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Loyola sweeps weekly Patriot League lacrosse honors

Posted on 21 April 2014 by WNST Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Loyola’s Runkel, Fletcher pick up weekly Patriot League honors again

Posted on 31 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Runkel, Fletcher Garner Patriot League Weekly Honors

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Loyola University Maryland seniors Jack Runkel and Joe Fletcher were named the Patriot League Goalkeeper and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively for the fifth and fourth times this season.

Runkel’s fifth weekly award matches the most weekly awards any player in the conference has earned in a single season, equaling the totals accumulated by a pair of U.S. Military Academy goalkeepers, Adam Fullerton and Tom Palesky, in 2008 and 2011, respectively. No player has won any Patriot League weekly award six times.

Fletcher’s fourth award is more than any other player in League history has earned Defensive Player of the Week honors. Nine players have previously received the honor four times.

Runkel made 12 saves on 20 shots on goal in a 10-8 win Saturday at then-No. 17 Colgate University to help the top-ranked Greyhounds move to 9-1 overall this year, 5-0 in the Patriot League. He posted four of the saves during the fourth quarter as Loyola led by no more than two.

Over Loyola’s last eight games, Runkel has a 5.93 goals against average. Overall this year, he has made saves on 60.7 percent of the shots on goal he’s faced, and he has a 7.24 goals against average.

Fletcher picked up seven ground balls and caused a turnover on Saturday against the Raiders, and he had primary marking responsibilities for Colgate’s leading scorer, Ryan Walsh. The Raiders junior attacker was held without a goal or assist, marking the first time in his 43 collegiate games that he has gone without a point.

This season, Fletcher leads Loyola’s close defensemen with 44 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers.

The Greyhounds are back in action on Saturday, April 5, when they travel to Annapolis, Md., for a 12 noon game at the U.S. Naval Academy in Patriot League play.

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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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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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Loyola makes quick turnaround to visit Georgetown Wednesday

Posted on 18 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Georgetown Hoyas

Wednesday, March 19, 2014  |  6:00 p.m.

Washington, D.C. | Multi-Sport Field | CBS Sports Network

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland hits the road for a non-conference, midweek game on Wednesday, March 19, in the Nation’s Capital. The Greyhounds will take on Georgetown University at 6 p.m. on Multi-Sport Field.

Wednesday’s game will air live on CBS Sports Network, the second of four Loyola regular-season games that will be broadcast by the channel.

The Greyhounds played their third one-goal game of the season on Saturday, edging Army, 7-6, to move to 3-0 in the Patriot League. Loyola is now 2-1 in those one-goal games.

The one-goal win came exactly one month following the last Greyhounds’ one-goal win (Penn State). In between, Loyola won four games by an average of 10.5 goals, none by less than seven.

Loyola leads the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.43 per game after committing eight against the Black Knights.

Kevin Ryan moved up to third nationally in shot percentage with two goals on two shots against Army. He has scored goals on 59.1 percent of his shots (13-of-22) this year.

 

Last Time Out

Jack Runkel made a season-high 19 saves, and the Greyhounds held off a late Army charge for a 7-6 Patriot League victory on Saturday at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Army took a 4-3 lead with the first goal of the third quarter, a Shea Mullins tally at 12:37, but Loyola scored four in a row to lead 7-4 on Pat Frazier’s first career goal with 8:52 left in regulation.

The Black Knights, however, got to goals in transition, the first by John Glesener and the second from Will Mazzone, to pull within a score with 2:18 remaining.

Army had possession and two shots in the final 30 seconds, but both went wide of the cage, and the Greyhounds came away with the win.

Nikko Pontrello and Kevin Ryan both scored twice for the Greyhounds, and Justin Ward had three assists. Pat Laconi scored a goal and had an assist for Loyola, as well.

Runkel’s 19 saves came against 45 total Army shots. He made five saves in the first, second and fourth quarters and four in the third.

Joe Fletcher had five ground balls to lead Loyola, while Frazier had three and a caused turnover.

 

Turn On The Television

Wednesday’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 the second of four that will feature the Greyhounds on the network. Home games against Bucknell University and Johns Hopkins University, and Loyola’s March 9 win over Duke University was also televised.

 

In The Polls

With the 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

Georgetown and the Greyhounds will play for the 37th time in series history on Wednesday. The Greyhounds have a 30-6 advantage in the previous 36 meetings, thanks in large part to a 20-game winning streak from 1974-2001.

The Hoyas were victorious in five of six from 2002-2007, but the Greyhounds are currently riding a six-game winning streak in the rivalry.

Last season, Loyola caused 17 Georgetown turnovers, and six of the Greyhounds’ goals in a 13-8 win came via transition or unsettled situations.

Nine scored goals for Loyola in the game, led by four from Zach Herreweyers and two by Harry Kutner. Justin Ward added a goal and four assists. Joe Fletcher had six ground balls and tied Josh Hawkins for team-high honors with three caused turnovers.

 

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 35-7 during that stretch (17-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 6-1 this season) for a .833 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).

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .670 mark, saving 73 out of 109 shots on goal he’s faced. In the last five games against Towson, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Duke and Army, Runkel has 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 7.27 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .618 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 7.86 goals against average and .559 saves percentage; his record between the pipes is 33-6. 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.

 

On Target

Kevin Ryan scored twice against Army, and the senior midfielder needed just two shots against the Black Knights, raising his season shooting percentage to .591. He has scored goals on 13-of-22 shots this season, and his .591 shooting percentage is ranked third in the nation.

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 converted on both of its extra-man opportunities against Army, raising its season conversion percentage to 59.1 through seven games. In 21 man-up possessions, the Greyhounds have scored 13 goals, and the .591 mark is good for fourth in the nation.

Nikko Pontrelo 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 seven of its games this season, and it has had four stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 12 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.

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello had his seventh multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Saturday when he scored twice against Army. The game came less than a week after he scored five against Duke. He also tallied four at Lehigh and 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 16 combined assists in the last four contests. He is third in the nation, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.14 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 three against Army, Ward now has 89 in his career. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also 15th in school Division I history in total points with 133.

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 45 percent of the team’s goals, a total of 44. Kevin Ryan scored eight goals combined against Holy Cross and Lehigh, and he is second on the team with 13 total. Matt Sawyer’s six versus Duke moved him into fourth with 10 total, and Tyler Albrecht is fifth on the squad with eight goals, while Brian Sherlock has six goals and five assists.

 

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 30 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, had a goal an assist versus Army, bringing his season totals to five goals an one assist. He now has 10 of each in his four-year career. His 10 caused turnovers this season have brought his career total to 51, fifth-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 seven games, Schultz has scored 11 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.

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Loyola’s Fletcher, Runkel honored again by Patriot League

Posted on 17 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher, Runkel Repeat As Patriot League Weekly Honorees

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Loyola University Maryland senior Jack Runkel won his fourth-straight Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week Award, and senior Joe Fletcher earned his third Defensive Player of the Week honor in four weeks, on Monday, the League office announced.

The pair led Loyola’s defense in an 7-6 win over the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Runkel made a season-high 19 saves in goal for the second-ranked Greyhounds (6-1 overall, 3-0 Patriot League), three off his career-high, and he yielded just five goals off settled situations. He is also in the running for Inside Lacrosse’s Brine National Player of the Week.

Over Loyola’s last five games, Runkel has played to a 5.25 goals against average and made saves on 70.9 percent of the shots on goal he has faced. This year, in seven games, Runkel has allowed a 7.27 goals against average and made saves 61.8 percent of the time. His overall save percentage is fourth nationally, and his goals against average is seventh.

Fletcher was matched up against his former high school teammate John Glesener, the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Glesener took 22 shots in the game, but most were from long-range, and he put only seven on goal. Runkel made saves on five of those shots, and Glesner finished with just two goals.

Fletcher also picked up five ground balls, all contested in traffic to help the Greyhounds to a 34-25 advantage in pickups. He leads the team with 30 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers this season.

Loyola is back in action midweek, playing at Georgetown University on Wednesday, March 19, at 6 p.m. in a game that will air live on CBS Sports Network.

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Fletcher, Runkel strong as Loyola tops Army in low scoring affair

Posted on 15 March 2014 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland goalkeeper Jack Runkel made 19 saves on 45 U.S. Military Academy shots, and defender Joe Fletcher picked up five ground balls, as the second-ranked Greyhounds held off the Black Knights for a 7-6 Patriot League win on Saturday afternoon in front of 2,624 fans at Ridley Athletic Complex.

In addition to his ground balls, several of which came at key moments in the action, Fletcher held his Army’s leading scorer, John Glessner who entered the game with 15 goals and seven assists, to two goals on 22 shots.

Loyola (6-1 overall, 3-0 Patriot League) entered the game ranked third nationally in shooting percentage, scoring on 37.9 percent of their shots this season. The Black Knights’ defense, which was first in the nation in scoring defense by allowing just 5.33 goals in their first six games, held the Greyhounds to just 20 percent from the field (seven goals on 35 shots), its worst mark of the year.

After Loyola scored the first two goals of the game, Army (4-3, 2-1) evened the game with just eight-tenths of a second left in the first period. Glessner, a high school teammate of Fletcher’s at West Genesse High School in Syracuse, went on the run down the right alley and snuck a hard shot inside the far post to tie the game at 3-3.

A scoreless second quarter that saw Runkel make five saves and Army’s Sam Somers post three, Army took a 4-3 lead 2:23 into the third quarter when Shea Mullins scored his second of the game. Mullins rolled right-to-left 12 yards out and tallied a goal with a sidearm shot.

Later in the third quarter, the Greyhounds had a protracted offensive possession, extended by Pat Frazier and Fletcher pickups after balls rolled to or over the midfield line.

Somers made a save on a Brian Schultz shot from the left side, but the ball rebouned out of the crease and into traffic. An Army defender came up with the ball momentarily, but it was jostled away,Kevin Ryan picked up the loose ball and scored his second of the game to tie the score at 4-4 with 6:53 left in the frame.

Loyola went back in front with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter as Justin Ward fed Schultz who was rolling the crease. Schultz got topside and scored to push the Greyhounds up one.

Nearly a third of the way into the fourth quarter, Army went a man-down after an unnecessary roughness call, and the Black Knights were forced to play two short after a cross-check was flagged during the playout of the extra-man opportunity.

Ward used the two-man advantage to the Greyhounds’ benefit, shooting a hard pass from the point to Nikko Pontrello on the top left of the crease, and Pontrello shot-faked Somers to score at 10:45.

Less than two minutes later, Loyola pressed out to its largest lead of the game, 7-4, when it recorded a transition goal.

Runkel made a save on a Glessner shot, and Fletcher picked up the ground ball as it rebounded out of the crease. Defender Pat Frazier made the run into the offensive box for Loyola, and Pat Laconifound him posted up four yards in front of the goal. Frazier scored his first career goal at 8:52, giving the Greyhounds a three-goal lead.

Minutes later, Somers stopped a Schultz right-side attempt, but Zack Sirico came up with a ground ball in front of the crease from his knees. Sirico flipped an over-the shoulder shot from the ground, but Somers was there again to make the save.

Somers sent an outlet over the top, and Army’s Jimbo D’Aprile ran the ball into the offensive end. He found Glessner on the doorstep of the left side, and he finished with his second goal of the game at 4:22.

Loyola looked to run more time off the clock, but Pat Hart caused a turnover for the Black Knights. In transition, Tim Stackpole took a shot, but a Loyola defender checked his stick. The ball floated right to Will Mazzone on the close left side, and Mazzone scored at 2:18 to make it a 7-6 Loyola lead.

Army won the ensuing faceoff, but Glessner’s first attempt was high, and Runkel saved the second to give the Greyhounds possession.

Loyola successfully cleared the ball, and Ward broke out of a triple-team at the top left corner of the box. He threw a lob pass to Shultz on the opposite side of the crease, and Schultz dumped a one-time shot on goal. Somers, however, came sliding across to make a save, and Army cleared the ball with 30 seconds to play in regulation.

An initial Glessner attempt went wide left, and the Black Knights took a timeout with just over six seconds left on the clock. Glessner tried to speed-dodge Fletcher from the end line, but he could not get an angle, and his shot went wide right and out of bounds with just over a second left.

Led by the five from Fletcher, Loyola had a 34-25 advantage in ground balls, a mark that was 20-11 in the second half.

The Greyhounds scored the first two goals of the game, opening up with a Ryan extra-man goal off a Ward assist at 13:01. Laconi then struck in transition at 10:34 after causing a turnover, picking up a ground ball and running a one-man clear.

Mullins scored Army’s first at 5:54, but Pontrello posted up on his defender and scored from the left side at 2:41 to put the Greyhounds up, 3-1.

Gunnar Miller used a long-range bouncer to pull Army within a goal with 60 seconds left in the first quarter before Glesener’s first strike tied the game.

The Greyhounds are back in action quickly as they travel to Washington, D.C., for a 6 p.m. faceoff at Georgetown University on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. The game from Multi-Sport Field will air live on CBS Sports Network.

 

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Loyola lacrosse players sweep Patriot League weekly awards

Posted on 10 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Sawyer, Fletcher, Runkel Grab Patriot League Weekly Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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