March 18, 2013
CENTERVILLE, Mass. - A pair of Loyola University Maryland juniors - attacker Justin Ward (co-offensive) and defender Joe Fletcher (defensive) - earned weekly honors from the ECAC Lacrosse League on Monday following the Greyhounds' 13-7 victory over the United States Air Force Academy in the Whitman's Sampler Mile High Classic on Saturday.
Ward, who was named the Mile High Classic game Most Valuable Player, tallied his second game with seven or more points this season, scoring two goals and matching his career-high with five assists, contributing to more than half of the Greyhounds' goals. Three of his five assists were to players within two yards of the crease, giving his teammates one-on-one opportunities with the goalkeeper. He scored the Greyhounds' third goal of the game, wrapping up a 3-0 run that put Loyola on top, 3-1, with 3:47 to play in the first quarter.
Ward also had two assists during a 4-0 third-quarter run that pushed Loyola's lead to six. He also caused a turnover and picked up two ground balls. Ward continues to lead the team in scoring this season with 18 goals and 16 assists for 34 points in seven games.
Fletcher had an outstanding performance on close defense when he took the assignment of covering Air Force's offensive quarterback, Preseason All-American Keith Dryer, and he held the attacker without a point. Dryer had four goals and a team-leading 10 assists entering the game.
Fletcher, a Preseason First Team All-American had three ground balls and a caused turnover in the game, and he did the little things that did not show up in the box score. He twice outraced Air Force players after a Falcons' shot that went out of bounds, garnering possession for the Greyhounds.
The weekly awards are the third and fourth of the season for Loyola players and the first of both Ward and Fletcher's careers. Goalkeeper Jack Runkel and long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff earned Defensive Player of the Week honors each of the two preceding weeks.
Ward, Fletcher and the Greyhounds return to the field on Wednesday, March 20, for their final midweek game of the 2013 regular-season when they play at Georgetown University in a 7 p.m. contest.