Role

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

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

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

 

Midfield Scoring

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

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

 

Stopping Shots

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

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

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

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

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

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

 

Schultz Stepping Up

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

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

 

Hot Hand

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

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

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

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

 

Fletch, White And Blue

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

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

 

Tyler’s Time

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

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

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

 

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair

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

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

 

Margin In Two

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

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

 

Patriot League Honors

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

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

 

Up Next

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

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

Posted on 03 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Laconi, Pontrello, Runkel Receive Patriot League Weekly Honors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ryan, Runkel lead Loyola to convincing win at Lehigh

Posted on 01 March 2014 by WNST Staff

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Loyola University Maryland’s Kevin Ryan scored a career-high five goals, and Jack Runkel made 13 saves in goal as the seventh-ranked Greyhounds beat No. 14 Lehigh University, 14-7, on Saturday afternoon in Patriot League action at Ulrich Sports Complex.

Nikko Pontrello added four goals, all in the first half, and Ryan tallied four of his five during the second 30 minutes.

Runkel saved 13 of the Mountain Hawks’ 29 total shots in the game.

Lehigh (4-1 overall, 1-1 Patriot League) scored the game’s first goal on a rebound shot by Patrick Corbett, but Loyola (4-1, 2-0) tallied three in a row to lead 3-1 on Pontrello’s first with 6:27 left in the quarter.

The Mountain Hawks, however, tied the game at 3-3 on an Alex Eaton goal with 51 ticks left in the first quarter, and the teams headed to the second period tied.

Loyola shutout the Mountain Hawks in that frame to start to pull away, going up 7-3 at halftime. Pontrello scored three in a row, and twice on man-up possessions, to start the second quarter, and Brian Schultz added his first of two with 2:32 left in the half.

Lehigh got within three to start the third quarter when Reid Weber scored 3:21 into the period, but that was as close as it would get the remainder of the game.

The Greyhounds scored four-straight goals, all coming from their midfield.

Pat Laconi started the scoring at 8:18 when he ran free down the left alley during a Mountain Hawks substitution, and Jeff Chase found him with a pass. Chase finished with a career-high three assists in the game.

Ryan then bookended a Matt Sawyer goal at 6:12 with scores at 7:26 and 3:12. Ryan’s first in the series came when he used a Chase pass to find space and hit a sidearm shot, and he scored his second after rolling off a check near the crease before shooting inside the opposite post.

His second put Loyola ahead 11-4 entering the fourth quarter, but after killing a two-man advantage by the Greyhounds, Lehigh scored twice in a row.

Corbett tallied his second of the game, this on an extra-man opportunity, at 12:55 off a Dan Taylor assist at 12:55. Billy Oppenheimer cut the Mountain Hawks’ deficit to five, 11-6, at 6:23 by taking a Weber feed from behind and scoring his frist of the season.

Just over a minute later, Justin Ward, who was one off his career-high with four assists, used a cross-field pass to find Schultz on the crease for a goal.

Ryan added his fourth at 4:53 off a Ward helper, and after Matt Smith scored unassisted for Lehigh at 1:33, Ryan scored on an empty net with 53 ticks of the clock left.

His previous career-high of three goals came just last week at Holy Cross. His eight goals in two games match his career total entering the 2014 season.

Loyola scored its 14 goals on 34 shots, converting on 41.2 percent of its attempts. All but four of the scores were assisted.

The Greyhounds had a 27-22 advantage in groundballs, as Graham Savio had an excellent day at the face-off `X’. The freshman won 15-of-24 and picked up six ground balls.

Joe Fletcher and Pat Frazier each caused two turnovers for Loyola, while Laconi had one in addition to his career-high tying two goals.

Runkel made stops on 13 of the 20 shots on goal he faced, while Lehigh’s Matt Pollion finished with 11 saves.

The Greyhounds take just over a week off before their next game, a step out of conference play on Sunday, March 9, to host Duke University. The game, which is between the last two NCAA Champions, will start at 6 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex and will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.

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Red hot Loyola looks to continue streak Saturday at Lehigh

Posted on 28 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Saturday, March 1, 2014  |  12:00 p.m.

Bethlehem, Pa. | Ulrich Sports Complex

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse plays its second-straight Patriot League road game on Saturday, March 1, when it heads to Bethlehem, Pa., for a 12 noon faceoff at No. 14 Lehigh University.

The Greyhounds are coming off a week in which they outscored Towson University and College of the Holy Cross, 36-8, in two victories.

Loyola earned a win in its first-ever Patriot League game last Saturday, a 16-4 decision in Worcester, Mass., against the Crusaders.

Four Loyola players – Nikko Pontrello (offensive), Joe Fletcher (defensive), Jack Runkel (goalkeeper) and Brian Sherlock (rookie) – swept the Patriot League weekly awards on Mondayfollowing the pair of wins.

Loyola used a 40-17 advantage in ground balls on Saturday during the win at Holy Cross. The 23-groundball advantage was the largest the Greyhounds have posted in Charley Toomey’s nine years as head coach, eclipsing a margin of 20 in 2008 against St. John’s.

Nikko Pontrello scored six goals Saturday, increasing his team-lead to 15.

 

 

Last Time Out

Loyola recorded its second-straight double-digit win on February 22 when it opened its tenure in the Patriot League with a 16-4 defeat of Holy Cross.

The Crusaders took a 3-2 lead on a Clay Haarmann goal with 6:36 left in the first quarter, and neither Loyola, nor Holy Cross, scored for the remainder of the period. Nikko Pontrello tallied his second of the game 56 seconds into the second quarter, starting a 14-0 run that would carry into the fourth quarter.

Pontrello finished with a career-high six goals, including four-straight to start the third quarter, while Brian Schultz had career-bests of three goals, four assists and seven points. Kevin Ryan scored a personal-best three goals on just three shots, and Justin Ward matched his high with five assists.

Holy Cross won three of the game’s first four faceoffs, but the Greyhounds finished with a 16-8 overall advantage in restarts. Graham Savio won a career-best 14-of-18 at the ‘X’ for Loyola and picked up seven ground balls in the process.

Joe Fletcher led all players with a career-high eight ground balls, and Jack Runkel posted 12 saves in goal.

 

 

Follow The Action

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

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

 

In The Polls

Loyola moved up in the polls following their wins last week over Towson and Villanova. The Greyhounds are now seventh in the USILA Coaches’ Poll and eighth in both the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine Media Rankings.

Lehigh also moved up in the polls and is 14th in all three versions. Saturday’s game will be Loyola’s third against a ranked opponent this year (also at Virginia and at Penn State).

 

Series History

Loyola and Lehigh will meet for the eighth time on the lacrosse field when the teams take the field Saturday.

The Greyhounds, who are 7-0 all-time against the Mountain Hawks, last played Lehigh on April 15, 1998. Loyola won that game 20-2 at Curley Field in a season which the Greyhounds would reach the NCAA Semifinals.

The Greyhounds are 15-6 all-time against teams from their new conference after Saturday’s win at Holy Cross, having played Army, Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy in the past. Other than a series with Navy in 2010-2011, Loyola last played a Patriot League team in 1998 when it took on the Mountain Hawks.

 

Games Of Runs

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

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

 

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello had his fourth multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Saturday when he set a career-high with six goals at Holy Cross. The junior attacker scored twice in the opener against Virginia, and he then recorded three versus both Penn State and Towson. His final goal against the Nittany Lions came 19 seconds into overtime and lifted Loyola to a 12-11 win. In his career, Loyola is now 6-0 in games that he scored three or more goals.

Pontrello leads the Greyhounds with 15 goals and 19 points through four games. He is closing in on his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.

He leads the Patriot League and is 11th nationally in goals per game (3.75), while he is second and 17th in points per game (4.75).

 

Schultz, Ryan With Career-Bests

In addition to Nikko Pontrello’s career-high six goals Saturday at Holy Cross, Brian Schultz led Loyola with seven points, also a personal-best. He set career-highs with three goals and four assists, bringing his seasonal totals to seven goals, six assists and 13 points in his first year as a starter.

Kevin Ryan also had a career-high in goals against the Crusaders, needing just three shots to score three goals. He has six goals and an assist from the midfield this year.

 

Midfield Scoring

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

This year, Loyola’s first and second midfield units have scored nearly 48 percent of the team’s goals, a total of 29. Tyler Albrecht is second on the team with eight goals, while Brian Sherlock has six goals and four assists, and Kevin Ryan had tallied six and one.

 

Hot Hand

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

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

As a unit, Loyola is winning 51.9 percent of faceoffs, up from last year’s mark of 46.5.

 

Margin In Two

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

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

 

Sweep Of Patriot League Honors

Four Loyola players swept the Patriot League weekly awards on Monday, February 24, as Nikko Pontrello (Offensive), Joe Fletcher (Defensive), Jack Runkel (Goalkeeper) and Brian Sherlock (Rookie) won the honors.

Pontrello scored 10 goals and had an assist in two games against Towson and Holy Cross, while Fletcher and Runkel led a defense that gave up just four goals in each. Fletcher had 11 ground balls, including a career-high eight at Holy Cross, and three caused turnovers; Runkel posted 20 saves and a combined 2.79 goals against average, yielding just six total goals. Sherlock continued excellent two-way midfielder play, scoring four goals, assisting on two and picking up six ground balls.

 

Stopping Shots

Jack Runkel posted 12 saves, including five in the fourth quarter, of the win against Penn State after making just three stops in the season-opener against Virginia.

The senior goalkeeper, who earned 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament honors, made five of the saves in the fourth quarter as Penn State took 13 shots.

Runkel then directed the Loyola defense to dominating performances against Towson and Holy Cross. He made four saves in the first quarter and allowed just two goals over more than 54 minutes of action, stopping a total of eight shots against the Tigers. He then had a scoreless stretch of more than 46 minutes against the Crusaders and finished with 12 saves against just three goals allowed.

 

Quarterbacking The Offense

Justin Ward returns for his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds and will once again serve as Loyola’s quarterback from ‘X’. Last season, Ward earned USILA All-America Honorable Mention after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

With a career-high tying five assists at Holy Cross, Ward moved past Mike Ruland and into fourth-place in Loyola’s Division I history with 78. He is one assist back of Shane Koppens for third place. Ward is also 19th in school Division I history in total points with 121.

Ward leads the Patriot League and is 12th nationally with 2.75 assists per game.

 

Fletch, White And Blue

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

Against Holy Cross, Fletcher set a career-high with eight ground balls, eclipsing his previous total of seven set on three different occasions. In a pair of games against Towson and the Crusaders, he had 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers. This season, the Preseason All-American leads Loyola with 17 ground balls and eight caused turnovers. His 53 career caused turnovers are tied with Reid Acton for third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

 

Classy Seniors

Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were 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.

It is the second year in a row that two Loyola players have been named candidates as Scott Ratliff and Davis Butts were up for the award last year. Ratliff was a finalist, as well. Loyola is the only school nationally with two candidates this year.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Good transition play has been a key to Loyola’s success in recent years, and the dynamic has continued this year through three games. Five of the Greyhounds’ first 10 goals Wednesday came out of unsettled situations.

Pat Laconi, a preseason All-American short-stick defensive midfielder, scored a career-best two goals against the Tigers, and he also had three caused turnovers. Ryan Fournier scored his first career goal on a transition run in the third quarter.

 

Tyler’s Time

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

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

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

 

Starting Off Strong

Loyola needed just 12 shots to score nine goals in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game against Towson, and the Greyhounds scored on nine of their 11 possessions in the quarter.

Meanwhile, the defense limited Towson to five shots, four of which were saved by goalkeeper Jack Runkel. Loyola forced four Towson turnovers, and Blake Burkhart won 7-of-9 faceoffs in the opening frame. Six different players scored in the first quarter for Loyola.

 

On The Tube

Loyola men’s lacrosse will make a minimum of four appearances on national television this year as part of the Patriot League’s agreement with CBS Sports Network.

The Greyhounds will host Duke University on Sunday, March 9, in a match-up of the last two NCAA Champions, and CBS will then feature the Greyhounds’ Thursday, April 17, game against Bucknell University, the top two teams in the Preseason Patriot League poll. The network will also feature two long-time rivals when Loyola hosts Johns Hopkins University, on Saturday, May 3.

Additionally, the Loyola-Georgetown game on Wednesday, March 19, in Washington, D.C., was added to the CBS Sports Network slate.

Both semifinal games in the Patriot League Championships will be broadcast on Friday, April 25, and the Patriot League Championship Game will also air live on Sunday, April 27.
Up Next

Loyola returns to Ridley Athletic Complex for its next game, a step out of Patriot League play, to take on Duke University in a game that will feature the last two NCAA Champions. The 6 p.m. game on Sunday, March 9, will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

Following the game against the Blue Devils, Loyola hosts the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday, March 16, at 1 p.m.

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