|Opponent||NCAA Semifinals | Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|Date||Saturday, May 26, 2012|
|Location||Foxborough, Mass. | Gillette Stadium|
|TV | Radio||ESPN2 | ESPN3 | Sirius XM 91|
|Series Record||Loyola leads, 13-6|
|Last Meeting||Notre Dame 11, Loyola 9 – March 6, 2010 – M&T Bank Stad.|
Loyola University Maryland will make its third appearance in the NCAA Semifinals on Saturday, May 26, 2012, when it takes on the University of Notre Dame at 2:30 p.m.
The team will faceoff on the field at Gillette Stadium, home of the National Football League’s New England Patriots, in Foxborough, Mass. The winner of the game will face the winner of the other national semifinal between Duke and Maryland.
On The Tube, Web And Radio
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Eamon McAnaney and Quint Kessenich calling the action. Paul Carcaterra will be the sideline analyst.
The action can also be seen worldwide on ESPN3, the broadband arm of the ESPN, and on the WatchESPN app on mobile devices.
Westwood One Sports/Dial Global will provide the NCAA Radio Network broadcast of the Championships with Dave Ryan on the play-by-play and Steve Panarelli on analysis. It can be heard on Sirius/XM 91 worldwide. A complete list of stations can be found at dialglobalsports.com.
Loyola and Notre Dame will meet for the 20th time in series history on Saturday and the third time in NCAA Championships play. Loyola holds a 13-6 advantage in the all-time series, but the Fighting Irish have won the last four meetings and six of the last nine. (Complete series history on page six of the notes)
The teams last played on March 6, 2010, in another NFL stadium. They met at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the Ravens, in the Konica-Minolta Face-Off Classic where Notre Dame came away with an 11-9 victory. In all, this will mark the third time the teams have played in an NFL venue. They also faced off in the 1998 IKON Classic at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, former home of the Baltimore Colts.
The last seven meetings in the series have been decided by a total of nine goals with five of the games coming down to a one-goal difference.
Loyola and Notre Dame have played twice in the NCAA Championships, both in the first round, and each team has been the victor once. The Fighting Irish defeated the Greyhounds, 15-12, in Baltimore in the 2000 First Round, and Loyola was a 21-5 first-round winner in 1997.
NCAA Championships History
Loyola is making its 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 18th at the Division I level. The Greyhounds are 10-19 all-time in Championships play, 10-17 at the Division I level.
Saturday’s game will be the Greyhounds third appearance in the NCAA Semifinals, first since 1998 when then lost 19-8 to Maryland in Piscataway, N.J. Loyola is 1-1 in NCAA Semifinal games having defeated Yale, 14-13 in overtime, in 1990 to advance to the title game.
Sawyer Sets Goals Record
Mike Sawyer scored the first goal of Loyola’s NCAA Quarterfinal game last Saturday and broke the school single-season record for goals in the process.
Sawyer now has 51 goals this season, breaking the previous best of 50 set by Tim Goettelmann in 2000. Goettelmann went on to become Major League Lacrosse’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Earlier this season, against Hobart, he became the first Loyola player to reach 40 goals in a season since Tim Goettelmann and Gavin Prout scored 50 and 41, respectively, in 2000. They are the only three Loyola players to top 40 this century.
In the ECAC Semifinal against Denver, Sawyer pushed his season point total to 50, a number that is now at 59, making him the first Greyhound to reach 50 in a season since Prout had 58 (37g, 21a) in 2001. It is the fourth time this century that a Loyola player has scored 50 or more points in a season. Goettelmann (65) and Prout (53) both reached the mark in 2000, and Prout did it again the following season. Sawyer’s teammate, Eric Lusby, has since joined him with more than 50 points (more later).
Lusby Right Behind After 5-Goal Game
After tying his career-high with five goals in the Greyhounds 10-9 victory over Denver, Eric Lusby leads the team with 61 points and is not far behind Mike Sawyer in the goals column with 45.
Lusby recorded a career-high seven points in the win over the Pioneers and was involved in all but three of the Greyhounds goals after recording two assists. He scored back-to-back goals twice, once during the second quarter and again in the third.
Loyola completed a three-game sweep of Denver with its 10-9 NCAA Quarterfinal victory last Saturday, marking the first time in school history the Greyhounds had ever played a team three times in a season.
It is the third time a team has beaten another three times in a season (thanks to Patrick Stevens of The Washington Times for the research). Loyola joins the 1992 Maryland (vs. Duke), 2007 Duke (vs. North Carolina) and 2009 Duke (vs. North Carolina) teams to have accomplished the feat.
Loyola’s J.P. Dalton dominated the faceoff ‘X’ on Saturday against Denver, winning 17-of-22 (.772) against Denver’s Chase Carraro. It was a vast departure from the first two times the teams squared off where the Pioneers went a combined 30-of-45 (.667).
In the regular-season meeting between the teams, Carraro was 13-of-14 at the X, and he went 16-of 29 against the Greyhounds in the ECAC Semifinal game.
Dalton’s 17 wins were one off his career-high set earlier this season against Air Force.
Sawyer, Lusby Form Rare Tandem
Graduate student Eric Lusby and junior Mike Sawyer have formed the top attack tandem in the nation this season, combining for 96 goals in 17 games this season, an average of 5.65 per game.
Sawyer has scored 51 goals, and his 3.0 goals per game average is third-best in Division I. Lusby, meanwhile is right behind with 45 goals and a 2.65 goals per game mark, a number that is 11th in the country. Loyola is one of two schools to have two players in the top 11 of goals per game nationally (Robert Morris).
The Greyhounds have not had two players score 40 or more goals in the same season since 2000 when Tim Goettelmann set the school single-season record with 50, and Gavin Prout tallied 41. As a side note, the Goettelmann-Prout duo has gone on to highly successful professional careers. Goettelman recently retired from Major League Lacrosse as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 268 goals in 11 seasons. Prout has been an MLL Champion and has scored 314 National Lacrosse League goals to go with 625 assists as a multiple-time all-star.
The duo is now the top goal-scoring tandem in Loyola single-season history, eclipsing the performance in 2000 by Goettelmann and Prout.
Two Over 40/50
Mike Sawyer (51g, 59p) and Eric Lusby (45g, 62p) became the first set of Loyola teammates to score 40 goals and 50 points in a season since Tim Goettelmann (50, 65) and Gavin Prout (41, 53) accomplished the feat in 2000.
They are one of only two duos in the nation this year – Robert Morris’ Kiel Matisz (40, 64) and Jake Hayes (42, 61) are the other – to post 40 and 50.
A Lot Of Everything
The adage that a player does a little bit of everything does not necessarily apply to long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff. The Loyola junior does a lot, as he leads the team in ground balls (79) and caused turnovers (34), is fifth in goals (12) and is seventh in assists (7). His 34 caused turnovers are second-most in Loyola history – behind P.T. Ricci’s 51 in 2009 – since the stats became official in 2008.
A Tewaaraton Award nominee earlier in the year, Ratliff was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Championships after scoring three goals, one a game-winner, and recording two assists and 16 ground balls.
He had two goals, including the winner just eight seconds into overtime, and an assist versus Denver while picking up a career-high nine ground balls.
Ratliff, who was also an All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, then scored twice in the first quarter against Canisius to go along with six ground balls and three faceoff wins in the game.
Scott Ratliff had his third multi-goal game of the season in the NCAA First Round against Canisius, and he then added a goal in the Quarterfinal against Denver, raising his season totals to 12 goals and seven assists.
With his game-opening goal against the Golden Griffins, he set the Loyola single-season record for long-pole scoring, surpassing the record of 16 points set by current assistant coach Matt Dwan his senior season in 1995 when he tallied 11 goals and five assists and earned All-America honors.
Ratliff is second nationally this season in goals and points by a long pole, and his seven assists are tops in the country. Bryant’s Mason Poli leads all long poles this year with 19 goals and 24 points.
Ward Dishes Out Assists
Justin Ward was credited with two assists in the NCAA Quarterfinal against Denver, raising his season total to 30, and his 1.76 assists per game are now tied for 19th nationally. Those numbers are tops among the remaining players on the four teams in the NCAA Semifinals.
Ward is the first Loyola player this century to reach 30 assists, and his total is the most since Brian Duffy had 34 in 1996.
NCAA Semifinals Connections
Kevin Ryan’s family will have a rare connection to Loyola’s place in the NCAA Semifinals historically after this weekend. Ryan, who scored an EMO goal in the Quarterfinals against Denver, is the cousin of Sean Quinn and Kevin Quinn who played on Loyola’s semifinal teams in 1990 and 1998, respectively. Sean was a starting defender on the 1990 team, and Kevin a midfielder on the 1998 team.
Phil Dobson, a Loyola midfielder, will face his older brother, Devon, for the first time on a collegiate lacrosse field. Devon is a defensive midfielder for the Fighting Irish.
Loyola entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 1 seed for the third time in school history. The Greyhounds were also the top seed in 1998 when they defeated Georgetown, 12-11, in the Quarterfinals to move on to the Final Four for the second time in school history. There, the Greyhounds lost, 19-8, to Maryland. They were then the No. 1 seed in 1999 when they fell in the Quarterfinals to Syracuse, 17-12.
School Record In Wins
Loyola’s victory over Denver in the NCAA Quarterfinals was its 16th of the season, setting a school record for victories in a year. The Greyhounds eclipsed the previous best of 13 that the 1998 squad achieved with a 13-2 record.
This is Loyola’s 15th season all-time with 10 or more wins with 12 coming since the Greyhounds joined Division I in 1982.
Loyola used 13 unanswered goals to break open a 4-3 halftime lead against Canisius in a 17-5 victory over the Golden Griffins in the NCAA Championships First Round.
The Greyhounds took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter before Canisius scored three unanswered in the second. Mike Sawyer corralled a rebound of an Eric Lusby shot off the pipe and scored 1:20 into the second quarter to start the run. During the stretch, Sawyer scored all five of his goals, and Lusby had two of his three.
The run was the second longest in the brief, three-year history of Ridley Athletic Complex. Only a 14-0 run to start the game on March 20, 2010, against Air Force had more goals.
The Hardware Department
In the span of seven days, three teams in Loyola’s Department of Athletics advanced to their respective NCAA Championships by winning titles in three different conferences.
The men’s golf team started the trend with its fifth-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crown on April 29, and the men’s lacrosse team followed by taking the ECAC title on May 4. The women’s lacrosse team completed the trifecta on May 5 when it defeated then-No. 2 Syracuse to win its second-straight BIG EAST Championship. Also, in March, Loyola’s men’s basketball team won its first MAAC title in 18 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994.
Sawyer Named One Of Five Tewaaraton Finalists
Mike Sawyer was named one of five Tewaaraton Award finalists on Thursday, joining Colgate A Peter Baum, Duke LSM C.J. Costabile, Massachusetts A Will Manny and Virginia A Steele Stanwick.
Sawyer is the first Loyola men’s player to be named a finalist, and he is also the first player from to hail the State of North Carolina to be so honored. He was one of three Greyhounds on the Tewaaraton Watch List where he was joined by Eric Lusby and Scott Ratliff, and Ratliff was a fellow semifinalist. The Award, which is given annually to the top player in college lacrosse, will be presented on May 31 at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Loyola’s first midfield line of Davis Butts (19g, 32p), Sean O’Sullivan (16, 27) and Chris Layne (11, 21) has combined for 46 goals and 34 assists this season, while the second midfield unit of Pat Byrnes (9, 7), J.P. Dalton (9, 4) and Phil Dobson (7, 2) has added 25 and 13. Additionally, Nikko Pontrello has started to mix in with the second midfield, allowing Loyola’s attackers the opportunity to invert, and he has four goals and six assists.
Spreading Out The Scoring Wealth
Loyola’s first 11 goals against Denver in the ECAC Semifinal night were scored by 11 different players. Eric Lusby, Phil Dobson and Scott Ratliff finished the game with two goals, and eight others had one.
All three members of the Greyhounds’ first midfield – Davis Butts, Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan – scored goals. They received four goals from the four players who make up the second midfield line – Dobson (2), Pat Byrnes and Nikko Pontrello (J.P. Dalton did not score). Extra-man attackman Kevin Ryan scored, and two of the team’s three attackmen – Mike Sawyer and Lusby (2) – recorded goals. Ratliff scored twice in transition, and short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins added one. The Greyhounds’ other attack player, Justin Ward, did not score but had a game-high three assists.
In the title game, 10 different players scored for Loyola with all three attackers scoring and two of three from the first midfield like tallying goals.
Twelve In A Row Ties Mark
Loyola’s 12-straight to start the season tied the school record for consecutive victories, matching the number put up by the 1998 (3/14-3/17) and 1999 (3/6-3/8).
It also matched the best start to a season, equaling the 1999 team that finished the regular-season unblemished at 12-0.
Toomey Tabbed ECAC Coach Of The Year
Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey was named the ECAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven-year career. This season, Toomey has guided the Greyhounds to a 16-1 mark during the regular-season and the ECAC regular-season crown with a 6-0 mark in conference play.
The Greyhounds became the second team in USILA Coaches Poll history to start a season unranked and ascend to the No. 1 spot in the rankings. The only other team was Duke in 2007 – a year after the Blue Devils had their season suspended in March – which accomplished the feat after being unranked in the first poll, moving to second in the next version and first in the third. Duke was knocked from its perch as No. 1 that season when it lost to the Greyhounds at the First Four in San Diego.
The win over Denver in the Quarterfinals was the 60th victory of his coaching career, becoming the fourth coach in Loyola history to win 60 or more – Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001), Charles Wenzel (62-104, 1954-1970), Jay Connor (61-46, 1975-1982). Toomey’s .619 winning percentage trails only Cottle’s .721 at Loyola.
Five Loyola players earned All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors form the conference’s coaches. Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff, who was also named ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, earned a spot as a defender on the First Team, where he was joined by Mike Sawyer on attack and Davis Butts in the midfield.
Sawyer led the ECAC during the regular-season, and is now third nationally, in goals (51) and goals per game (3.0). Butts has scored 19 goals and assisted on 13 from the Greyhounds first midfield line while also regularly playing a role on the wings during face-offs with 38 ground balls.
Attack Eric Lusby and defender Joe Fletcher were tabbed to the All-ECAC Second Team. Lusby is second on the team and is 11th nationally with 45 goals (2.68 per game), and he also has 16 assists this season. Fletcher came on as one of the top lock-down defenders around, earning Midseason All-American honors from Inside Lacrosse last month. He has 32 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers entering the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its 17 games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. In all, Loyola has scored three or more in a row on 34 occasions this season.
Loyola scored the first four goals of the ECAC Semifinal game against Denver and then tallied three-straight after the Pioneers pulled within 4-2. The Greyhounds then reeled off five in a row during the third quarter to take a 13-6 lead.
In the ECAC title game, Loyola used an 8-1 run that was comprised of runs of 3-0 and 5-0 to take control of the game.
On The Flip Side
Conversely, the Greyhounds have allowed a run of three or more goals just 12 times this year, with the most recent coming when Canisius scored three in the second quarter. Only Denver (seven in ECAC Semifinal), Johns Hopkins (five), Fairfield (five), Air Force (four) have scored more than three in a row this year.
On The EMO
This season, the Greyhounds are ranked second in the nation in man-up offense, scoring 48-percent of the time (24-of-50). Only Lehigh (.553) has a better mark this year. Loyola dropped below 50-percent for the first time this year by going 4-of-10 in the game against Denver.
The last time Loyola finished at or above .500 in man-up offense was in 1997 when it converted 39-of-77 (.506).
The Greyhounds have now outscored opponents 63-22 in the third quarters of games and 117-61 overall this year in the second half (including overtime).
The second-half scoring continues a trend from the last two seasons. Last year, Loyola outscored opponents, 69-52, after halftime (including two overtime goals), and 77-56 two years ago.