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Loyola tries to continue win streak Thursday against Bucknell

Posted on 16 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Bucknell Bison

Thursday, April 17, 2014  |  7:00 p.m.

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland plays its second-straight home game on Thursday, April 17, when it closes its Patriot League regular-season schedule at 7 o’clock against Bucknell University.

The Greyhounds are 5-0 this season, and 23-7 all-time at Ridley Athletic Complex.

With its 15-6 win last Saturday against Boston University, the Greyhounds earned at least a share of the Patriot League Regular-Season title and secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Championships and will host the event on April 25 and 27.

Justin Ward became the program’s single-season assist leader at the Division I level. He has 39 through 12 games this season, tying for seventh-most in Patriot League single-season history.

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

Pat Laconi is the top non-pole player nationally in caused turnovers (22) and caused turnovers per game (1.83) through games of April 13.

Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello are both second nationally in assists (3.25) and goals per game (3.33), respectively.

 

Last Time Out

Nikko Pontrello and Kevin Ryan each had three-goal games, and Loyola clinched its first-ever Patriot League Regular-Season title last Saturday with a 15-6 victory over Boston University at Ridley Athletic Complex.

The Greyhounds led 4-1 at halftime, but Boston University got within two 1:04 into the second half before Loyola went on a 4-0 run that broke the game open.

Graham Savio won 17-of-25 faceoffs and had six ground balls in the game, as Loyola controlled the possession battle, picking up 47 ground balls to the Terriers’ 23.

Savio had a slim 4-of-7 advantage in the first half, but he then won 5-of-9 in the third quarter and 8-of-9 in the fourth.

In addition to his three goals, Pontrello had a five-point night with two assists, while Ryan had an assist, too. Brian Schultz scored twice and assisted on one, and Justin Ward recorded three assists against Boston University.

Five Greyhounds had five or more groundballs in the game, led by Savio’s six. Ward, Joe Fletcher, Ryan Fournier and Pat Laconi each picked up five.

 

Turn On The Television

Thursday’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 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 life. Loyola’s games versus Duke University and at Georgetown University were also on the network.

 

In The Polls

With Saturday’s win against Boston University, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the fourth 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 Bucknell for the fourth time in series history but the first since April 2, 1983 when the Greyhounds defeated the Bison, 15-8. Loyola is 3-0 all-time in the series that was played in 1981, 1982 and 1983; a fourth game was scheduled for the 1984 season, but it was postponed due to weather and not rescheduled.

 

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 Boston University, 15-8, on Saturday, Loyola has won 81.5 percent of those games (53-12).

 

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 40-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 11-1 this season) for a .851 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .917 this season is the best nationally.

Only Duke has won more games (42) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by more than seven percent (42-12, .778).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through games of Monday, April 14, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is second in Division I with 40 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 39 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 99 combined points (Ward, 51; Pontrello, 48). Albany’s Lyle (73) and Miles (67) have a combined 140.

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher is second on Loyola in ground balls, total (54) and per game (4.50), 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. He has caused 22 this season while averaging 1.83 per game. He is 13th in the nation, and the 12 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 39 assists in 12 games. With his third and final assist last Saturday 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 (39), and he is also second in the country and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.25 assists per game this year.

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 record 100.

Ward now has 106 career assists. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also seventh in school Division I history in total points with 157, one away from tying John Carroll (1984-87) for sixth 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 last Saturday versus Boston University. Through games of Monday, April 14, Pontrello is second in the nation in total goals with 40.

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 and Boston University.

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 Greyhound and the Patriot League with 40 goals and is second behind Justin Ward for the team- and League-lead with 48 points through 12 games.

He leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in goals per game (3.33), while he is second and 14th 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 .638 mark, saving 118 out of 185 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 7.02 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .608 through 12 games. He is third in the nation in both saves percentage and  goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.73 goals against average and .562 saves percentage; he is fifth in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982) with 419 career saves. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 38-6. 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 54 ground balls and caused turnovers (18). His 63 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 54 ground balls and 4.50 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,  and one of each versus Boston University bringing his season totals to seven goals and three assists. He now has 12 goals and 12 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 22 caused turnovers this season have brought his career total to 63, fourth-most in school history.

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.42 through 12 contests. The Greyhounds have committed 1.33 fewer turnovers per game than the second-place team in the nation, Towson, a team that committed 18 turnovers earlier this year against Loyola.

The Greyhounds also lead the nation in clearing percentage at .940.

 

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 (13.25) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.17) are fourth. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.08).

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.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 12 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 21 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 21 goals, second-most on the team through 12 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 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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Loyola’s Fletcher, Ward named Senior CLASS Award Finalists

Posted on 02 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher, Ward Named Senior CLASS Award Finalists

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Loyola University Maryland co-captains Joe Fletcher (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesee H.S.) and Justin Ward (Glen Burnie, Md./Old Mill H.S.) have been named two of 10 finalists for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award, making Loyola the only school with a pair of finalists.

“Justin and Joe continue to show why they are two of the best lacrosse players in the game, and their being named finalists for this award is a great recognition of all they have accomplished on and off the field,” said Charley Toomey, Loyola’s head coach.

The Patriot League is represented by three of the 10 finalists Lehigh University’s Ty Souders joins Fletcher and Ward. The other finalists, who were culled from an initial list of 20 nominees, are Troy Dennis (University of Detroit), John LoCascio (Villanova University), Michael Ehrhardt (University of Maryland), Stephen O’Hara (University of Notre Dame), Rob Emery (University of Virginia) and Tom Schreiber (Princeton University).

This marks the second year in a row that Loyola has placed at least one student-athlete on the list of finalists, following Scott Ratliff’s inclusion last year.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Fans can vote daily on the Senior CLASS Award website to help select the winner. Fan voting, which continues through May 12, will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore May 24-26.

Fletcher and Ward have continued to lead the No. 1-ranked Greyhounds on and off the field this season. Loyola is 9-1 overall, 5-0 in the Patriot League, entering Saturday’s game at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Through the first 10 games of the season, Ward is pacing the Greyhounds with 44 points. He has scored 11 goals and is second nationally with 33 assists. Earlier this season, he became Loyola’s all-time Division I leader in career assists, and last Saturday he tallied the 100th helper of his four years with the Greyhounds.

In addition to his list-leading status in career assists, he is tied for ninth in school Division I history (since 1982) in total points with 150. His 33 assists this year are already fifth-most on the school’s single-season Division I leader chart, five shy of tying Sean Heffernan’s 1994 record.

Ward is also a member of Loyola’s SAAC and serves as the group’s Director of Media. With Fletcher, he is participating in the Loyola Leadership Academy with Janssen Sports Leadership. Ward has participated in community outreach with Loyola’s York Road Initiative and is a volunteer with the homeless shelter at his family’s church, Glen Burnie United Methodist Church.

Fletcher has continued to be a leader of the Greyhounds’ defense that is ranked fourth in Division I by allowing only 7.4 goals per game. While drawing one-on-one defensive responsibilities for some of the game’s top attackers, Fletcher is second on the team and tops amongst close defenders with 44 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers.

The day before the 2014 campaign kicked off, Fletcher was named to the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Team 30-man roster for this summer’s Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship in Denver. He will now view for one of the 23 spots of those who will take the field for the Red, White and Blue.

Off the field, Fletcher is one of the most involved students on the Loyola campus. He is co-president of the Greyhounds’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society – a group of 14 students that serves as a liaison to the school’s president, cabinet and board of trustees – and he has volunteered his time with many service projects throughout the campus.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

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Loyola looks for seventh straight Saturday against Lafayette

Posted on 21 March 2014 by WNST Staff

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

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

Last Time Out

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

Follow The Action    

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

In The Polls    

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

Series History    

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

Get To Ten    

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

Since 2012    

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

Chart Toppers    

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

Pontrello Putting Up Points    

  • Nikko Pontrello had his eighth multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Saturday when he scored three in the second half against Georgetown. Through games of Wednesday, March 19, Pontrello leads the nation in total goals with 29.
  • He scored two in the season-opener at Virginia and then had three against Penn State and Towson before scoring a career-high six goals at Holy Cross. He then tallied four at Lehigh and five against Duke.
  • Two of his goals have been game-winners in one-goal contests. Pontrello scored 19 seconds into overtime to give Loyola a 12-11 win at Penn State, and he then tallied one with 51.4 seconds left in regulation to push the Greyhounds past Georgetown, 10-9.
  • Pontrello leads the Greyhounds with 29 goals and 34 points through eight games. He has already eclipsed his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.
  • He leads the Patriot League and is fourth nationally in goals per game (3.65), while he is first and 12th in points per game (4.43).

Stopping Shots    

  • After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .646 mark, saving 82 out of 127 shots on goal he’s faced. In a six-game stretch  against Towson, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Duke and Army, Runkel made 61 saves and allowed just 26 goals (.701).
  • The senior goalkeeper, who earned 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament honors, has a goals against average of 7.51 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .603 through five games. He has moved up to fourth in the nation in saves percentage and seventh in goals against average.
  • In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.89 goals against average and .557 saves percentage; his record between the pipes is 34-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 40 victories. Amato (as of Monday), however, Amato is a four-year starter, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.
  • Runkel picked up his fourth-straight Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honor on March 17, becoming the first player in League history to win any of the weekly honors (Offensive, Defensive, Goalkeeper, Rookie) four-consecutive times.

Record-Setting Quarterback    

  • Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 20 assists in the last five contests. He leads the nation in total assists (26) and is third in the nation, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.25 assists per game this year.
  • With four assists against Duke – the second game in he posted that total – Ward set Loyola’s career Division I record (since 1982) in total assists, eclipsing the mark of 83 set from 1989-92 by Jim Blanding. Following his four at Georgetown, Ward now has 93 in his career. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also 12th in school Division I history in total points with 138.
  • Ward is in his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhound after earning USILA All-America Honorable Mention last year after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

On Target    

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

Man-Up Success    

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

Five-Plus For Two    

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

Games Of Runs    

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

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

Tripled Up    

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

Slowing Scorers    

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

Fletch, White And Blue    

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

Not Just Defensive Midfield    

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

Schultz Stepping Up    

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

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair    

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

Up Next    

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

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Loyola 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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Loyola looks to improve to 3-1 Saturday at Holy Cross

Posted on 21 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Holy Cross Crusaders

Saturday, February 22, 2014  |  1:00 p.m.

Worcester, Mass. | Holy Cross Field

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse makes its Patriot League debut on Saturday, February 22, when it travels to Worcester, Mass., for a 1 o’clock game at College of the Holy Cross.

The Greyhounds had played three-straight overtime games, dating to last season’s NCAA Tournament, but they snapped that streak in a big way Wednesday, defeating Towson, 20-4.

Wednesday was the second time in as many years that Loyola had scored 20 or more goals in a game. Last year, the Greyhounds beat UMBC, 21-9, at Ridley.

Loyola’s 16-goal margin of victory was the largest by a Greyhounds team since Loyola defeated Fairfield University, 19-2, on April 21, 2007. It was the largest margin of victory for a game at Ridley Athletic Complex, and behind the Fairfield game, it was the second largest during the nine-year tenure of Charley Toomey as Loyola’s head coach.

Eleven players scored goals for Loyola against Towson, six of them had two or more, three had goals and assists, and three others had assists.

Nikko Pontrello maintained his team-lead in points (13) with a four-goal, one-assist performance.

 

 

Last Time Out

After playing two overtime games to start the season, Loyola dispelled the notion of needing extra time for its third game, scoring nine goals in the first quarter, and 10-straight overall, in a 20-4 win over Towson University on Wednesday at RIdley Athletic Complex.

The Greyhounds took a 10-0 lead on Pat Laconi’s second-consecutive goal 1:38 into the second quarter, and after Towson got on the board at 11:41, Loyola reeled off a 7-0 run that gave it a 17-1 advantage on Nikko Pontrello’s fourth of the game with 11:50 to play in the final quarter.

The Greyhounds’ defense, led by eight Jack Runkel saves, held the Tigers scoreless for stretches of 16:38 and 30:57 in the game.

Loyola shot .750 in the first quarter, scoring on 9-of-12 shots, and .488 (20-of-41) in the game.

Blake Burkhart won 10-of-14 faceoffs for Loyola, all in the first half of the game.

When Towson did gain possession, Loyola had 16 caused turnovers, three each by Pat Laconi and Zack Sirico.

Five players had their first collegiate points in the game.

 

 

Follow The Action

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

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

 

In The Polls

Following the Greyhounds’ win at Penn State and an overtime loss at Virginia to start the year, Loyola moved up to ninth in the USILA Coaches’ Poll and 10th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse rankings.

 

Series History

Loyola and Holy Cross will meet for the first time on the lacrosse field when the teams take the field Saturday.

The Greyhounds are 14-6 all-time against teams from their new conference, having played Army, Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy in the past. Other than a series with Navy in 2010-2011, Loyola last played a Patriot League team in 1998 when it took on Lehigh.

 

Starting Off Strong

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

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

 

Burkhart On Restarts

After going just 2-of-10 on faceoffs in the Greyhounds first two games of the season, Blake Burkhart turned in a dominating performance on Wednesday against Towson. He finished 10-of-14 at the ‘X’, winning 7-of-9 in the first quarter as Loyola jumped out to a 9-0 lead.

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello had his third multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Wednesday when he matched his career-high with four goals against Towson. The junior attacker scored twice in the opener against Virginia, and he then recorded three versus Penn State. His final goal against the Nittany Lions came 19 seconds into overtime and lifted Loyola to a 12-11 win.

Pontrello leads the Greyhounds with 13 points through three games with nine goals and four assists. He is closing in on his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.

In his career, Loyola is now 5-0 in games that he scored three or more goals.

 

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 as many outings this year. Albrecht scored twice in the season-opener at Virginia, and he has recorded hat tricks with three each against Penn State and Towson. He is second on the team with eight goals, one behind Nikko Pontrello, the team leader.

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.

 

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.

Fletcher trained with Team USA throughout the fall, playing in two training weekends, the Play For Parkinson’s event in October and the Champion Challenge last month. He was one of seven defenders to make the 30-man roster.

In three games this year, Fletcher has nine ground balls and a team-high seven caused turnovers. He now has 120 ground balls and 52 caused turnovers during his career.

 

Stopping Shots

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

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

Runkel then directed the Loyola to a dominating performance against Towson. He made four saves in the first quarter and allowed just two goals over more than 54 minutes of action, stopping a total of eight shots.

 

Quarterbacking The Offense

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

With two assists in each of the last two games, Ward  has moved into fifth-place in Loyola’s Division I history with 73. He trails Mike Ruland in fourth place by three. Ward is now tied with his former teammate, and future Charlotte Hounds teammate, Eric Lusby for 19th in career points with 115.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

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

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

 

Dennis Grabs Patriot League Honor

Romar Dennis was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Monday after scoring a pair of goals in his first collegiate game at Virginia. Dennis tallied one in the first quarter and one in the fourth that tied the game at 12-12.

 

On The Tube

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

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

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

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

 

Preseason Prognostications

As a first-year member of the Patriot League, Loyola was picked to win the conference title in a poll of the League’s coaches and sports information contacts. The Greyhounds drew 13 of the possible 16 first-place votes (schools are not allowed to vote for themselves) and edged Bucknell for first.

Loyola and Bucknell were followed (in order) by Lehigh, Army, Colgate, Navy, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Boston U.

Joe Fletcher was named the Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, and he earned a spot with teammate Justin Ward on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

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Loyola welcomes Towson for matinee lacrosse Wednesday

Posted on 18 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Towson Tigers

Wednesday, February 19, 2014  |  3:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland takes on its most-played opponent on Wednesday, February 19, when it hosts Towson University at 3 p.m.

The game marks the start of the Greyhounds’ fifth season at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola and Towson will face each other for the 56th time in series history.

The Greyhounds, dating to last season, have played three-straight overtime games (at Duke in 2012 NCAA Tournament, at Virginia and at Penn State).

Through two games, 10 players have scored at least one goal for Loyola this season with seven of them tallying two or more. Of those goal scorers, only two of the 10 (Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello) entered the year with more than five career goals.

Nikko Pontrello and Tyler Albrecht lead Loyola with five goals each through two games this year. Both scored two in the opener and then had hat tricks at Penn State.

Justin Ward has five points on the season, with a goal and four assists, tying him for second on the team with Albrecht and Brian Schultz. He is now fifth in school D-I history in assists (71).

 

 

Last Time Out

The Greyhounds needed 19 seconds of overtime on Saturday to wrap up their first win of the season, as Nikko Pontrello sealed an 12-11 victory over then-No. 9 Penn State with a goal moments into extra time.

Pontrello finished with three goals and two assists, one of three Greyhounds to record hat tricks. His was the fourth three-or-more goal game of his career, while Tyler Albrecht and Jeff Chase both recorded their first.

Jack Runkel made 12 saves, five during the fourth quarter when Penn State reeled off 13 shots, in goal.

Loyola took an 11-7 lead on Pontrello’s second goal of the game 2:50 into the fourth quarter, but the Nittany Lions scored four unanswered to tie the game at 11-11 on an Erik Myers tally with 63 seconds left in regulation.

Brendan Donovan won the ensuing faceoff for the Greyhounds, but a shot by Justin Ward just before the buzzer went wide, sending the contest to overtime.

In the extra frame, Graham Savio won the faceoff for Loyola after a loose-ball push on the Nittany Lions. Pontrello dodged his way to the crease and finished the shot for his third goal.

 

 

Follow The Action

Wednesday’s game, and all non-televised home games, will be broadcast on the Patriot League Network. Many 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

Following the Greyhounds’ win at Penn State and an overtime loss at Virginia to start the year, Loyola moved up to ninth in the USILA Coaches’ Poll and 10th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse rankings.

 

Series History

The Loyola-Towson rivalry is the most played series in the history of men’s lacrosse at both schools. Wednesday’s game will be the 56th all-time meeting between the teams, dating back to 1959, the first year of intercollegiate lacrosse at Towson.

Of Loyola’s opponents, only Towson (55), Johns Hopkins (51) and Penn State (51) have played the Greyhounds 50 or more times.

With its sixth-straight victory in the series, dating back to 2008, Loyola took a one-game lead in the all-time series record at 28-27 with a 14-9 victory on February 20, 2013 at Towson.

In last year’s game, Mike Sawyer scored four goals for the second year in a row against the Tigers, and Justin Ward had a four-point night with a goal and three assists. Kevin Ryan also had his first career multi-goal game with two to go with an assist. Blake Burkhart won 17-of-28 faceoffs for the Greyhounds.

 

New Year, New League

Loyola officially became a member of the 10-school Patriot League on July 1, 2013, less than a year after announcing it would join the conference in August 2012. The Greyhounds joined the League along with Boston University, increasing the full-time membership to 10.

The Greyhounds will compete in men’s lacrosse with Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy. American University is also a full member of the League, but the school does not sponsor men’s lacrosse.

 

On The Tube

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

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

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

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

 

Preseason Prognostications

As a first-year member of the Patriot League, Loyola was picked to win the conference title in a poll of the League’s coaches and sports information contacts. The Greyhounds drew 13 of the possible 16 first-place votes (schools are not allowed to vote for themselves) and edged Bucknell for first.

Loyola and Bucknell were followed (in order) by Lehigh, Army, Colgate, Navy, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Boston U.

Joe Fletcher was named the Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, and he earned a spot with teammate Justin Ward on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

 

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.

Fletcher trained with Team USA throughout the fall, playing in two training weekends, the Play For Parkinson’s event in October and the Champion Challenge last month. He was one of seven defenders to make the 30-man roster.

 

In The Nikko Of Time

Nikko Pontrello tallied his fourth career hat trick last Saturday, and first of the season, scoring 19 seconds into overtime to lift the Greyhounds to a 12-11 victory at then-No. 9 Penn State. He also added a pair of assists versus the Nittany Lions that were initially misatributed to Justin Ward.

The junior attacker is tied for the team lead with five goals this season after finishing his sophomore campaign with 16, and he tops the club with eight points. Loyola improved to 4-0 in games that Pontrello records three or more goals.

 

Albrecht, Chase With First Three-Goal Games

Two other players also recorded hat tricks on Saturday against the Nittany Lions, but unlike NIkko Pontrello, it was the first of Tyler Albrecht and Jeff Chase’s careers.

Albrecht is tied with Pontrello for the team lead with five goals after scoring twice in the opener at Virginia, while Chase’s goals were the first three of his career.

Albrecht scored one goal in each of the first three quarters, while Chase tallied his first on an extra-man possession in the first before recording back-to-back goals in the third quarter.

 

Possession Battle

Much like Graham Savio did at the faceoff ‘X’ in the season-opener at Virginia, Brendan Donovan gave the Greyhounds a spark in the second half on restarts. The senior from nearby Loyola Blakefield High School won four of the seven he took, including drawing one to himself with just over a minute to go after the Nittany Lions had tied the game at 11-11.

 

Stopping Shots

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

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

 

Quarterbacking The Offense

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

With two assists, one off his career-high, last Saturday at Penn State, Ward moved into fifth-place in Loyola’s Division I history with 71. He trails Mike Ruland in fourth place by five. Ward also is tied with Gavin Prout for 20th in school Division I history with 111 career points.

 

Dennis Grabs Patriot League Honor

Romar Dennis was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Monday after scoring a pair of goals in his first collegiate game at Virginia. Dennis tallied one in the first quarter and one in the fourth that tied the game at 12-12.

 

Fresh Faces

Three Loyola players scored their first collegiate goals in the first quarter of the Greyhounds’ game at Virginia. Brian Sherlock, Tyler Albrecht and Romar Dennis all tallied the first of their careers as Loyola worked to a 4-4 tie after 15 minutes.

Of the eight players who scored for Loyola, six of them entered the game with four or fewer career goals. Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello were the only two with more than four.

In addition to Albrecht and Dennis, Jack Carrigan (defense), Ryan Fournier (rope unit) and Graham Savio (face-off) all made their Loyola and collegiate debuts.

Four players – Albrecht, David Manning (defense), Brian Schultz (attack) and Sherlock – all made their first career starts.

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Loyola looks for first win Saturday at Penn State

Posted on 14 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Penn State Nittany Lions

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

University Park, Pa. | Holuba Hall

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland renews a rivalry that is the third most-played in program history when it takes on Penn State University at 1 p.m. in University Park, Pa., on Saturday, February 15.

The game has been moved inside to Holuba Hall.

In the Greyhounds’ first game against No. 7 Virginia, five Greyhounds scored two goals,and five had three points. Of those players, three had their first multi-goal games, and two had their first multi-point outings.

Loyola returns five starters (attackers Nikko Pontrello and Justin Ward, defenders Joe Fletcher and Pat Frazier and goalkeeper Jack Runkel), as well as two of the top four players on the rope unit (short-stick midfielders Pat Laconi and Kyle Duffy) from last year’s team that finished with an 11-5 record.

This year’s three co-captains were all named to the Preseason All-American teams: Fletcher (1st), Ward (2nd), Laconi (HM).

Loyola, which is in its first year as a member of the Patriot League, was picked to win the conference. Fletcher and Ward were named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

 

 

Last Time Out

Loyola opened its 2013 season on Thursday, February 6, at the University of Virginia. The teams were tied, 4-4, after the first quarter, but the seventh-ranked Cavaliers held Loyola scoreless for the next two frames, and Virginia went into the fourth quarter with a 12-4 advantage.

The Greyhounds scored nine-straight goals in the fourth quarter to take a 13-12 lead on a Tyler Albrecht goal with 17.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

Virginia won the ensuing faceoff, and Ryan Tucker converted on a 10-plus yard shot that officials ruled crossed the goal line with one-tenth of a second remaining, forcing overtime.

Virginia then earned the win on a James Pannell goal midway through the extra period.

Five Loyola players – Tyler Albrecht, Romar Dennis, Nikko Pontrello, Matt Sawyer and Brian Schultz – all scored two goals. Another five players – Pontrello, Sawyer, Schultz, Brian Sherlock and Justin Ward – had five goals.

Of the eight Loyola players (the aforementioned and Kyle Duffy) who scored goals in the game, six of them entered with four or fewer career goals.

 

 

Follow The Action

No livestream will be available of the game, but live stats will be available on LoyolaGreyhounds.com.

 

In The Polls

Loyola opened the 2014 season ranked 12th in the USILA Coaches Poll and 16th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Rankings.

Penn State, which won its season opener against the University of Michigan, was slotted ninth in the coaches’ poll and seventh in the media version.

 

Series History

Loyola and Penn State will meet for the 51st time, but 2009, when the teams take the field Saturday. The Nittany Lions, who are third only to Towson (54) and Johns Hopkins (51) in games played against the Greyhounds, lead the series, 26-23-1. Loyola won the last four meetings when the teams were ECAC Lacrosse League foes.

 

New Year, New League

Loyola officially became a member of the 10-school Patriot League on July 1, 2013, less than a year after announcing it would join the conference in August 2012. The Greyhounds joined the League along with Boston University, increasing the full-time membership to 10.

The Greyhounds will compete in men’s lacrosse with Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy. American University is also a full member of the League, but the school does not sponsor men’s lacrosse.

 

On The Tube

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

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

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

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

 

Preseason Prognostications

As a first-year member of the Patriot League, Loyola was picked to win the conference title in a poll of the League’s coaches and sports information contacts. The Greyhounds drew 13 of the possible 16 first-place votes (schools are not allowed to vote for themselves) and edged Bucknell for first.

Loyola and Bucknell were followed (in order) by Lehigh, Army, Colgate, Navy, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Boston U.

Joe Fletcher was named the Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, and he earned a spot with teammate Justin Ward on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

 

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.

Fletcher trained with Team USA throughout the fall, playing in two training weekends, the Play For Parkinson’s event in October and the Champion Challenge last month. He was one of seven defenders to make the 30-man roster.

 

Dennis Grabs Patriot League Honor

Romar Dennis was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Monday after scoring a pair of goals in his first collegiate game at Virginia. Dennis tallied one in the first quarter and one in the fourth that tied the game at 12-12.

 

Fresh Faces

Three Loyola players scored their first collegiate goals in the first quarter of the Greyhounds’ game at Virginia. Brian Sherlock, Tyler Albrecht and Romar Dennis all tallied the first of their careers as Loyola worked to a 4-4 tie after 15 minutes.

Of the eight players who scored for Loyola, six of them entered the game with four or fewer career goals. Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello were the only two with more than four.

In addition to Albrecht and Dennis, Jack Carrigan (defense), Ryan Fournier (rope unit) and Graham Savio (face-off) all made their Loyola and collegiate debuts.

Four players – Albrecht, David Manning (defense), Brian Schultz (attack) and Sherlock – all made their first career starts.

 

Three Garner Preseason All-America Nods

In addition to being the three Greyhounds selected by Major League Lacrosse teams in the Collegiate Entry Draft, senior co-captains Joe Fletcher, Pat Laconi and Justin Ward were named Preseason All-Americans by Face-Off Yearbook, an Inside Lacrosse publication.

Fletcher was picked to repeat as a First Team All-American, while Ward drew a Second Team nod and Laconi was tabbed as an Honorable Mention All-American.

 

Quarterbacking The Offense

Justin Ward returns for his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds and will once again serve as Loyola’s quarterback from ‘X’.

Last season, Ward earned USILA All-America Honorable Mention after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

Ward is 22nd in school Division I history with 109 career points, two shy of tying Gavin Prout for 21st. He is seventh in career assists with 69, one away from creating a three-way tie for sixth with Kevin Beach and Tim O’Shea.

 

Running The Rope Unit

Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi is back for his fourth year as a “starter” on the Greyhounds rope unit. Laconi has been one of the Greyhounds’ top two defensive midfielders since his freshman year between the lines.

Laconi has been lauded by Loyola and opposing coaches as one of the best one-on-one short-stick in the nation, finished last year second on the Greyhounds in caused turnovers with 20. He also picked up 24 ground balls and showed his offensive ability in transition, logging 10 points on four goals and six assists. Over his four years as a Greyhound, Laconi has caused 42 turnovers and picked up 59 ground balls.

 

Fletch Lives

Senior defender Joe Fletcher has been one of the top close defenders in the game since his first year as a starter in 2012, his sophomore year. That year, he earned All-Tournament honors after Loyola won the NCAA Championship, and he continued his outstanding play as a junior.

Last year, Fletcher caused 17 turnovers and picked up 64 ground balls for the Greyhounds, a season after finishing with 26 and 41.

Against Virginia, Fletcher had the first slashing penalty of his collegiate career, a span of 49 games and 37 starts. It was just the fourth penalty of his All-American career. (Thanks @D1scourse for the research)

Fletcher was the third overall selection of the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft by the New York Lizards, and he was one of 52 players competing with the United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team for a spot on this summer’s World Cup roster.

In addition to his exploits on the field, Fletcher was an ECAC All-Academic Team honoree, and he was picked as one of 14 students campus-wide to be named to the school’s Green & Grey Society, a group of student leaders that serve as liaisons to Loyola’s president, board of trustees and administration.

 

Up Next

Loyola will open its home schedule on Wednesday, February 19, when it hosts Towson University at 3 p.m. The game will air live on the Patriot League Network.

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Loyola’s furious rally not enough as Virginia wins opener in OT

Posted on 06 February 2014 by WNST Staff

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Loyola University Maryland trailed seventh-ranked University of Virginia by eight goals at the start of the final quarter, but the Greyhounds reeled off nine straight to take a lead with 17.1 seconds to go on a Tyler Albrecht goal.

Virginia won the ensuing faceoff, and officials ruled that a Ryan Tucker shot cleared the goal line with one-tenth of a second left on the clock, and the game headed to overtime.

The Cavaliers (1-0) ended the game 1:44 into overtime on a James Pannell goal, giving Virginia a 14-13 victory in the season-opener for both teams.

In the game, Virginia had an 8-0 run during the second and third quarters, and the Greyhounds then used a 9-0 run to close the game and take a late lead.

Loyola (0-1) took a 2-0 lead on goals by Tyler Albrecht and Nikko Pontrello in the first 3:43, but the Cavaliers tallied three in a row to lead by one when Rob Emery scored on an extra-man opportunity with 7:52 to go in the first quarter.

Romar Dennis dodged from midfield and fired a goal that tied the score for Loyola at 3-3, but Pannell scored his second of the game, this time on man-up, and Virginia led, 4-3.

Brian Sherlock evened the score with a 59.1 seconds left in the first, executing a give-and-go for his first goal as a Greyhound.

Virginia broke the 4-4 deadlock with an extra-man goal by Pannell 1:06 into the second quarter, but neither the Greyhounds, nor Cavaliers scored again under less than five minutes were left before halftime.

The Cavaliers scored the final three goals of the half, the last coming on a Mark Cockerton shot with a defender draped on him, 1.7 seconds before the break. That score gave the Cavaliers an 8-4 advantage at halftime.

Cockerton scored another unassisted goal to keep the run going 2:06 into the third quarter, a frame that would end with the Greyhounds on the minus side of an 12-4 score.

Loyola did not take long in the fourth quarter to score, however, as Brian Schultz ripped a shot from the right side off a Justin Ward assist on an extra-man opportunity just 23 ticks into the stanza.

The Greyhounds got the ball back quickly, and Kyle Duffy scored 23 seconds later, and Matt Sawyer scored off a Pontrello assist at 13:11, pulling Loyola within five, 12-7.

Schultz followed with a nifty goal in transition off a Sherlock feed at 12:39, and Ward scored Loyola’s fifth in less than four minutes, rolling off a Cavaliers defender on the left side, scoring into the top right corner at 11:26. His goal cut Virginia’s lead to 12-9.

Pontrello then was on the receiving end of a Ward pass, and he scored at 8:42, and Sawyer had a highlight-reel goal with a slick move off a defender to make it 12-11 Virginia with 6:50 left in regulation.

Dennis then tallied his second goal as a collegian, ripping a high-to-high shot from 10 yards out, tying the score at 12-12 with 2:30 left in the fourth.

Loyola continued to hold possession, getting the ball back after Dennis’ goal, and Loyola wound the clock down to under 20 seconds when Albrecht went low-to-low, pushing the Greyhounds in front, 13-12, with 17.1 seconds left.

Virginia won the faceoff, however, and Cockerton worked the ball on the low right side. He got the ball to Pannell who found Tucker at the top of the zone. Tucker released a hard shot that went into the net. After a long discussion, the officials determined it went in with one-tenth of a second on the clock, tying the game and forcing overtime.

The Cavaliers won the faceoff to start the extra frame, and after three shots went off cage, Pannell tallied the winner 1:44 into the period.

Pannell finished with four goals and an assist, leading all scorers.

Five Greyhounds – Albrecht, Dennis, Pontrello, Sawyer and Schultz – all scored two goals a piece. For each, other than Pontrello, it was the first multi-goal game of their career. Sherlock and Ward both had one goal and two assists in the game, while Pontrello and Sawyer had assists.

Loyola’s comeback was spurred by solid play at the faceoff `X’ by Graham Savio. In his first collegiate game, Savio won 11-of-18 restarts.

Virginia did, however, pick up 35 ground balls to the Greyhounds’ 32. Pontrello led the way with a career-high five, while Savio and Duffy each had four.

The Greyhounds, who were playing the earliest game in the history of the program, take more than a week off before facing No. 9 Penn State University on Saturday, February 15, in State College, Pa.

 

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Loyola senior Fletcher named to Team USA

Posted on 05 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Fletcher Named To U.S. National Team For 2014 World Championships

 

BALTIMORE – On the eve of the start of his senior season, Loyola University Maryland defender learned he will be one of 30 players to comprise the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Team that will compete at the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Lacrosse Championships this July in Denver.

Fletcher, who with his teammates will open the 2014 season tomorrow night at the University of Virginia, was picked by Team USA Head Coach Richie Meade and his staff. The event will take place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park from July 10-19 in the Mile High City. He is the lone player currently on the in college to be named to the team.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for a great person, leader and lacrosse player,” said Charley Toomey, Loyola’s head coach. “Joe has been the example of what we want a Loyola men’s lacrosse player to be during his time here. We are extremely proud of Fletch.”

Last month, Fletcher became the highest Loyola player ever selected in the 14-year history of the Major League Lacrosse Draft. He was the third overall pick of event by the New York Lizards.

Fletcher finished last season as one of the best defenders in the nation, earning All-America First Team honors from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). In doing so, he became the first Loyola player to earn the recognition since Gavin Prout in 2001.

The senior defender from Syracuse, N.Y., was the 2013 ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year as he finished the season with 64 ground balls, tops amongst close defenders in the conference. He also had 17 caused turnovers and was a key member of the Greyhounds’ clearing unit that led the nation and set a Division I record by successfully clearing the ball 95.5 percent of the time.

A noted student leader outside of lacrosse, Fletcher is co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and he is one of 14 students school-wide to serve on the Green & Grey society, a group of student leaders who serve as liaisons to Loyola’s president, board of trustees and administration.

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Loyola opens lacrosse season Thursday at Virginia

Posted on 05 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Virginia Cavaliers

Thursday, February 6, 2014  |  7:30 p.m.

Charlottesville, Va. | Klöckner Stadium

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland opens its 75th season of men’s lacrosse action on Thursday, February 6, at 7 p.m. when the Greyhounds face the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

February 6 is the earliest that the Greyhounds have ever played a regular-season game, eclipsing a Valentine’s Day neutral site affair in Atlanta against Notre Dame in 2009.

The game is the third NCAA Division I contest of the season following Furman-Lehigh and Delaware-High Point.

Loyola returns five starters (attackers Nikko Pontrello and Justin Ward, defenders Joe Fletcher and Pat Frazier and goalkeeper Jack Runkel), as well as two of the top four players on the rope unit (short-stick midfielders Pat Laconi and Kyle Duffy) from last year’s team that finished with an 11-5 record.

This year’s three co-captains were all named to the Preseason All-American teams: Fletcher (1st), Ward (2nd), Laconi (HM).

Loyola, which is in its first year as a member of the Patriot League, was picked to win the conference. Fletcher and Ward were named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

 

Last Time Out

The Greyhounds finished their 2013 season on May 12 with a 12-11 double overtime loss to eventual NCAA Champion Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Loyola was making its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and ended with an 11-5 record.

Seven Loyola players earned United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-America honors following the 2013 season, led by Joe Fletcher who was the Greyhounds’ first 1st Team honoree since Gavin Prout in 2001. Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff was named to the 2nd Team, while defender Reid Acton, midfielder Davis Butts, short-stick midfielder Josh Hawkins and attackers Mike Sawyer and Justin Ward received honorable mention.

Ward led the Greyhounds in points (62) and assists (35) a year ago, while Sawyer topped the team in goals (36).

Ratliff was the team’s leader in ground balls (77) and caused turnovers (29), and he also scored 14 goals and had four assists from his long-stick position.

Jack Runkel was in his second year as a starter in goal, finishing with an 8.75 goals against average.

 

Follow The Action

Fans can follow the play-by-play action of the game on Virginia’s live (subscription-based) webstream of the game. Links can be found on LoyolaGreyhounds.com

 

In The Polls

Loyola opened the 2014 season ranked 12th in the USILA Coaches Poll and 16th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Rankings.

Virginia is ranked in the top-10 of both polls, checking in at seventh in the coaches’ version and eighth in the media’s.

 

New Year, New League

Loyola officially became a member of the 10-school Patriot League on July 1, 2013, less than a year after announcing it would join the conference in August 2012. The Greyhounds joined the League along with Boston University, increasing the full-time membership to 10.

The Greyhounds will compete in men’s lacrosse with Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy. American University is also a full member of the League, but the school does not sponsor men’s lacrosse.

With the addition of Loyola and Boston U., the Patriot League restructured its men’s lacrosse championships. The top two seeds based on the regular-season standings will receive byes to the semifinals with the top seed hosting the championships. A quarterfinal round featuring games between the No. 3 and 6 seeds and No. 4 and 5 seeds, was added to the mix.

 

On The Tube

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

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

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

 

Preseason Prognostications

As a first-year member of the Patriot League, Loyola was picked to win the conference title in a poll of the League’s coaches and sports information contacts. The Greyhounds drew 13 of the possible 16 first-place votes (schools are not allowed to vote for themselves) and edged Bucknell for first.

Loyola and Bucknell were followed (in order) by Lehigh, Army, Colgate, Navy, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Boston U.

Joe Fletcher was named the Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, and he earned a spot with teammate Justin Ward on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

 

Three Selected By Major League Lacrosse Teams

Three Loyola seniors were amongst the first 23 players selected in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft last month with defender Joe Fletcher becoming the highest Greyhounds player ever drafted when he was taken third overall by the New York Lizards.

Fletcher’s fellow senior co-captains, short-stick midfielder Pat Laconi (9th overall) and  attacker Justin Ward (23rd), were both selected by the Charlotte Hounds. Laconi and Ward will join three of their ex-teammates – attackers Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer and short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins – who were key members of the Hounds team that advanced to the MLL Championship Game in 2013.

 

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. He will find out on Wednesday, February 5, if he is one of 30 players who made the cut for the team that will compete at the 2014 World Cup in Denver.

Fletcher trained with Team USA throughout the fall, playing in two training weekends, the Play For Parkinson’s event in October and the Champion Challenge last month. He was one of 10 defenders on the training roster.

 

Three Garner Preseason All-America Nods

In addition to being the three Greyhounds selected by Major League Lacrosse teams in the Collegiate Entry Draft, senior co-captains Joe Fletcher, Pat Laconi and Justin Ward were named Preseason All-Americans by Face-Off Yearbook, an Inside Lacrosse publication.

Fletcher was picked to repeat as a First Team All-American, while Ward drew a Second Team nod and Laconi was tabbed as an Honorable Mention All-American.

 

Quarterbacking The Offense

Justin Ward returns for his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds and will once again serve as Loyola’s quarterback from ‘X’.

Last season, Ward earned USILA All-America Honorable Mention after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

Ward enters his senior season 22nd in school Division I history with 106 career points, five shy of tying Gavin Prout for 21st. He is seventh in career assists with 67, three away from creating a three-way tie for sixth with Kevin Beach and Tim O’Shea.

 

Running The Rope Unit

Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi is back for his fourth year as a “starter” on the Greyhounds rope unit. Laconi has been one of the Greyhounds’ top two defensive midfielders since his freshman year between the lines.

Laconi has been lauded by Loyola and opposing coaches as one of the best one-on-one short-stick in the nation, finished last year second on the Greyhounds in caused turnovers with 20. He also picked up 24 ground balls and showed his offensive ability in transition, logging 10 points on four goals and six assists.

Over his four years as a Greyhound, Laconi has caused 41 turnovers and picked up 58 ground balls.

 

Fletch Lives

Senior defender Joe Fletcher has been one of the top close defenders in the game since his first year as a starter in 2012, his sophomore year. That year, he earned All-Tournament honors after Loyola won the NCAA Championship, and he continued his outstanding play as a junior.

Last year, Fletcher caused 17 turnovers and picked up 64 ground balls for the Greyhounds, a season after finishing with 26 and 41. He has played in all 48 games of his collegiate career.

Fletcher was the third overall selection of the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft by the New York Lizards, and he was one of 52 players competing with the United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team for a spot on this summer’s World Cup roster.

In addition to his exploits on the field, Fletcher was an ECAC All-Academic Team honoree, and he was picked as one of 14 students campus-wide to be named to the school’s Green & Grey Society, a group of student leaders that serve as liaisons to Loyola’s president, board of trustees and administration.

 

Between The Pipes

Senior goalkeeper Jack Runkel will lead the Greyhounds defense from between the pipes for his third season as a starter. Over his two seasons as a starter – Runkel stepped into the starting 10 three games into the 2012 season – he has played to a 7.98 goals against average and .546 save percentage.

In last year’s NCAA First Round against eventual champion Duke, Runkel made a career-high 22 saves, many at point-blank range in one-on-one opportunities by the Blue Devils. He was a member of the 2012 NCAA All-Tournament Team, as well.

 

Up Next

The Greyhounds will continue to play highly ranked teams to start the season, as their next game comes on Saturday, February 15, in State College, Pa., against current No. 9/7 Penn State University.

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