By Kendra Farrell '18, Athletic Communications Student Assistant
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BALTIMORE - The Loyola University Maryland golf team will travel to Annapolis, Maryland, for the 2016 Patriot League Championships, which will be held at United States Naval Academy Golf Club Saturday and Sunday.
This weekend's eight-team tournament will include two-time defending champion Loyola, in addition to Army West Point, which was picked to finish second, behind the Greyhounds, in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. Tournament host Navy checked in third, followed by Colgate, Lafayette, Bucknell, Lehigh and Holy Cross, respectively.
Loyola will attempt to become the third League program to pull of the three-peat, as Army West Point won the first six League Championships from 1991-95 and Navy took three-in-a-row from 1998-2001. The Greyhounds will also be playing for their ninth-straight conference title, as Loyola won six-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships before joining the Patriot League for the 2013-14 season.
"Our unique conference format affords us the opportunity to have six golfers compete for us this weekend," head coach Chris Baloga said. "I believe this will help us, as any of our six competitors have the ability to place in the top-five of this tournament, individually." Senior Jimmy Dengler, juniors Connor Flach, Ethan Wall and Will Wears, and sophomore Jeremy Wall and Bennett Wisner will compete for Loyola. Play will begin on Saturday with the first 36 holes and will conclude on Sunday with the final 18.
The Greyhounds competed in six tournaments in the fall season, including the Maryland Terrapin Invitational where Jeremy Wall was the overall winner with both rounds of play at or below par. Among the six tournaments during the fall, Loyola had four different top finishers on the team. The golf team hosted the Loyola Intercollegiate to begin their spring season and played in four tournaments with Wisner and Ethan Wall each having two top finishes for the Greyhounds.
"I'm proud of the effort and preparation the team has put in this spring season," Baloga said. "I expect our hard work to pay off this weekend. We are looking forward to the opportunity to defend our Patriot League Championship."
The winner of the Patriot League Tournament will earn the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Championship.