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Loyola opens NCAA Tournament Saturday against Albany

Posted on 10 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Albany Great Danes

Saturday, May 10, 2014  |  12:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex | ESPNU


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland will host its sixth-straight home game on Saturday, May 10, when the University at Albany visits Ridley Athletic Complex for a 12 p.m. game in the NCAA First Round.

The Greyhounds are making their first appearance in as many years in the NCAA Championships.

Saturday’s game will mark Loyola’s 22nd appearance in the NCAA Championships, 20th at the NCAA Division I level (since 1982).

The game will be the second NCAA men’s lacrosse contest to be played at RIdley Athletic Complex in the facility’s five-year history.

Joe Fletcher leads all close defenders nationally in ground balls (76) and ground balls per game (4.75).

Pat Laconi is tops among NCAA Division I non-pole players in caused turnovers (32) and caused turnovers per game (2.0).

Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello entered the week ranked second and fourth in assists and goals per game, respectively, in the NCAA at 3.31 and 3.13.

Jack Runkel is second in goals against avg. (6.91), third in saves percentage (.620).


Last Time Out

Johns Hopkins scored three times in the first four minutes, two seconds of last Saturday’s game, but Loyola outscored the Blue Jays, 13-5, over the course of the next 45-plus minutes.

Back-to-back Brian Schultz goals early in the fourth quarter put Loyola in front by five, and the Greyhounds ended up with a 13-10 victory in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Rob Guida bookended a Brandon Benn transition goal with two in the first five minuted, but Brian Sherlock put the Greyhounds on the board at 10:34, and Matt Sawyer scored on extra-man 21 ticks of the clock later.

Jeff Chase scored the first of his two second-quarter goals to put Loyola in front for the first time at 8:49, and after two ties thereafter, Brian Sherlock scored his second of the day to put the Greyhounds on top for good.

Graham Savio won 17-of-26 faceoffs, picked up a career-best 12 ground balls and scored his first career goal, four seconds after Sherlock’s second.

Nikko Pontrello and Sherlock each scored three, and Justin Ward had four assists.

Pat Laconi caused four turnovers.

 

Turn On The Television

The Greyhounds will make their seventh appearance of the season on national television when they take the field on Saturday. It will be the first on the ESPN family of networks.

Joe Beninati will call the play-by-play, while Paul Carcaterra handles analysis duties.

 

In The Polls

After its win over Johns Hopkins, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the seventh week in a row.

The Greyhounds have been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last three seasons. This stretch is the longest Loyola has been ranked first since spending nine-straight at the top from March 15-May 10, 1999.

 

NCAA Championships History

Loyola is making its 22nd all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 20th in Division I history (since 1982). The Greyhounds are 12-20 all-time in the tournament, 12-18 at the Division I level.

Last year, the Greyhounds played in the NCAA First Round at No. 8 seed Duke University in a game that was touted by many to be the best in collegiate lacrosse of 2013. The Blue Devils rallied to send the game to overtime, and Case Mathias scored the game-winner in the second extra frame for a 12-11 Duke win that helped send the Blue Devils on to the national title.

The Greyhounds won the first NCAA Division I Championship, in any sport, in 2012, when they defeated Maryland, 9-3, on Memorial Day. The win completed an 18-1 season for the Greyhounds in which they tied the NCAA Division I record for wins in a season, matching the 18-2 Duke team from 2008. Loyola entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and defeated Canisius, Denver and Notre Dame en route to the title game.

 

Series History

The Greyhounds and Great Danes will meet for the second time when they step onto the field Saturday, both coming in NCAA First Round action. Albany hosted Loyola on May 13, 2007, and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 19-10 win.

Dan Kallaugher won 27-of-33 faceoffs for Loyola and picked up 19 ground balls. His 27 wins are tied for seventh-most in NCAA single-game history and second-most in an NCAA Tournament game.

Andrew Spack, Paul Richards and Shane Koppens all scored twice in the game for Loyola, but Merrick Thomson tallied five for the Great Danes.

 

Streaking On Campus

Loyola’s 15-game winning streak – the Greyhounds have not lost since falling in overtime on February 6 in the season-opener at the University of Virginia – is the longest in school history.

Previously, Greyhounds teams in 2012 and 1998 held the longest winning streak in program history with 12-straight wins. Loyola’s 15-1 start is also tied for the best in school history through 16 games, matching that of the 2012 squad.

 

Alum Coaches

Led by Loyola’s staff with Head Coach Charley Toomey ’91, Assistant Coach Matt Dwan ’95 and Director of Operations P.T. Ricci ’09, there are eight Loyola alums on coaching staffs of teams in the NCAA Division I Championships.

The list includes: Richmond assistants Steve Layne ’10 and Paul Richards ’07, Air Force’s Bill Wilson ’94, Notre Dame volunteer assistant Kevin Anderson ’93 and Virginia volunteer assistant Tim McDermott MBA ’07.

 

All-League Awards

Three Loyola players earned individual awards when the Patriot League honors were announced last month. Joe Fletcher was named Defensive Player of the Year, Jack Runkel Goalkeeper of the Year and Justin Ward Offensive Player of the Year.

The trio was also named to the All-Patriot League First Team along with teammates Pat Laconi, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Sherlock. Kevin Ryan was named to the Second Team. Loyola’s seven All-League players were the most by any team this season.

 

Tournament Honors

Jack Runkel was then named the Patriot League Championships Most Valuable Player, and he was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Joe Fletcher, Justin Ward and Brian Schultz.

Runkel made 15 saves in the title game against Lehigh after posting 12 in the semifinal versus Colgate. Fletcher finished with 11 ground balls and eight caused turnovers, five of the latter tying her career-high in the Colgate game. Ward distributed seven assists and scored three goals, and Schultz tallied six goals and assisted on three.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 69 occasions. After defeating Johns Hopkins, 13-10, on Saturday, Loyola has won 82.6 percent of those games (57-12).

 

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 44-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 15-1 this season) for a .863 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .933 this season is the best nationally.

Duke and Loyola have both won 44 games during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly nine percent (44-13, .772).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through the end of the regular-season in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is third in Division I with 50 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 53 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 131 combined points (Ward, 69; Pontrello, 62). Albany’s Lyle (114) and Miles (108) have a combined 222.

Goalkeeper Jack Runkel is also near the top of statistical rankings for his position. He is second in goals against average (6.91) and saves percentage (.620).

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher not only leads Loyola in ground balls, total (76) and per game (4.75), 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 tops all non-pole defenders nationally in caused turnovers and caused turnovers per game. With four against Johns Hopkins, he has caused 32 this season while averaging 2.0 per game. He enters the Albany game eighth in the nation, and the seven 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 53 assists in 16 games. In the Patriot League Championship Game against Lehigh, Ward became the conference’s single-season assist leader, passing Bucknell University’s David Dickson who had 48 in 2013.

With his third and final assist on April 12 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 (53), and he is also second in the country, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.31 assists per game this year. The 45 assists are tied for second in Patriot League history, three shy of matching Bucknell’s David Dickson’s record of 48 from a year ago.

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 reach the century mark.

Ward now has 120 career assists. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also sixth in school Division I history in total points with 170, five away from tying Gewas Schindler (1996-99) for fifth place. His 69 points this season are tied for third in school single-season history, two away from matching Eric Lusby’s 2012 school-record total.

Of his 53 assists this year, 31 have gone to his fellow attack players. More than half of Brian Schultz’s 36 goals (19-of-36) have come off Ward assists, continuing a trend from when the pair were club teammates with the Maryland Roughriders. Nikko Pontrello has tallied 12 of his team-high 50 from Ward helpers, and Ward has also assisted on 11 of the Greyhounds’ 23 extra-man goals this year.

Ward is in his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhound after earning USILA All-America Honorable Mention last year after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

 

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 versus Boston University and three goals and an assist versus Bucknell.

As of the end of the regular-season, Pontrello is third nationally with 50 goals after recording three each in the Patriot League Championship Game against Lehigh and against Johns Hopkins.

Pontrello is the fourth player in school single-season history to score 50 or more goals in a year, joining Eric Lusby (54, 2012), Mike Sawyer (52, 2012) and Tim Goettelmann (50, 2000).

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, Boston University, Bucknell and Lehigh in the Patriot League title game. He has now scored two or more in 14 of 16 games this year.

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.

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .642 mark, saving 167 out of 260 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 earned a record five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors this year and was named the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year. He has a goals against average of 6.91 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .620 through 16 games. He is second in the nation in goals against average and third in saves percentage.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.63 goals against average and .573 saves percentage. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 42-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 46 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 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.

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. He then snapped the 41-game point-scoring streak of Bucknell’s David Dickson on April 17, holding him without a shot.

In all, the players Fletcher has had primary marking responsibilities for have tallied 16 goals in 16 games this year (including three each by the University of Virginia’s Mark Cockerton and Penn State University’s Shane Sturgis in the season’s first two games). Six of those goals have come when Fletcher was already out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Fletcher has been named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week five times this year, the most any player in conference history has earned the award. He is second on the team in ground balls (76) and caused turnovers (28). His 73 career caused turnovers are tied for third all-time with fellow captain Pat Laconi at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Pat Laconi has continued to show his versatility as one of the top short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation while being a player with offensive acumen. The Preseason All-American had a goal in settled offense against Johns Hopkins to bring his season total to nine goals and three assists and his career numbers to 14 and 12.

Laconi caused a career-high five turnovers against Bucknell and four versus Johns Hopkins. His team-leading 32 caused turnovers are tops on the team this season have brought his career total to 69, tied for third-most in school history.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 36 goals, second-most on the team through 16 games, and his 14 assists are also second. He had the game-winning goal 12 seconds into the second overtime at Navy and less than two weeks later posted a career-best six goals in a win over Bucknell.

With a career-high six goals against Bucknell on April 17, four versus Colgate in the Patriot League Semifinal, a pair in the title game versus Lehigh and three versus Johns Hopkins, Schultz scored 15 goals, to go with four assists, in Loyola’s last four games.

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.

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

The Greyhounds entered the final of the regular-season as the only team to be in the top five of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (13.31) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.13) are second. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.19).

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 16 of its games this season, and it has had six stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 31 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

 

On the flip side, Loyola’s opponents have made runs of 3-0 or better just seven times this year. Virginia and Penn State did it twice each in the first two games of the year, Army and Georgetown did it in back-to-back games in March and Johns Hopkins did it to open last Saturday’s game.

 

Quarter Or More Scoreless

Loyola has held opponents scoreless for 15 or more minutes on 18 occasions this season (chart on left). Six times, the Greyhounds have posted shutout streaks of better than 30 minutes of clock time.

The longest Loyola has held a team without a goal this season is 47 minutes, 13 seconds, in the February 22 game at Holy Cross.

The Greyhounds have played just two games this year – at Penn State and at Colgate – in which they have not held opponents scoreless for 15 or more minutes at a time.

Opponents have held Loyola without a goal for stretches of 15 or more minutes three (at Virginia, at Georgetown, at Navy). Only Virginia did so for more than 17 minutes. The Cavaliers went on an 8-0 run over 31:23, holding the Greyhounds scoreless in the second and third quarters before Loyola reeled off nine-straight in the fourth.

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

Loyola is one of three schools (along with Duke) to have three players named Tewaaraton Award nominees. Joe Fletcher, Nikko Pontrello and Justin Ward are semifinalists for the honor of college lacrosse’s top player.

Fletcher and Ward are also two of 10 players nationally to be named finalists for the Senior CLASS Award that honors seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom.

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Loyola tops Johns Hopkins to wrap regular season with 15 straight wins

Posted on 03 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Possession Game Helps Men’s Lacrosse Down Johns Hopkins, 13-10

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse had a 19-ground ball advantage and won 17-of-26 faceoffs, and the top-ranked Greyhounds closed their regular-season with a 13-10 win over No. 6 Johns Hopkins University in front of a sell-out crowd of 6,000 at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Graham Savio matched his career-high with 17 faceoff wins, and he set a new best with 12 ground balls against a Blue Jays unit that was ranked eighth nationally with a 60.1 percent success rate this season on restarts.

Savio won two of the first three faceoffs in the game, but Johns Hopkins (10-4 overall) jumped out to a 3-0 lead 4:02 in as Rob Guida scored twice off the run and Brandon Benn added a transition goal.

Twenty-four seconds after Guida’s second goal made it 3-0, Brian Sherlock scored on a high bouncer from 10-plus yards, and he drew a flag for a Blue Jays late hit, giving Loyola (15-1) another possession, this one a man up.

Early in the one-minute man-advantage, Justin Ward reversed the ball to Matt Sawyer, and Saywer scored from the top left for the game’s fifth goal in 4:47 of play.

Guida responded for the Blue Jays, this time rolling the crease for his third goal of the game at 8:19, a score that would be the last of the first quarter for either team. The hat trick was the second of the senior’s career, both coming against the Greyhounds after he accomplished the feat in 2012.

Nikko Pontrello broke a stretch of more than nine minutes without a goal by either team when he stepped back off a check after getting topside on the left to score at 13:34 in the second quarter. Pat Laconi then tied the game for Loyola at 10:49, taking a short-stick defender behind the crease and rolling to the goal for this ninth of the year.

Jeff Chase put the Greyhounds in front for the first time with a right-to-left sweep at 8:49, but Connor Reed got one back for the Blue Jays at 6:57, knotting the score at 6-6. It was Chase again on the run at 6:26, as he got to the middle and scored his second on a high-to-low shot.

Benn scored his second at 4:40 off a Reed assist to tie the game for the third time, but Loyola used a fortuitous roll to take the lead back at 3:47.

Sherlock took a Ward pass and shot from the right side, but Johns Hopkins goalkeeper Eric Schneider got a stick on it only to see it sneak past him. The ball took one bounce over the goal line before back-spinning out like a golf shot, but it put Loyola in front for what would be the rest of the game.

Just four seconds of game clock later, Savio won a faceoff cleanly, drove into the middle of the box and scored the first goal of his collegiate career to push Loyola up two, 8-6. The goals by Sherlock and Savio tied an NCAA Division I record for fastest goals by players on the same team, matching the four-second differential that Virginia Military Institute’s Russell East and Stephen Robarge produced in a March 31, 2012, game against Marist College.

Loyola took the 8-6 advantage into the locker room at halftime, and it extended that lead in the first four minutes of the third quarter.

Ward shot a pass through traffic to Brian Schultz on the low right side, and Schultz beat Schneider five-hole for his first of the game at13:21. More than two minutes later, on an extra-man opportunity, Sawyer used an extra pass to find Pontrello on the low left side, and Pontrello buried his second of the afternoon to give Loyola a four-goal cushion, 10-6.

The Blue Jays, however, quickly tighetened up the score, as Ryan Brown scored two-straight. The first came on extra-man off a Guida assist, and his second from Wells Stanwick at 9:35 made it 10-8 Greyhounds.

Loyola controlled possession over the next five minutes, but the Greyhounds couldn’t get another goal until Pontrello registered his third with a spin and nearly no look shot from the right side at 4:55.

Schultz then tallied back-to-back goals at 11:39 and 10:19 in the fourth quarter, and Loyola led 13-8. Brown scored another extra-man goal at 7:04, and Holden Cattoni notched an unassisted goal at 2:30, but the Blue Jays could not draw closer than three.

Pontrello, Schultz, Guida and Brown each finished with three goals for their respective teams, and Sherlock and Chase each scored twice for Loyola. Ward recorded a game-high four assists, and he moved into second-place in school single-season points at the Division I level with 69. He is now two behind his former teammate Eric Lusby who had 71 points in 2012.

With three goals, Pontrello became he fourth player in school Division I history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Lusby (54, 2012), Mike Sawyer (52, 2012) and Tim Goettelmann (50, 2000).

In addition to Savio’s 12, Ward had five ground balls, and Laconi, Pontrello, Sherlock, Joe Fletcher, Pat Frazier, and Jason Crane each had four. Laconi also finished with four caused turnovers, one off his career-high.

The Greyhounds did, however, commit a season-high 21 turnovers.

The Greyhounds will find out their NCAA Championships opponent, date and location tomorrow night during the Selection Show at 9 p.m.on ESPNU.

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Loyola finishes regular season Saturday against Johns Hopkins

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

Saturday, May 3, 2014  |  12:00 p.m.

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland will host its fifth-straight home game of the year on Saturday, May 3, when Johns Hopkins University makes the short trip to Ridley for a 12 noon faceoff.

The Greyhounds have already secured a spot in the 2014 NCAA Championships after winning last weekend’s Patriot League Championships. Loyola will be making its third appearance in as many years in the tournament.

The Greyhounds continue to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging just 11.07 a contest through 15. They average nearly a half-turnover less per game than the second-place team, Denver (11.50).

Joe Fletcher leads all close defenders nationally in ground balls (72) and ground balls per game (4.8).

Pat Laconi is tops among NCAA Division I non-pole players in caused turnovers (27) and caused turnovers per game (1.87).

Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello entered the week ranked second and third in assists and goals per game, respectively, in the NCAA at 3.27 and 3.13.

Jack Runkel is second in saves percentage (.631) and goals against avg. (6.69).

 

Last Time Out

Loyola won its first-ever Patriot League Championship last Sunday when it defeated Lehigh University, 16-7, to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the league in the Greyhounds first year as a member.

The Mountain Hawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the game’s first 71 seconds, but Loyola held them scoreless until there were less than three minutes to play in the second quarter, going on a 6-0 run.

Matt Sawyer scored two of his game-high four goals during that run, and Nikko Pontrello added two of his three, as well. Pontrello added two assists for five points.

Lehigh got back within three early in the third quarter, but a 4-0 Loyola run put the Greyhounds up seven.

Justin Ward tallied a goal and four assists, while Brian Schultz added two goals and two assists, Brian Sherlock had two goals and an assist, and Kevin Ryan scored twice.

Jack Runkel was named the Championships’ Most Valuable Player after making 27 saves, 15 in the title game.

Joe Fletcher, Ward and Schultz joined Runkel on the All-Tournament team.

 

Turn On The Television

The Greyhounds will make their sixth appearance of the season on CBS Sports Network for the Johns Hopkins’ game. Dave Ryan will call the play-by-play, and Evan Washburn will handle the analysis of the action.

The  entire Patriot League Championships, as well as Loyola’s games versus Duke University, at Georgetown University and against Bucknell University were also on the network.

 

In The Polls

After winning the Patriot League Championship, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the sixth week in a row.

The Greyhounds have been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last three seasons. This stretch is the longest Loyola has been ranked first since spending nine-straight at the top from March 15-May 10, 1999.

 

Series History

The Greyhounds and Blue Jays will be meeting for the 52nd time in series history on Saturday when they take the field. Johns Hopkins holds a 47-4 advantage, but Loyola snapped a 13-game Blue Jays’ winning streak in the series with an 8-4 win last year at Homewood Field on April 27, 2013.

Johns Hopkins is Loyola’s second most-played opponent behind only Towson (55).

In last year’s game, the teams traded goals in the first minute of the second half with Sean O’Sullivan scoring for the Greyhounds and Mike Poppleton responding for the Blue Jays to make it 5-4 Loyola with 14:19 left in the third quarter. Poppleton’s goal, however, was the last Johns Hopkins would score in the game.

Jack Runkel made six of his 10 saves in the last 29:19 of the second half, and Mike Sawyer, Davis Butts and Kevin Ryan scored during that stretch for Loyola to provide the final margin.

Prior to last year’s game, the last seven games had been won by Johns Hopkins by a combined 13 goals, four of them by just one.

 

Streaking On Campus

Loyola’s 14-game winning streak – the Greyhounds have not lost since falling in overtime on February 6 in the season-opener at the University of Virginia – is the longest in school history.

Previously, Greyhounds teams in 2012 and 1998 held the longest winning streak in program history with 12-straight wins. The 2012 streak was snapped on April 28 when Johns Hopkins edged Loyola, 10-9 in overtime, handing the Greyhounds their only loss that year.

Loyola’s 14-1 start is also tied for the best in school history through 15 games, matching that of the 2012 squad.

 

All-League Awards

Three Loyola players earned individual awards on Monday when the Patriot League honors were announced. Joe Fletcher was named Defensive Player of the Year, Jack Runkel Goalkeeper of the Year and Justin Ward Offensive Player of the Year.

The trio was also named to the All-Patriot League First Team along with teammates Pat Laconi, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Sherlock. Kevin Ryan was named to the Second Team. Loyola’s seven All-League players were the most by any team this season.

 

Tournament Honors

Jack Runkel was then named the Patriot League Championships Most Valuable Player, and he was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Joe Fletcher, Justin Ward and Brian Schultz.

Runkel made 15 saves in the title game against Lehigh after posting 12 in the semifinal versus Colgate. Fletcher finished with 11 ground balls and eight caused turnovers, five of the latter tying her career-high in the Colgate game. Ward distributed seven assists and scored three goals, and Schultz tallied six goals and assisted on three.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 68 occasions. After defeating Lehigh, 16-7, on Sunday, Loyola has won 82.4 percent of those games (56-12).

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 43-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 13-1 this season) for a .857 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .933 this season is the best nationally.

Duke and Loyola have both won 43 games during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly nine percent (43-13, .768).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through games of Sunday, April 27, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is tied for second in Division I with 47 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 49 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 124 combined points (Ward, 65; Pontrello, 59). Albany’s Lyle (98) and Miles (90) have a combined 188.

Goalkeeper Jack Runkel is also near the top of statistical rankings for his position. He is second in goals against average (6.69) and saves percentage (.631).

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher not only leads Loyola in ground balls, total (72) and per game (4.80), this season, but more impressive than that, he paces all close defenders nationally in the categories. Fletcher is 47th overall in ground balls per game, while the 46 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 tops all non-pole defenders nationally in caused turnovers and caused turnovers per game. With a career-high five against Bucknell, he has caused 28 this season while averaging 1.87 per game. He enters the Johns Hopkins game ninth in the nation, and the eight 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 49 assists in 15 games. In the Patriot League Championship Game against Lehigh, Ward became the conference’s single-season assist leader, passing Bucknell University’s David Dickson who had 48 in 2013.

With his third and final assist on April 12 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 (45), and he is also second in the country, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.21 assists per game this year. The 45 assists are tied for second in Patriot League history, three shy of matching Bucknell’s David Dickson’s record of 48 from a year ago.

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 reach the century mark.

Ward now has 116 career assists. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also sixth in school Division I history in total points with 166, nine away from tying Gewas Schindler (1996-99) for fifth place. His 65 points this season are tied for third in school single-season history, six away from matching Eric Lusby’s 2012 school-record total.

Of his 49 assists this year, 29 have gone to his fellow attack players. More than half of Brian Schultz’s 33 goals (17-of-33) have come off Ward assists, continuing a trend from when the pair were club teammates with the Maryland Roughriders. Nikko Pontrello has tallied 12 of his team-high 47 from Ward helpers, and Ward has also assisted on 10 of the Greyhounds’ 21 extra-man goals this year.

Ward is in his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhound after earning USILA All-America Honorable Mention last year after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

 

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 versus Boston University and three goals and an assist versus Bucknell.

Through games of Wednesday, April 30, Pontrello is tied for second nationally with 47 goals after recording three in the Patriot League Championship Game against Lehigh.

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, Boston University, Bucknell and Lehigh in the Patriot League title game. He has now scored two or more in 13 of 15 games this year.

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’s 47 goals this season rank fourth in school single-season history, three shy of tying Tim Goettelmann’s 200 total for third. His 59 points are tied for Mike Ruland (1988) for ninth.

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .656 mark, saving 158 out of 241 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 earned a record five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors this year and was named the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year. He has a goals against average of 6.69 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .631 through 15 games. He is second in the nation in both saves percentage goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.58 goals against average and .573 saves percentage. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 41-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 45 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 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.

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. He then snapped the 41-game point-scoring streak of Bucknell’s David Dickson on April 17, holding him without a shot.

In all, the players Fletcher has had primary marking responsibilities for have tallied 16 goals in 15 games this year (including three each by the University of Virginia’s Mark Cockerton and Penn State University’s Shane Sturgis in the season’s first two games). Six of those goals have come when Fletcher was already out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Fletcher has been named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week five times this year, the most any player in conference history has earned the award. He leads the Greyhounds with 72 ground balls and is second in caused turnovers (27). His 72 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

Pat Laconi has continued to show his versatility as one of the top short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation while being a player with offensive acumen. The Preseason All-American had a goal against Bucknell to bring his season total to eight goals and three assists and his career numbers to 13 and 12.

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 and then had a career-high five against Bucknell. His team-leading 28 caused turnovers are tops a this season have brought his career total to 69, fourth-most in school history.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 33 goals, second-most on the team through 15 games, and his 14 assists are also second. He had the game-winning goal 12 seconds into the second overtime at Navy and less than two weeks later posted a career-best six goals in a win over Bucknell.

With a career-high six goals against Bucknell on April 17, four versus Colgate in the Patriot League Semifinal and a pair in the title game, Schultz has scored 12 goals, to go with four assists, in Loyola’s last three games.

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.

 

Near The Top At Both Sides

The Greyhounds entered the final of the regular-season as the only team to be in the top six of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (13.33) rank sixth, and its goals allowed (6.93) are second. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.40).

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola enters the Johns Hopkins game leading the nation in fewest turnovers per game. The Greyhounds have committed 117 miscues in 15 games, an average of 11.07 per contest.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 15 of its games this season, and it has had six stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 28 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

 

On the flip side, Loyola’s opponents have made runs of 3-0 or better just six times this year. Virginia and Penn State did it twice each in the first two games of the year, and Army and Georgetown did it in back-to-back games in March.

 

Quarter Or More Scoreless

Loyola has held opponents scoreless for 15 or more minutes on 16 occasions this season (chart on left). Six times, the Greyhounds have posted shutout streaks of better than 30 minutes of clock time.

The longest Loyola has held a team without a goal this season is 47 minutes, 13 seconds, in the February 22 game at Holy Cross.

The Greyhounds have played just two games this year – at Penn State and at Colgate – in which they have not held opponents scoreless for 15 or more minutes at a time.

Opponents have held Loyola without a goal for stretches of 15 or more minutes three this year (at Virginia, at Georgetown, at Navy). Only Virginia did so for more than 17 minutes. The Cavaliers went on an 8-0 run over 31:23, holding the Greyhounds scoreless in the second and third quarters before Loyola reeled off nine-straight in the fourth.

 

Tewaaraton Watch Trio, Senior CLASS Award Pair

Loyola is one of three schools (along with Duke) to have three players named Tewaaraton Award nominees. Joe Fletcher, Nikko Pontrello and Justin Ward are semifinalists for the honor of college lacrosse’s top player.

 

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. Last month, they were selected as two of the award’s 10 finalists for this year.

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Hopkins gets final chance to make statement Saturday at Loyola

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Television: CBS Sports Network

The Game: Johns Hopkins (10-3) makes the short trip up University Parkway to Cold Spring Lane and the Ridley Athletic Complex to take on top-ranked Loyola (14-1) in the regular season finale for both teams. Faceoff is set for noon with a live national television audience on CBS Sports Network.

A Look Back: Johns Hopkins ran its winning streak to five games with a 13-7 victory at home against Villanova last Wednesday night.
Loyola ran its winning streak to 14 games with a pair of victories over the weekend in the Patriot League Tournament, including a dominating 16-7 victory over Lehigh in the championship game.

Series History: Johns Hopkins and Loyola are meeting for the 52nd time in a series that dates to 20-1 Johns Hopkins victory in 1939. The Greyhounds topped the Blue Jays 8-4 last season at Homewood Field to snap a 13-game Johns Hopkins winning streak in the series.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Loyola with an all-time record of 943-306-15 (.753). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.

Poll Position: Johns Hopkins is ranked sixth in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and sixth in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Loyola is ranked first in both the coaches and media polls this week.

Tournament Talk: The bracket for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will be announced on Sunday, May 4 at 9 pm on ESPNU. The 18-team field will consist of 10 automatic qualifiers (league champions) and eight at-large berths.

The following conference champions shall receive an automatic bid to the championship: America East Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlantic Sun Conference, Big East Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Eastern, College Athletic Conference, The Ivy League, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Northeast Conference and the Patriot League.

The four lowest-ranked automatic qualifying teams as determined by the committee, regardless of conference RPI, will compete in two play-in games to determine the final two AQ spots in the championship bracket.

The tournament will begin with the two play-in games on Wednesday, May 7 with eight first-round games taking place on the campus of the eight highest seeded teams on Saturday and Sunday, May 10&11.

Closing on Mr. Scott: Dave Pietramala picked up his 157th victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with the 13-7 victory against Villanova and he continues to close in on the record for most career coaching victories at Homewood. Only Bob Scott, who won 158 games as the head coach at JHU from 1955-74, has won or coached (214) more games than Pietramala at Johns Hopkins.

Career Win Number 180: In addition to his 157-53 (.748) mark as the head coach at JHU, Dave Pietramala also posted a 23-17 record in three seasons as the head coach at Cornell and now boasts an overall record of 180-70 (.720). Pietramala’s 180 wins rank 10th among active Division I coaches.

Career Game Number 250: Last week’s game against Villanova was the 250th for Dave Pietramala as a head coach at the collegiate level.

New Blue: The Johns Hopkins lineup features six new starters after a large senior class departed Homewood last spring. The six are spread throughout the lineup and include Eric Schneider (G), Rob Enright (D), John Kelly (D), Holden Cattoni(M), Connor Reed (M) and Ryan Brown (A). Brown did start four games at midfield last season, but made the move to his natural attack position this season, and Enright had five career starts through his first two seasons.

New Blue II: In addition to the six new starters in the lineup, the overall Blue Jay roster is also vastly different than a year ago. Gone are 11 seniors who exhausted their eligibility and in their place are 17 freshmen.

Youth Will be Served: Johns Hopkins is fielding one of the youngest rosters in the nation this season as 17 of the team’s 49 players are freshmen and 29 are either freshmen or sophomores. Only nine of the 49 are seniors and two of those nine – Eric Schneider and Phil Castronova – have an extra year of eligibility and are planning to return for the 2015 season.

For Starters: Entering the 2014 season, the entire 49-man Johns Hopkins roster counted a total of 132 combined career starts to its credit. Of those 132, Rob Guida (38), Jack Reilly (30), Brandon Benn (29) and Wells Stanwick (17) accounted 114, or 86.7%. No other returning player had started more than five games for the Blue Jays. By contrast, last year’s 11-man senior class graduated with a combined 321 starts with six of those 11 players earning 45 or more starts during their careers.

An Offensive Group: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Loyola averaging 12.15 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored at least 10 goals in all but two games this season. Entering the game against Greyhounds, JHU ranks 10th in the nation in scoring offense, eighth in assists per game (7.54) and 10th in points per game (19.69).

Sharing the Ball: An effective part of the Blue Jay offense this season has been the ability to move the ball and that has shown up in the percentage of the team’s goals that have been assisted thus far. Through 13 games, 98 of JHU’s 158 goals have been assisted, or 62.0%. Only three times since 2003 has Johns Hopkins finished a season with more than 60% of its goals being assisted. The 2003 team assisted on 67.4% of its goals, while the 2004 (64.3%) and 2009 (62.4%) teams also eclipsed the 60% mark.

Extra, Extra: Johns Hopkins converted on a pair of extra-man opportunities against Villanova and is now 25-of-48 (.521) for the year. The Blue Jays rank fifth in the nation in extra-man offense heading into the Loyola game. Brandon Benn (7 EMO goals), Holden Cattoni (6), Ryan Brown (5) and Wells Stanwick (5) have combined to score 23 of JHU’s 25 EMO goals this season.

Kennedy, Faceoff Unit Shine: Behind the efforts of junior Drew Kennedy, Johns Hopkins ranks eighth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage entering this week’s game against Loyola. On the year, the Blue Jays have won 185-of-308 (.601) as a team.
For his part, Kennedy has been a workhorse as he is 160-of-259 (.618) through 13 games and also has a team-high 114 ground balls thus far. He ranks among the national leaders in faceoff winning percentage (10th) and ground balls per game (8th / 8.77).

Holding Them Down: The Blue Jays have held the opposition scoreless for long stretches at key points this season. The 13 teams Johns Hopkins has played thus far have 19 scoreless droughts of 11 minutes or longer and 13 of 15 minutes or longer. JHU held Maryland scoreless for stretches of 20:11 to open the game and 18:52 immediately after the Terps scored their first goal and then held Mount St. Mary’s off the board for 44:56 to open the game.

More Holding: Johns Hopkins has held each of its 13 opponents under its season scoring average thus far. Recently, the Blue Jays held Albany to just eight goals (just over half of what the Great Danes entered the game averaging) and Maryland to just six goals (less than half the Terps’ average entering the game). In all, JHU has held 10 of its 13 opponents to nine goals or less.

A Final Holding: During its current five-game winning streak, the Johns Hopkins defense has allowed a total of just 10 first-half goals.

Schneider Rolling: A key part of the recent surge by the Blue Jay defense has been the play of senior goalie Eric Schneider, who has gotten hot as the weather has gotten better. In the five-game unbeaten streak, Schneider has played 285 of the team’s 300 minutes and boasts a 5.68 GAA and a .654 save percentage over that time. With his recent performances, which include a 17-save performance at Navy, Schneider now has a 7.78 GAA and .573 save percentage on the year. He ranks sixth in the nation in GAA and ninth in save percentage and is one of just six goalies in the nation ranked in the top 10 in both categories.

Attack Driven: Johns Hopkins’ starting attack unit of senior Brandon Benn, junior Wells Stanwick and sophomore Ryan Brown is being counted on to lead the way offensively for the Blue Jays this season and the trio has been up to the task thus far. They have combined for at least three goals and seven points in all 13 games this season, with 11 goals against UMBC and nine goals against both Towson and Princeton. The trio has a pair of 16-point games to its credit (Towosn, UMBC) and a 14-point effort as well (Princeton). The three started the first 10 games together before Brown sat out the game at Mount St. Mary’s.

Welcome to the Club: Senior Brandon Benn became the 17th player in school history to reach the 100-goal mark with his four-goal effort at Navy. Benn is now tied for 12th with Mike Morrill (1985-88) on JHU’s career goal-scoring list with 102.

Another Welcome: Brandon Benn’s four goals against Navy pushed his total for the season past 30 goals (he now has 33). This marks the third consecutive season he has scored 30+ goals, making him the first Johns Hopkins player since Terry Riordan (1992-95) to score 30 or more goals in three straight seasons. Riordan scored more than 30 goals in each of his four seasons (only player in school history to do that).

In Overtime: With the 11-10 loss at Virginia, Johns Hopkins is now 20-11 all-time in overtime under head coach Dave Pietramala; this includes the 10-9 triple overtime victory against Ohio State in the season opener. The Blue Jays have won four of their last six overtime games dating back to late in the 2011 season.

State Rivalries: Johns Hopkins improved its record to 66-8 (.892) under head coach Dave Pietramala in games played against teams from the state of Maryland with the 6-5 victory at Navy. Below is a breakdown of JHU’s record against teams from Maryland under Pietramala.

Loyola (12-1)
Maryland (10-5)
Mount St. Mary’s (6-0)
Navy (13-2)
Towson (15-0)
UMBC (10-0)

Poll Position: The Blue Jays are ranked sixth in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll. The Johns Hopkins Athletic Communications Office uses the USILA Poll to represent JHU’s official ranking at the time of a game. Prior to falling out of the top 20 of the USILA Poll on April 26 and May 3, 2010 (JHU was receiving votes in both polls), the Blue Jays had been ranked in the top 20 in 367 consecutive polls dating back to the first poll in 1973.

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Loyola battles Colgate in Patriot League semis Friday

Posted on 24 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Colgate Raiders

Friday, April 25, 2014  |  4:30 p.m.

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


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland will host the Patriot League Championships at Ridley Athletic Complex, beginning with the semifinals on Friday, April 25.

The top-seeded Greyhounds will play fourth-seeded Colgate University in the first semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The game will be followed by a semifinal between the U.S. Military Academy, the No. 2 seed and No. 3 Lehigh University at 7:30 p.m.

Colgate beat No. 5 seed Bucknell University, 10-9, in double-overtime on Tuesday, and Lehigh topped the No. 6 seed U.S. Naval Academy, 10-6.

Semifinal winners will meet in the title game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 27.

Loyola went 8-0 to win the Patriot League Regular-Season title.

Joe Fletcher leads all close defenders nationally in ground balls (61) and ground balls per game (4.69). In 13 games, the players Fletcher has been responsible for marking have scored 11 goals (several when Fletcher has been out of the game late in regulation).

Pat Laconi is tops among NCAA Division I non-pole players in caused turnovers (27) and caused turnovers per game (2.08).

 

Last Time Out

Brian Schultz scored a career-high six goals and matched his best with seven points last Thursday as the top-ranked Greyhounds defeated Bucknell University, 13-5.

Schultz logged his third career hat trick and an assist in the game’s first 25 minutes, and he added three more goals in the second half.

Nikko Pontrello added three goals and an assist, while Justin Ward scored once and assisted on three.

The teams played more than half of the first quarter without a goal, but Schultz took a Ward feed and scored at 7:27. Ryan Joseph responded with a goal fro the Bison, but Schultz fed Matt Sawyer for an in-close goal at 4:47, starting a 7-0 Loyola run.

The Greyhounds held Bucknell without a goal for 37 minutes, 17 seconds, taking an 8-1 lead into the fourth quarter.

Loyola out-groundballed the Bison, 39-31, with Joe Fletcher leading the way with seven. Graham Savio picked up five while winning 13-of-20 faceoffs, and Kyle Duffy had four.

Pat Laconi caused a career-high five turnovers, while Jason Crane and Schultz each caused two.

 

Turn On The Television

All three games in the Patriot League Championships 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 live. Loyola’s games versus Duke University, at Georgetown University and against Bucknell University were also on the network.

 

In The Polls

With last Thursday’s win against Bucknell, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the fifth week in a row.

The Greyhounds have been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last three seasons. This stretch is the longest Loyola has been ranked first since spending nine-straight at the top from March 15-May 10, 1999.

 

Series History

Loyola and Colgate met for the first time earlier this year in Hamilton, N.Y., a game that was a 10-8 decision in the Greyhounds’ favor. The Raiders led 5-4 with 12:14 left in the third quarter before Loyola went on a 4-0 run that gave them an 8-5 advantage after goals by Jeff Chase, Justin Ward (two) and Nikko Pontrello.

Colgate pulled back within one on a Matt Clarkson strike with 13:33 left, but Matt Sawyer used a Ward feed to score from 10 yards out with 4:05 for the final margin.

Ward had a game-high five points with two goals and three assists, while Pontrello chipped in three goals and an assist. Clarkson scored three goals for Colgate.

 

All-League Awards

Three Loyola players earned individual awards on Monday when the Patriot League honors were announced. Joe Fletcher was named Defensive Player of the Year, Jack Runkel Goalkeeper of the Year and Justin Ward Offensive Player of the Year.

The trio was also named to the All-Patriot League First Team along with teammates Pat Laconi, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Sherlock. Kevin Ryan was named to the Second Team. Loyola’s seven All-League players were the most by any team this season.

 

Get To Ten

Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 66 occasions. After defeating Bucknell, 13-5, on Thursday, Loyola has won 81.8 percent of those games (54-12).

 

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 41-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 12-1 this season) for a .854 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .923 this season is the best nationally.

Only Duke has won more games (43) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by more than seven percent (43-12, .782).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are near the top of two offensive categories through games of Monday, April 21, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is second in Division I with 43 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 42 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 107 combined points (Ward, 55; Pontrello, 52). Albany’s Lyle (80) and Miles (77) have a combined 157.

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher not only leads Loyola in ground balls, total (61) and per game (4.69), 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. With a career-high five against Bucknell, he has caused 27 this season while averaging 2.08 per game. He is eighth in the nation, and the seven 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 43 assists in 13 games. With his third and final assist on April 12 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 (42), and he is also second in the country and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.23 assists per game this year. The 42 assists are tied for fourth in Patriot League history, six shy of matching Bucknell’s David Dickson’s record of 48 from a year ago.

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 reach the century mark.

Ward now has 109 career assists. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also sixth in school Division I history in total points with 161, 19 away from tying Gewas Schindler (1996-99) for fifth 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 versus Boston University and three goals and an assist versus Bucknell. Through games of Monday, April 21, Pontrello is third in the nation in total goals with 43.

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, Boston University and Bucknell.

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.

He leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in goals per game (3.31), while he is third and 17th 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 .647 mark, saving 132 out of 204 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 has earned a record five Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors this year and has a goals against average of 6.86 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .619 through 13 games. He is second in the nation in saves percentage and third in goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.67 goals against average and .567 saves percentage. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 39-6. He is second in wins among active goalkeepers, trailing only Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 43 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 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.

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. He then snapped the 41-game point-scoring streak of Bucknell’s David Dickson on April 17, holding him without a shot.

In all, the players Fletcher has had primary marking responsibilities for have tallied 11 goals in 13 games this year (including three each by the University of Virginia’s Mark Cockerton and Penn State University’s Shane Sturgis in the season’s first two games). Four of those goals have come when Fletcher was already out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Fletcher has been named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week five times this year, the most any player in conference history has earned the award. He leads the Greyhounds with 61 ground balls and caused turnovers (19). His 64 career caused turnovers are fourth all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci, 88 of Scott Ratliff and Pat Laconi’s 68.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Pat Laconi has continued to show his versatility as one of the top short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation while being a player with offensive acumen. The Preseason All-American had a goal against Bucknell to bring his season total to eight goals and three assists and his career numbers to 13 and 12.

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 and then had a career-high five against Bucknell. His team-leading 27 caused turnovers are tops a this season have brought his career total to 68, third-most in school history.

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.69 through 13 contests. The Greyhounds have committed 0.98 fewer turnovers per game than the second-place team in the nation, Princeton.

 

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 (13.23) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.00) are third. As a result, Loyola leads the nation in scoring margin (+6.23).

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 13 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 22 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 27 goals, second-most on the team through 13 games. He had the game-winning goal 12 seconds into the second overtime at Navy and less than two weeks later posted a career-best six goals in a win over Bucknell.

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 to play in first Patriot League semifinal Friday

Posted on 20 April 2014 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland will host the Patriot League Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Championships this week after winning both sports’ regular-season titles with 8-0 records.

Ridley Athletic Complex will serve as the backdrop for both Championships, starting with the women’s semifinals on Thursday, April 24. The top-seeded Greyhounds will host Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross or Lehigh University at 5 p.m. in the opening semifinal, while No. 2 seed U.S. Naval Academy will play Boston University, Colgate or Holy Cross at 7:30 p.m.

The semifinal winners will meet in the Championship Game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26.

Loyola’s men, which are ranked No. 1 in the nation, open their championship play on Friday, April 25, by hosting the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The Greyhounds will play Bucknell University, Colgate or Navy.

The U.S. Military Academy is the Championships’ No. 2 seed and will play in the second semifinal, starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Black Knights will face Bucknell, Colgate or Lehigh.

The Men’s Championship Game will be contested at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, and all three men’s games will air live on CBS Sports Network.

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#1 Loyola looks to extend win streak Saturday against Boston U

Posted on 11 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Boston U. Terriers

Saturday, April 12, 2014  |  1:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland opens a three-game regular-season homestand on Saturday, April 12, when it hosts Boston University at 1 p.m.

The Greyhounds are 4-0 this season, and 22-7, all-time at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola has clinched one of the top two seeds in the April 25-27 Patriot League Championships and thus secured a by to the semifinals. The Greyhounds can clinch the Patriot League regular-season title, and earn the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the semifinal and championship games, with a win over Boston University or Bucknell University (April 17) or a loss by the U.S. Military Academy to the U.S. Naval Academy (Saturday) or Colgate University (April 18).

The Greyhounds have not allowed an extra-man goal in the last three games, holding opponents scoreless on four man-up possessions during the stretch. Boston University, meanwhile leads the Patriot League with 19 extra-man goals this year.

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

 

Last Time Out

Brian Sherlock picked up the ground ball off a Graham Savio faceoff win to start the second overtime period, sent a pass to Justin Ward low in the offensive box, and Ward passed cross-crease to Brian Schultz who scored the game-winner last Saturday in a 7-6 win at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Greyhounds took their first lead of the game at the end of a 3-0 third-quarter run when Ward scored with 2:53 left in the stanza.

The Midshipmen, however, evened the score at 6-6 Gabe Voumard’s second of the game 5:28 into the final period of regulation, and the game ended up in overtime.

Jack Runkel made nine saves for Loyola, the last coming midway through the first overtime on a behind-the-head shot by Tucker Hull from the doorstep.  The Midshipmen had another shot go off the pipe in the opening overtime.

Ward led all players with four points, scoring a goal and assisting on three, while Sherlock posted a team-best two goals.

Joe Fletcher had seven ground balls, and Pat Laconi caused three turnovers and had a transition assist.

Follow The Action

Saturday’s game, and all non-televised Patriot League games, will be broadcast on the Patriot League Network. Brent Harris of Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Network will call the play-by-play action

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

 

In The Polls

With Saturday’s win at Navy, Loyola remained in the No. 1 spot of both the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls for the third 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 Boston University, a first-year program, for the first time when the teams take the field Saturday. The Terriers are also in their first year as a member of the Patriot League. They joined the conference in June 2012, and Loyola accepted its membership less than two months later.

 

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 Colgate, 10-8, on March 29, Loyola has won 81.3 percent of those games (52-12).

 

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 39-7 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 10-1 this season) for a .848 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .909 this season is the best nationally.

Only Duke has won more games (41) than Loyola during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by more than seven percent (41-12, .774).

 

Chart Toppers

A pair of Greyhounds attackers are at or near the top of two offensive categories through games of Tuesday, April 8, in both total goals and assists. Nikko Pontrello is second in Division I with 37 goals, while Justin Ward is second with 36 assists.

The duo is the No. 2 point-scoring tandem in the country with 91 combined points (Ward, 48; Pontrello, 43). Albany’s Lyle (65) and Miles (60) have a combined 125.

 

Tops Among Close Defenders

Joe Fletcher leads Loyola in ground balls, total (51) and per game (4.64), this season, but more impressive than that, he paces all close defenders nationally in the categories. Fletcher is 42nd overall in ground balls per game, while the 41 players who are ahead of him are either face-off specialists or long-stick midfielders who play on the wings during restarts.

 

Record-Setting Quarterback

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out 30 assists in the last eight contests and 36 overall. He is second in the nation in total assists (36), and he is also third in the country and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.27 assists per game this year. His 36 assists are already third-most in school Division I single-season history, one off Brian Duffy’s No. 2 total of 37 in 1995 and two shy of tying Sean Heffernan’s single-season record from 1994.

With four assists against Duke, 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. Gary Hanley holds the all-time Loyola record with 160 assists. Ward is also ninth in school Division I history in total points with 153, one away from tying former teammate Mike Sawyer, who was on the receiving end of many of his assists, for eighth.

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 Saturday against Navy, snapping a streak of 10-straight games to start the season that Pontrello had two or more goals. Through games of Tuesday, April 8, Pontrello is second in the nation in total goals with 37.

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

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 37 goals and is second behind Justin Ward for the team-lead with 43 points through 11 games.

He leads the Patriot League and is second nationally in goals per game (3.70), while he is second and 11th in points per game (4.30).

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .639 mark, saving 108 out of 170 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 7.07 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .607 through 11 games. He is fourth in the nation in both saves percentage and  goals against average.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.75 goals against average and .561 saves percentage; he is fifth in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982) with 400 career saves. Runkel’s record between the pipes is 36-6. 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 44 ground balls and caused turnovers (14). His 59 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 51 ground balls and 4.64 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, bringing his season totals to six goals an two assists. He now has 11 goals and 11 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 20 caused turnovers this season have brought his career total to 62, third most in school history.

 

Taking Care Of The Ball

Loyola continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 10.27 through 1 contests. The Greyhounds have committed 1.37 fewer turnovers per game than the second-place team in the nation, Marquette.

 

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 (13.09) rank fifth, and its goals allowed (7.27) are fourth.

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.

 

Man-Up Success

Loyola has converted on just under half of its man-up possessions this year, scoring 15 goals on 32 opportunities. Its .469 success rate is good for 11th in NCAA Division I through games of Monday, April 7.

Nikko Pontrello leads the way with five man-up goals, while Kevin Ryan has four and Matt Sawyer and Brian Schultz each have two.

Nine of Loyola’s extra-man goals have been assisted by Justin Ward.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all 11 of its games this season, and it has had five stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have 18 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

 

 

Five-Plus For Two

Matt Sawyer scored six goals, and Nikko Pontrello tallied five for the Greyhounds on March 9 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.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has scored 19 goals, second-most on the team through 11 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.

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.

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Loyola perhaps set to take over top spot after crushing Lafayette

Posted on 22 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Nine Score As Men’s Lacrosse Tops Lafayette, 21-4

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland’s starting attack of Justin Ward, Nikko Pontrello and Brian Schultz all scored four goals, and six other Greyhounds tallied at least one, as No. 2-ranked Loyola beat visiting Lafayette College, 21-4, in Patriot League action Saturday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Ward finished with a team-high eight points, added four assists to bring his nation-leading total to 30 this season. Schultz’s four were a career-high.

Brian Sherlock added a career-high with three goals and two assists, and Romar Dennis matched his previous best with two tallies. Kevin Ryan and Matt Cunningham each scored goals, while Joe Fletcher and Mike Kutzer each had their first of their careers in transition.

Led by Ward’s four assists, 15 of the Greyhounds’ 21 goals were assisted on Saturday. Sherlock had two for the third time this season, and Tyler Albrecht distributed a career-best two. Ryan, Schultz, Dennis, Cunningham, Jordan Germershausen, Matt Sawyer and Graham Savio all had one.

Loyola (8-1 overall, 4-0 Patriot League) controlled possession in the game, winning 18-of-29 faceoffs and picking up 30 more ground balls than the Leopards, 52-22.

Savio won 13-of-19 restarts he took, and Blake Burkhard was successful on 5-of-8. Savio picked up a career-high 11 ground balls, while David Manning and Ryan Fournier each had career-bests with six and five, respectively.

Schultz and Sherlock combined to get the scoring started early for the Greyhounds less than three minutes into the game as Schultz rolled the crease and took a Sherlock pass to score. Ward tallied his first after Dennis dodged to the middle and passed to Ward for a 10-yard shot at 10:14.

Just over a minute later, Schultz scored his second, ripping a 15-yard shot off a Matt Sawyer goal. Lafayette got on the board at 8:03when Sonny Round dished out one of his two assists, finding Robert Orazietti crashing to the crease for a goal.

Schultz scored his third of the game, less than halfway through the first quarter, at 7:42 when he struck from nine-yards out off a Tyler Albrecht assist.

Fletcher, a two-time All-American defender, scored his first career goal 35 seconds later when Ward hit him with a pass in front of the crease, and Fletcher dumped it in for what would be the eventual game-winner.

Loyola led 6-2 by the end of the first quarter as Brendan Dunlap scored one of his two for the Leopards (1-6, 1-4) and Pontrello responded for the Greyhounds.

Pontrello quickly made it 7-2 in Loyola’s favor. Savio won the second quarter’s opening faceoff, picked up the ground ball and ran it into the box where he hit Pontrello on the crease for his second of the day.

Dennis and Sherlock scored their first of the afternoon at 14:16 and 13:12, and Loyola was up 9-2 with 13:12 left before halftime. Sherlock would score twice more in the quarter, and Pontrello and Ward each added goals, giving Loyola a 13-2 halftime advantage.

The lead went to 17-2 Loyola after Schultz and Pontrello scored, and Ward had back-to-back strikes. Brian Bock scored for Lafayette with 4:55 left in the third quarter, but Dennis, Cunningham and Kutzer responded with Greyhounds goals.

Dunlap scored his team-high second with 1.9 ticks left before the end of the frame, making it 20-4 Loyola at the end of the frame. Ryan had the only score of the fourth quarter at 9:15, providing the final 21-4 margin.

Loyola outshot the Leopards, 56-16. Jack Runkel played less than three full quarters and made five saves, allowing two goals for Loyola. Pat McEnerney stopped two shots, and Sam Beazell played the final seven minutes of scoreless lacrosse.

The Greyhounds continue Patriot League action on Saturday, March 29, with their first of two road games. Loyola will travel to Hamilton, N.Y., to face Colgate University at 12 noon.

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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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Sawyer, Pontrello combine for 11 goals as Loyola doubles up Duke

Posted on 09 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Sawyer, Pontrello Combine For 11 Goals As MLAX Downs No. 4 Duke

BALTIMORE – Matt Sawyer scored a career-high six goals, and Nikko Pontrello added five, as No. 5 Loyola University Maryland defeated fourth-ranked Duke University, 14-7, in front of 3,912 fans at Ridley Athletic Complex and a national television audience on CBS Sports Network Sunday night.

The Greyhounds (5-1 overall) trailed, 4-3, after the first quarter, but they scored 11 of the final 14 goals in the victory.

Sawyer scored three of his goals during a 5-0 Loyola run that started the second quarter, and his four in the first half matched half of his eight career goals entering the game. Pontrello scored in each quarter and had the first two of the third quarter.

Jordan Wolf’s goal with 2:50 left in the first quarter gave Duke (4-2) a 4-3 advantage that it would hold for the remainder of the period, but Sawyer face-dodged a defender and came free down the left alley to score his second of the game 56 ticks into the second quarter.

That goal sparked five unanswered goals that would stretch into a 7-1 Greyhounds run.

Pontrello backed down a defender on the left side of the crease and scored from close in to put Loyola in front, ultimately for good. Sawyer scored just under four minutes later, recording his second man-up goal of the night off a Justin Ward assist, and Brian Schultz was the recipient of a Ward cross-field pass at 8:14, and the senior ripped a hard shot inside the opposite post.

Ward’s assist on the Schultz goal was the 85th of his collegiate career, moving him into first-place in Loyola’s NCAA Division I history (since 1982) and passing the previous best by Jim Blanding. Ward fiished the game with five points on a goal and four assists.

Schultz’s goal at 8:14 made it a 7-4 Loyola advantage, and Sawyer tacked on another goal, unassisted after a long dodge to push the lead to four with 2:49 left in the first half.

Christian Walsh snapped Duke’s scoreless stretch at 16 minutes, 18 seconds, hitting a high-to-low shot from 12 yards out off a Dionne assist, bring the Blue Devils within three, 8-5, at halftime.

Loyola started the third quarter two men up after three penalties were called on a Duke player, and another was whistled on another. Pontrello tallied a goal for the Greyhounds on the extra-man opportunity at 13:14, his first of two-straight goals in the third quarter.

Duke got a goal back as Deemer Class scored on a Myles Jones assist with 4:14 left in the third quarter, but Loyola did not allow a Blue Devils goal for more than 11 minutes.

By that time, Sawyer, Pontrello and Ward had all scored in the fourth quarter, and Loyola was up 13-7 after Jones tallied one for the Blue Devils with 8:11 left.

Sawyer tacked on his sixth goal with 3:40 left in the game. It marked the second time this season that a Loyola player has scored six in a game (Pontrello at Holy Cross). It is also the second time a member of the Sawyer family has scored six against Duke at Ridley Athletic Complex. His older brother, three-time All-American Mike, tallied six goals and two assists in a 13-8 Loyola win on March 10, 2012.

Defensively, the Greyhounds held Duke’s two leading goal-scorers, Jordan Wolf (12 goals, 10 assists entering the game) and Dionne (12, 2) to one goal each.

Jack Runkel made nine saves on 16 shots on goal, while Loyola outshot the Blue Devils, 39-31.

Duke won 13-of-23 faceoffs in the game, but Loyola won the ground ball category, 35-34. Joe Fletcher led the Greyhounds with seven ground balls, while Pontrello, Runkel, Brian Sherlock, Graham Savio and Jason Crane each had three.

The Greyhounds move back into Patriot League play on Saturday, March 15, when they host the U.S. Military Academy at 1 p.m.

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