Undefeated St. John's Resumes ECAC Play for No. 14 Men's Lacrosse Saturday

March 11, 2009

Complete Loyola-St. John's Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Game Overview: Loyola (4-2, 1-0 ECAC) resumes ECAC play on Saturday when it hosts undefeated St. John's (4-0, 1-0 ECAC) at 1 p.m. in the second of four straight home games. It will be the second ECAC matchup for the Greyhounds, who opened up conference play with an 8-7 victory at Penn State back on February 28.

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 Red Storm moved up four spots to No. 15 in the coaches poll and entered the media poll for the first time all season at No. 17.

Last Time Out: Senior attackman Shane Koppens scored three goals and added a career-high six assists and long-stick middie P.T. Ricci registered career-bests in points (3) and groundballs (13) to propel Loyola to a 15-11 nonconference victory over visiting Bryant on Tuesday afternoon. The Greyhounds outshot the Bulldogs, 40-26, and scored a season-high11 goals in the second half, including seven in the fourth quarter after trailing by two at intermission. Jimmy Daly, Collin Finnerty, and Cooper MacDonnell all scored two goals apiece for Loyola, which put a season-best 10 different players in the scoring column.

Career Day For Koppens: Koppens' nine points (3 G, 6 A) against Bryant established a career-high for the reigning ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. His nine points are the most scored by a Loyola player since Patrick Kennedy scored eight (3 G, 5A) in a 19-4 Loyola victory over Wagner back on March 7, 2006. Furthermore, the last Loyola player to score nine points in a game was Gavin Prout, who scored six goals and three assists in a 16-12 win over Hofstra back on March 4, 2000, in Hempstead, N.Y. Koppens was three assists short of Loyola's all-time single game record of nine, set by Gary Hanley against Morgan State in 1979.

The Series: Loyola has swept four straight from the Red Storm since both of the programs joined the ECAC in 2005.

Last Meeting vs. St. John's: Attackman Cooper MacDonnell scored three goals and added an assist as Loyola defeated St. John's, 11-8, in Queens, N.Y. nearly a year ago today. After falling behind by a goal, Loyola responded with a 9-0 run--all coming in the first half--to take a 9-1 lead in halftime. The Red Storm rallied in the fourth but the deficit was too large to overcome. Shane Koppens, Chris Basler and Matt Langan all scored a pair for Loyola, while Justin O'Donnell scored four for the Red Storm.

Scouting The Red Storm: One of the bigger surprises in the league, No. 15/17 St. John's enters today's matchup as one of only four undefeated teams in the Top-20 polls, joining No. 1 Virginia (7-0), No. 3 Princeton (4-0) and No. 5 Notre Dame (4-0).

More on St. John's: A week ago, the Red Storm earned a come-from-behind win over Drexel, 8-6. Senior midfielder Trevor Michaelsen led the way with a career-high seven points (5 G, 2 A) and was named conference Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts. St. John's junior goaltender Gavin Buckley was crucial in the win, posting 12 saves with five in the third period. The Red Storm knocked off then-No. 5 ranked Georgetown, 10-9, the week before in Queens, N.Y.

The Coaches: Loyola's Charley Toomey '90 enters his fourth season as head coach of his alma mater's lacrosse program, boasting a 24-21 (.533) career record. Jason Miller, a '93 Springfield College graduate, is in his third season at St. John's with a 11-19 overall record.

Toomey Puts Streak On Line: Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey is a perfect 10-0 over the last three seasons in conference home games. He is 17-5 all-time against ECAC opponents.

Ricci Sets Career-Bests vs. Bryant: Senior long-stick middie P.T. Ricci had one of the more impressive stat-lines of the season on Tuesday against Bryant: one goal, two assists, 13 groundballs and five caused turnovers. The three total points established a career-high for the USILA preseason All-American, as did his groundball total. Included in one of Ricci's assists was a 40-foot pass that he made--sitting down--to a wide-open Collin Finnerty, whose goal extended the Loyola lead to 14-10 with 1:16 remaining.

Peaty Returns, Starts Second Half: After sitting out the 2008 season, Loyola senior goalkeeper Alex Peaty saw his first action in nearly 22 months on Tuesday against Bryant, starting the second half. He made two saves while allowing five goals. Peaty led Loyola to a 2007 NCAA Tournament berth as the team's full-time goalie.

Second Half Surge: Going into the Bryant game on Tuesday, Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey stressed the importance of finishing the game strong to his team. The message resonated, as the Greyhounds overcame a 6-4 halftime deficit with an 11-goal second half, including seven in the fourth period.

Greer Held In Low Gear: Bryant attackman Zack Greer, the NCAA's all-time leading points scorer, was limited to only two goals on Tuesday, including a tally in the final seconds long after the game had been decided. Greer, the former Duke standout, was held in check by Loyola's top-defenseman, Steve Layne. His three points fell well short of his 4.66 points-a-game average entering the contest.

Loyola Wins Turnover Battle: Against a suffocating Greyhounds defense, Bryant committed 27 turnovers, the most by a Loyola opponent all season. Nine of them were caused.

Koppens Tabbed To ECAC Honor Roll, Again: On Monday, attackman Shane Koppens was named to the ECAC Honor Roll on 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.

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.