March 31, 2005
Baltimore, Md. - With three straight wins, including last Saturday's 6-5 win over No. 11 UMass, the Greyhounds have climbed back to .500 and hold a 2-1 record in the ECAC. Loyola will put its win streak and newfound confidence on the line this Saturday at Rutgers when it squares off in a conference battle. Listen
The Greyhounds are 5-0 all-time against Rutgers but haven't played the Scarlet Knights since 1994. Now that they are conference rivals, the two sides will meet annually with plenty at stake. Rutgers is currently a half-game back of Loyola in conference standing is coming off a 9-6 win over St. John's.
Both teams have had similar starts to the season with every loss coming to ranked opponents. Rutgers is 3-4 overall and was picked to finish third in the league's preseason coaches poll. Loyola, which is a half-game back of first-place Georgetown, was picked to finish fourth.
Senior Matt Monfett currently leads the Greyhounds with 10 goals and 11 points while freshman Shane Koppens is coming off a career game against Massachusetts. Koppens, who scored three goals and was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week, has scored five goals in his last two starts and has seven goals and two assists this season.
Despite Monfett's and Koppens' efforts, the defense has been the story this year and Loyola has a solid corps of veterans to thank for that. With five seniors on the unit, including co-captain Grant Halford, the Greyhounds are holding opponents to 7.34 goals per game. In their last two wins, the defense has allowed eight total goals.
Goalie Michael Fretwell has also stepped up with 62 saves to date and a save percentage of 60 percent. So far this season, Loyola has given up seven or fewer goals in five of six games.
Rutgers top goal scorer is Nate Sanderson while Leif Blomquist has a team-high 22 points with 10 goals and 12 assists. The Scarlet Knights, who are scoring 8.43 goals per game, are giving up an average of 8.71 goals each time out.
Saturday's game will also be Loyola Coach Bill Dirrigl's first visit to Rutgers since leaving the school in 2001. Dirrigl coached the Scarlet Knights for one season before returning to take the head job at Loyola.
Tune into WNST AM 1570 or go to www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com for all the live action. Face-off from Yurcak Field is slated for 1 p.m.