Bryant Opens Up Four-Game Homestand For Men's Lacrosse

March 9, 2009

Game Overview: After a three-game, weeklong roadtrip over Spring Break, Loyola (3-2, 1-0 ECAC) makes a well-deserved return to Baltimore on Tuesday when it faces Bryant in the first of four straight home contests. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.

The Rankings: On Monday, Loyola maintained its No. 14 position in the USILA Coaches Poll, while falling two spots to No. 18 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll. The Bulldogs enter the game unranked.

Last Time Out: Senior attackman Shane Koppens's fourth goal of the afternoon cut the Duke lead to one with 7:27 to play, but the Blue Devils held the Greyhounds scoreless the rest of the way and tacked on an insurance goal to take an 11-9 victory at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C, ending the Greyhounds' three-game winning streak. Junior attackman Cooper MacDonnell also added a pair of tallies for Loyola, which concluded its road trip 2-1.

Koppens Continues To Shine: Koppens' four goals were one short of his career high five, which he set against Georgetown back on April 12, 2008. He also added an assist against Duke, equaling the ninth 5+ point game of his esteemed career. Despite sitting out the first two games of the season, he is already third on the team in points with nine, a team-best three-a-game.

The Series: As 2009 marks Bryant's inaugural season in Division-I lacrosse, this will be the first ever matchup between the two programs.

Last Meeting vs. Bryant: The teams have never played before in their histories.

Scouting The Bulldogs: Bryant (4-2) enters the game having won four of its last five. In their last outing Sunday, senior captain Zack Greer, a former first-team All American at Duke, scored four goals to pace the Bulldogs to a 7-6 win over Mount St. Mary's. Sophomore Matt Larson scored the game-winning goal with two minutes remaining to jumpstart a three-game Spring Break road trip. The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents by an even four goals a game this year (11.67 to 7.67), while Geer leads a contingent of three Bryant players in double-digits with 17 goals.

The Coaches: Loyola's Charley Toomey '90 enters his fourth season as head coach of his alma mater's lacrosse program, boasting a 23-21 (.522) career record. For Bryant, veteran Head Coach Mike Pressler (Washington and Lee '82) is in his 23rd season with a 233-104 all-time record. He won nearly 150 games at the helm of Duke.

Koppens Tabbed To ECAC Honor Roll For Second Straight Week: Attackman Shane Koppens was named to the ECAC Honor Roll on Monday for the second straight week. Koppens, a native of Clifton Park, N.Y., almost single-handedly help Loyola pull off the upset vs. the Blue Devils, scoring four goals and adding an assist. Against Siena, he assisted on the last of a pair of Cooper MacDonnell goals to give the Greyhounds' a 7-3 lead.

Fourth Quarter Woes: Loyola has been outscored 18-9 in the fourth period this season, including 4-2 in the decisive final period against Duke. The Greyhounds have not won a fourth-quarter in 2009.

Controlling the Ground: Loyola averages 33.80 groundballs-a-game, which ranks second in the conference. Long-stick middie P.T. Ricci leads the team with 31, while junior John Schiavone is second with 22. Junior midfielder Taylor Ebsary (20) and junior defender Steve Layne (18) round out the top four.

Ricci Riling It Up: Against Duke on Saturday, Ricci, a USILA first-team All American, scooped a team-high six groundballs. The long-stick middie now averages 6.20 groundballs-a-game (31 in 5 games),good for second in the conference.

Schiavone Controlling The X: Entering the season, many critics wondered how the Greyhounds would fare at the face-off with the graduation of Tim McDermott. The answer: pretty darn good. John Schiavone has been a force for Loyola at the X, winning 56-of-98 (.571). As a team, Loyola is 58-of-101 at face-offs, with a .563 winning percentage. That is third-best in the ECAC, trailing only Rutgers (.657) and St. John's (.627).

Ricci Tabbed Preseason All-American: Loyola long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci was named a preseason First Team All-American in mid-December in Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Yearbook, while Koppens garnered honorable mention honors. Ricci picked up 84 groundballs last season, which was fifth most in program history for a single season. Ricci also led his team with 41 caused turnovers and picked up at least five groundballs on 10 different occasions.

Koppens, Ricci Named To ECAC Team: Both Koppens and Ricci were two of the 11 players named to the preseason All-ECAC Team. Koppens led the league last season with 45 points and was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. Ricci was also named a First Team All-ECAC selection in 2008 after leading the Greyhounds to their first-ever ECAC title since joining the league in 2005.

Greyhounds Picked Second In ECAC: A vote by league coaches picked defending-champs Loyola to finish second in the ECAC for the 2009 season. The Greyhounds received three first-place votes from the league's eight coaches. Georgetown, ranked seventh in the preseason national USILA poll, was picked to finish first.

Loyola Names Its Captains: The 2009 Greyhounds will be captained by a talented quartet of seniors: midfielder Jimmy Daly, defender Eddie Graham- a talented defenseman who missed all of last season with a knee injury- Koppens and Ricci.

2008 Loyola Season Recap: Loyola earned its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the ECAC with a 6-1 record and earning the league's automatic postseason berth. The Greyhounds went 7-7 last season and fell at top-seeded Duke, 12-7, in the first round of the tournament in Durham, N.C.

Plenty of Scorers Returning: Loyola brings back eight starters from last year's team and 35 letterwinners. Included are the top four scorers from a year ago: Koppens (19 G, 25 A), junior Cooper MacDonnell (22 G, 5 A), sophomore Matt Langan (11 G, 7 A) and junior Collin Finnerty (16 G, 1 A).

Don't Forget The 'D: In 2008, the Greyhounds made defense their trademark, ranking 17th nationally in goals-against-average, while limiting ECAC opponents to a league-low 5.57 goals-a-game. Loyola welcomes back senior Eric Kohl, juniors Steve Layne and Steve Dircks, along with Graham, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, but was a standout defenseman for Loyola two seasons ago.

New Faces At Face-Off: Loyola will miss the presence of Tim McDermott at the X. McDermott graduated last season but won 109-of-186 (.586) last season for the Greyhounds. Stepping in to fill the void will be senior Michael Atkinson (43-46, .483 in 2008) and John Schiavone (11-7, .611). Junior Michael Haight will also contend for a spot in the rotation.

Good To Go In The Goal: Sophomore Jake Hagelin had one of the more impressive freshman seasons in the country last year, playing in all but 25 minutes the entire year and setting a new single-season ECAC record with a 5.52 GAA in conference play. The team also welcomes back senior Alex Peaty, who helped Loyoa to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.