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Loyola battles Colgate in Patriot League semis Friday

Posted on 24 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Colgate Raiders

Friday, April 25, 2014  |  4:30 p.m.

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Last Time Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Turn On The Television

All three games in the Patriot League Championships will be broadcast live, nationally on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan will call the play-by-play, and Evan Washburn will handle the analysis of the action.

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

 

In The Polls

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

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

 

Series History

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

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

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

 

All-League Awards

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

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

 

Get To Ten

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

 

Since 2012

Loyola has the best winning percentage in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse since the start of the 2012 season. The Greyhounds are 41-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 12-1 this season) for a .854 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .923 this season is the best nationally.

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

 

Chart Toppers

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

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

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

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

 

And Short-Sticks, Too

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

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

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

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

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

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

 

Stopping Shots

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

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

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.67 goals against average and .567 saves percentage. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 39-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 43 victories. Amato, however, is a four-year starter, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.

 

Fletch, White And Blue

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

He later had seven ground balls and causing a turnover against Duke. He also was primarily responsible for holding the Blue Devils’ All-American attacker Jordan Wolf to one goal.

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

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

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

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

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

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

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

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

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

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

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 13 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 22 runs of 3-0 or better. Here is a look at their four best scoring stretches:

Opponent Run Time Covered   Opponent Run Time Covered
at Holy Cross 14-0 38:58   Lafayette 12-0 26:53
Towson 10-0 16:38   at Virginia 9-0 14:18

 

 

Schultz Stepping Up

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

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

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

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

 

Fletcher and Ward were also two of 20 players nationally to be named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award that seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom and who have used their platforms as student-athletes to make positive impacts in the community. Earlier this month, they were selected as two of the award’s 10 finalists for this year.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 21 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Loyola to play in first Patriot League semifinal Friday

Posted on 20 April 2014 by WNST Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 15 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

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

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

I enjoy the work of Eric Hutchinson, friends.

I also enjoy the work of Saints of Valory.

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

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

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

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#1 Loyola looks to extend win streak Saturday against Boston U

Posted on 11 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Boston U. Terriers

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

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland opens a three-game regular-season homestand on Saturday, April 12, when it hosts Boston University at 1 p.m.

The Greyhounds are 4-0 this season, and 22-7, all-time at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola has clinched one of the top two seeds in the April 25-27 Patriot League Championships and thus secured a by to the semifinals. The Greyhounds can clinch the Patriot League regular-season title, and earn the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the semifinal and championship games, with a win over Boston University or Bucknell University (April 17) or a loss by the U.S. Military Academy to the U.S. Naval Academy (Saturday) or Colgate University (April 18).

The Greyhounds have not allowed an extra-man goal in the last three games, holding opponents scoreless on four man-up possessions during the stretch. Boston University, meanwhile leads the Patriot League with 19 extra-man goals this year.

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

 

Last Time Out

Brian Sherlock picked up the ground ball off a Graham Savio faceoff win to start the second overtime period, sent a pass to Justin Ward low in the offensive box, and Ward passed cross-crease to Brian Schultz who scored the game-winner last Saturday in a 7-6 win at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Greyhounds took their first lead of the game at the end of a 3-0 third-quarter run when Ward scored with 2:53 left in the stanza.

The Midshipmen, however, evened the score at 6-6 Gabe Voumard’s second of the game 5:28 into the final period of regulation, and the game ended up in overtime.

Jack Runkel made nine saves for Loyola, the last coming midway through the first overtime on a behind-the-head shot by Tucker Hull from the doorstep.  The Midshipmen had another shot go off the pipe in the opening overtime.

Ward led all players with four points, scoring a goal and assisting on three, while Sherlock posted a team-best two goals.

Joe Fletcher had seven ground balls, and Pat Laconi caused three turnovers and had a transition assist.

Follow The Action

Saturday’s game, and all non-televised Patriot League games, will be broadcast on the Patriot League Network. Brent Harris of Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Network will call the play-by-play action

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

 

In The Polls

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

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

 

Series History

Loyola will play Boston University, a first-year program, for the first time when the teams take the field Saturday. The Terriers are also in their first year as a member of the Patriot League. They joined the conference in June 2012, and Loyola accepted its membership less than two months later.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 64 occasions. After defeating Colgate, 10-8, on March 29, Loyola has won 81.3 percent of those games (52-12).

 

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 39-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 10-1 this season) for a .848 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .909 this season is the best nationally.

Only Duke has won more games (41) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by more than seven percent (41-12, .774).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are at or near the top of two offensive categories through games of Tuesday, April 8, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is second in Division I with 37 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 36 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 91 combined points (Ward, 48; Pontrello, 43). Albany’s Lyle (65) and Miles (60) have a combined 125.

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher leads Loyola in ground balls, total (51) and per game (4.64), this season, but more impressive than that, he paces all close defenders nationally in the categories. Fletcher is 42nd overall in ground balls per game, while the 41 players who are ahead of him are either face-off specialists or long-stick midfielders who play on the wings during restarts.

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 30 assists in the last eight contests and 36 overall. He is second in the nation in total assists (36), and he is also third in the country and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.27 assists per game this year. His 36 assists are already third-most in school Division I single-season history, one off Brian Duffy’s No. 2 total of 37 in 1995 and two shy of tying Sean Heffernan’s single-season record from 1994.

With four assists against Duke, Ward set Loyola’s career Division I record (since 1982) in total assists, eclipsing the mark of 83 set from 1989-92 by Jim Blanding. His three at Colgate gave him 100 for his career, making him the second player in program history ever to record 100. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also ninth in school Division I history in total points with 153, one away from tying former teammate Mike Sawyer, who was on the receiving end of many of his assists, for eighth.

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 Saturday against Navy, snapping a streak of 10-straight games to start the season that Pontrello had two or more goals. Through games of Tuesday, April 8, Pontrello is second in the nation in total goals with 37.

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

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 37 goals and is second behind Justin Ward for the team-lead with 43 points through 11 games.

He leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in goals per game (3.70), while he is second and 11th in points per game (4.30).

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .639 mark, saving 108 out of 170 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 7.07 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .607 through 11 games. He is fourth in the nation in both saves percentage and  goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.75 goals against average and .561 saves percentage; he is fifth in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982) with 400 career saves. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 36-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 42 victories. Amato (as of Monday), however, Amato is a four-year starter, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.

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

 

Fletch, White And Blue

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

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

He later had seven ground balls and causing a turnover against Duke. He also was primarily responsible for holding the Blue Devils’ All-American attacker Jordan Wolf to one goal.

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

Fletcher has been named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week four times this year, the most any player in conference history has earned the award. He is second on the Greyhounds with 44 ground balls and caused turnovers (14). His 59 career caused turnovers are third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

As good of a match-up defender as Fletcher is, he is as good off the ground. He leads all close defenders nationally with 51 ground balls and 4.64 per game.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

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

The senior, who is a team co-captain and Preseason All-American, had a goal an assist versus Army, a goal at Georgetown and an assist versus Navy, bringing his season totals to six goals an two assists. He now has 11 goals and 11 assists in his four-year career.

Laconi posted four ground balls, matching his career-high, and three caused turnovers at Colgate, the final of each coming with less than 25 seconds remaining to help seal the win. He caused another three turnovers a week later at Navy. His team-leading 20 caused turnovers this season have brought his career total to 62, third most in school history.

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.27 through 1 contests. The Greyhounds have committed 1.37 fewer turnovers per game than the second-place team in the nation, Marquette.

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

The Greyhounds is the only team to be in the top five of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (13.09) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.27) are fourth.

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

 

Man-Up Success

Loyola has converted on just under half of its man-up possessions this year, scoring 15 goals on 32 opportunities. Its .469 success rate is good for 11th in NCAA Division I through games of Monday, April 7.

Nikko Pontrello leads the way with five man-up goals, while Kevin Ryan has four and Matt Sawyer and Brian Schultz each have two.

Nine of Loyola’s extra-man goals have been assisted by Justin Ward.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 11 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 18 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

 

 

Five-Plus For Two

Matt Sawyer scored six goals, and Nikko Pontrello tallied five for the Greyhounds on March 9 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.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 19 goals, second-most on the team through 11 games. He also had the game-winning goal 12 seconds into the second overtime at Navy.

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

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

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

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.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionMixed Martial Arts: UFC Fight Night-Roy Nelson vs. Minotauro Nogueira (Friday 2pm from Abu Dhabi live on UFC Fight Pass); Auto Racing: NASCAR Southern 500 (Saturday 6:30pm from Darlington, SC live on FOX); Tennis: ATP Tour U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships (Thursday 7pm Friday 2pm Saturday 3pm from Houston live on Tennis Channel)

10. Katt Williams (Friday 8pm Baltimore Arena); Lewis Black (Thursday-Saturday Warner Theatre); Mick Foley (Tuesday 8pm Baltimore Comedy Factory), Guy Torry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Privateer Festival (Friday-Sunday Fells Point); The Gathering: Food Trucks Rally (Friday 5pm War Memorial Plaza); Bay Bridge Boat Show (Friday-Sunday Bay Bridge Marina); Decanter Wine Festival (Saturday & Sunday Pimlico Race Course); Draft Day“, “Oculus” and “Rio 2” out in theaters (Friday); The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug“, “August: Osage County“, “Grudge Match” and “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a trailer that has made me want to see a movie LESS than Draft Day. But since Monday was the 25th anniversary of a REALLY good movie about a Cleveland sports franchise, let’s just remember that.

9. Avicii (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Aaron Lewis (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Phil Vassar (Friday 6:30pm Rams Head Center Stage); Carolina Chocolate Drops (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Ashley Monroe (Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere); Emmylou Harris (Friday 7pm Lincoln Theatre); Rick Ross (Friday 9pm Echostage); Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Saturday 8:30pm The Hamilton); Southern Soul Assembly feat. Marc Broussard/JJ Grey/Anders Osborne/Luther Dickinson (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre)

You know what drives me nuts? I hate the idea of Avicii but I actually like some of his tunes.

I love Carolina Chocolate Drops. I also love Charm City Devils. I feel like if someone started a band called Cool Colorado Demons, I’d probably like them too. It’s a CCD thing.

I could use much more Dirty Dozen Brass Band in my life.

Marc Broussard is a totally unfair type of talented.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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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 plays first ever home Patriot League contest Saturday against Army

Posted on 14 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Army Black Knights

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

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Time Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Follow The Action

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

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

 

In The Polls

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

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

 

Series History

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

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

 

Since 2012

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

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

 

Five-Plus For Two

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

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

 

Games Of Runs

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

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

 

 

Tripled Up

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

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

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

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

 

Slowing Scorers

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

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

Pontrello Putting Up Points

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

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

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

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

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

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

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

 

Midfield Scoring

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

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

 

Stopping Shots

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

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

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

 

Fletch, White And Blue

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

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

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

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

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

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

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

 

Schultz Stepping Up

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

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

 

Hot Hand

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

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

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

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

 

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair

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

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

 

Margin In Two

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

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

 

Patriot League Honors

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

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

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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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