Fletcher, Ratliff Lead Seven Greyhounds With All-America Honors
BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse defender Joe Fletcher became the first Greyhounds player to earn United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-America First Team honors since 2001 on Thursday morning when he was one of seven Loyola players named to the various All-America teams.
Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff earned Second Team recognition, while attackers Mike Sawyer and Justin Ward, midfielders Davis Butts and Josh Hawkins and defender Reid Acton earned honorable mention.
Loyola’s seven honorees match Duke University and the University of Maryland for the most from any NCAA Division I school this year. It also matches the program high that was set in 1998 and matched in 1999 and 2012.
All but Ward are repeat All-Americans after earning the honors last year, and Sawyer is the school’s first three-time All-American since David Metz received honors from 1999-2001.
Fletcher cemented his status as one of the top defenders in the nation this year by continuing to be among the best one-on-one defenders in the game. He led all ECAC Lacrosse League close defenders in ground balls with 64, and he was also credited with 17 caused turnovers.
An honorable mention All-American and member of the NCAA All-Tournament team last year, Fletcher continued his momentum this year by picking up at least two ground balls in all 16 of the Greyhounds contests. Fletcher is also recognized as a leader on the Loyola campus outside of lacrosse; he was recently named one of 14 members of the 2013-2014 Green and Grey Society, a group of student leaders that excel inside and out of the classroom who are student liaisons to the Loyola administration.
Ratliff garnered Second Team recognition this year after earning Third Team honors last season. A USILA Scholar All-American this year, Ratliff led Loyola in two defensive and possession categories, picking up 77 ground balls while causing 29 turnovers.
He continued to make his mark on the offensive end, as well, as he broke his own school record for goals in a season by a long-pole player, scoring 14 this year after tallying 12 in 2012. Ratliff set the modern-day collegiate record for goals in a game by a long-pole with four against Fairfield. He wrapped up his career with 30 goals and 14 assists, and he is second all-time at Loyola with 88 career caused turnovers and seventh with 217 ground balls.
Sawyer earned All-America honors for the third-straight year after leading the Greyhounds with 36 goals this year; he added seven assists for 43 points. Sawyer concluded his Loyola career with 128 goals, the second-most in school Division I history, and his 154 points are eighth in that category.
Ward had a breakout season on attack for the Greyhounds and was the team’s leading point-scorer with 62. He led the team in assists with 35 while also scoring 27 goals. In a late February game against UMBC, Ward became the first Loyola player since Tim Goettelmann in 2000 to score 10 points in a game, and he also had seven goals in the contest, the most by a Greyhound since Gavin Prout had that many in a 2001 outing.
Butts was the primary focus of opponent defensive midfields during the season, routinely drawing the long-pole assignment while leading the Greyhounds’ first midfield. He finished the year with eight goals and 11 assists, and he finished with 43 career goals and 30 assists.
Hawkins continued to be one of the best short-stick defensive midfielders in the game, recording 25 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers in just nine games this season. He also had a career-best season in transition scoring, posting 11 goals and two assists in those nine contests. During his four years at Loyola, Hawkins posted 26 goals and nine assists for 35 points; his 172 ground balls are 14th in school Division I history, and his 34 caused turnovers are tied for fifth.
Acton was a three-year starter on defense and two-time All-American for Loyola as a premier inside defender for the Greyhounds. He totaled 22 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers this season. In his career, he finished with 85 ground balls and 53 caused turnovers, the third-most in school history.