Loyola’s Fletcher named nation’s top defender

May 23, 2014 | WNST Staff

Fletcher Named Nation’s Most Outstanding Defender

BALTIMORE – Friday morning brought another first for Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse courtesy of Joe Fletcher (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesse H.S.). The senior defender became the first player in program history to win one of the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s major awards, as he was earned the William C. Schmeisser Award Outstanding Defensive Player.

Fletcher, who on Thursday was named to the USILA All-America First Team for the second year in a row, is also a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award. He is the second defender in the 14-year history of that honor to be named one of the five finalists.

He was the consensus top defender throughout the season and was equally good as a lockdown cover defender and groundball player. He led all NCAA Division I players in ground balls per game (4.71) and total ground balls (80). He also caused a career-high 31 turnovers. In 17 games this season, the players Fletcher had primary marking responsibilities for scored just 19 goals, several coming when he was already out of the game late in contests.

“Joe Fletcher has been a tremendous representative of our men’s lacrosse program and Loyola University Maryland, “ said Charley Toomey, the Greyhounds’ head coach. “As a player, a student and a person, Joe is a role model for younger players, and this is a great honor to recognize his play.”

Fletcher is a member of the 30-man United States Men’s Lacrosse National Team from which the roster for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships will be chosen. He was the only collegiate player on that list, and he was the lone current collegian in the 52-man training pool.

As good as he has been on the field for the Greyhounds, Fletcher has been equally outstanding in the classroom and community. He was named the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Scholar All-American. He also earned Capital One Academic All-District I At-Large honors and graduated last weekend with a 3.81 grade point average to earn his bachelor of business administration in accounting; he will start a job this summer for Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

In addition to his academic and All-America honors, Fletcher was also named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Patriot League First Team. He is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, as well.

Last month, Fletcher received Loyola’s John R. Mohler Award as the athletic department’s top male senior student-athlete. He is also a member of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 student leaders who meet regularly and serve as liaisons to the University’s president, administration and board of trustees. Fletcher served as the co-president of Loyola’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as well, in 2013-2014.

He earned five Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors throughout the year, something that has never been done in conference history.

Over the course of his career, Fletcher collected 191 ground balls and caused 76 turnovers. His caused turnover total is third-most all-time at Loyola and the most by a close defender.

Prior to the season, he was the third-overall draft pick in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft by the New York Lizards. He made his professional debut last weekend and promptly won Warrior Defensive Player of the Week honors after his first game.