March 1, 2006
Baltimore, Md. - Loyola's men's lacrosse team welcomes conference foe Penn State to Diane Geppi-Aikens Field for an early ECAC match-up this Saturday at 1 p.m. Both teams will be looking to get out front in the conference standings after road losses to non-conference ranked opponents last Saturday. Live Audio
After 45 meetings between the two programs, last year's game between Loyola and Penn State grew in importance as it marked Loyola's first-ever ECAC conference game, renewing a rivalry between the schools. The Nittany Lions came away with a 16-14 win, propelling the team to a 5-1 conference record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Greyhounds hope to return the favor this Saturday with the game also being Loyola's home opener, where it is 3-0 all-time against Penn State. The `Hounds ended up tying Georgetown for third in last season's conference standings with a 4-2 record and are picked fourth, one spot behind Penn State in this year's preseason poll.
Last week, Loyola opened the season with a tough 11-10 loss at No. 11 Towson. Junior Dan Bauers scored a career-high three goals while junior Jordan Rabidou won 15-of-17 face-offs to put Loyola in position to upend the Tigers. A late goal, however, spoiled a great comeback and a solid effort from senior goalie Michael Fretwell, who finished with 13 saves.
Similarly, Penn State went on the road and played well at No. 12 Notre Dame. Senior Nate Whittaker, last season's leading scorer and a preseason All-ECAC pick, scored three of PSU's four goals on the day. Freshman goalie Drew Adams made 16 saves and only allowed eight goals, but still suffered the loss in the cage.
Saturday's game is one of only two conference games on slate (St. John's at Georgetown is the other) and will give the winner an early lead in one of the nation's toughest conferences. Penn State will be Loyola's second ranked opponent in consecutive weeks - the Nittany Lions are No. 16 in this week's media poll.
Loyola is 16-4 in its last 20 home openers and last hosted Penn State to start the home schedule in 1989. That year, the Greyhounds won 14-7. Saturday's game can be heard live on WNST AM 1570.