Rutgers Kicks Off Four Straight ECAC Tilts For Men's Lacrosse

April 1, 2009

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Game Tracker

Game Overview: A stretch of four consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference matchups will occupy the month of April for Loyola, beginning with a road tilt at Rutgers on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Yurcak Field in New Brunswick, N.J.

The Rankings: On Monday Loyola (5-4 overall, 2-1 ECAC) dropped a spot in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll to No. 16 and retained its No. 15th position, tied with Colgate, in the USILA Coaches poll. The Scarlet Knights enter the game unranked.

Last Time Out: Cooper MacDonnell scored his career-high fifth goal with 12:01 to play in the fourth quarter, giving No. 15 Loyola a 12-8 lead, but second-ranked Syracuse outscored the Greyhounds 6-1 the rest of the way to win a 14-13 non-conference thriller on Saturday afternoon at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. A Jimmy Daly goal stretched the Loyola lead back to 13-11 with 4:21 remaining, but Kenny Simms scored and Dan Hardy netted two straight, including the game-winner with 1:17 to play, ending the Greyhounds hopes for the upset bid.

The Series: Loyola is a decisive 8-1 all-time against Rutgers since the series opener in 1990. The Scarlet Knights' sole win came in 2007, a 17-7 victory here in New Brunswick.

Last Meeting vs. Rutgers: Ten different players for the net for Loyola which earned two goals and three assists from Shane Koppens to post an emphatic 15-3 win over Rutgers in Baltimore, giving the Greyhounds their first 4-0 start in the ECAC since joining the league. The current starting attacking corps of Loyola- Cooper MacDonnell, Collin Finnerty and Koppens--all added two goals apiece, while Matt Langan posted a career-best three goals.

Scouting The Scarlet Knights: Rutgers (4-6) posted a dominant 17-1 home win on Wagner in a mid-week tuneup on Tuesday. Sophomore Kory Kelly scored his third straight hat trick and 10 different Scarlet Knights scored, as Rutgers ran off 17 unanswered goals after Wagner (1-9) scored just a minute into the game. The one goal given up is the fewest surrendered by a Rutgers team since a 10-1 victory over Yale on April 4, 1998, and the Knights have scored 31 goals over their last two games. Rutgers is tied with Loyola for third place in the current conference standings. The only mutual opponent between the teams thus far is St. John's, which Rutgers beat 14-10. Loyola topped the Red Storm,10-7, at home.

The Coaches: Loyola's Charley Toomey '90 enters his fourth season as head coach of his alma mater's lacrosse program, boasting a 25-23 (.520) career record. He is 2-1 against Rutgers all-time. Jim Stagnitta (Penn '84) enters his eighth season at the helm of the Red Storm program with a 46-60 record there.

An April of ECAC Action: Loyola will play four consecutive conference games in April, starting with trips to Rutgers and Georgetown and then returning to host Fairfield and Hobart to close out the month. This should be positive news for the defending conference champs, as they are 18-6 against ECAC opponents under Charley Toomey. They were 3-1 last season in April.

MacDonnell Honored By ECAC: After scoring a career-high five goals against Syracuse on Saturday, junior Cooper MacDonnell was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Week. The attackman has now scored a goal in every game for Loyola this season, and he's scored two or more in every game since Towson. He averaged a hat-trick a game over Loyola's last four home matches. He now leads the team in goals with 21, just one shy of his team-high total of 22 last season.

Koppens Rebounds: After being held scoreless against UMass for just the fourth time in his esteemed career, Shane Koppens responded swiftly against Syracuse by scoring a hat-trick and an assist. He now leads the team in points (26) on 15 goals and 11 assists, and is 12th in the nation in points-per-game at 3.71.

Koppens Moves Into Top Ten: With four total points against Syracuse, Koppens moved into a tie with Brian Kroneberger for ninth on Loyola's all-time points list with 136. Meanwhile, with an assist against the Orange, he also earned sole possession of fifth-place on the Loyola all-time assist list with 72. He is now just five shy of catching Mike Ruland (77) for fourth.

Finnerty Sets Career-Best: With fellow attackmen Shane Koppens and Collin Cooper MacDonnell drawing heaps of attention from Syracuse's defensemen, attackman Collin Finnerty was the beneficiary. He dished out a career-high four assists against the Orange and now has eight assists over his last three games.

Hounds Patrolling the Ground: Despite losing the groundball total to Syracuse, 41-35, Loyola still stands fourth nationally in groundballs-a-game at 37.44. The Greyhounds are 4-2 in games when the pick up more groundballs, and 1-2 when they don't.

Ricci On Pace For Single-Season Record: With 68 groundballs through Loyola's eight games, preseason All-American P.T. Ricci is currently on pace to become Loyola's all-time single-season groundball holder. The Loyola record for groundballs in a season is 106 set by Peter Haas in the 1998 season. Ricci, a long-stick midfielder, is currently third in the nation in groundballs-a-game at 7.33.

Schiavone Controlling The X: Face-off specialist John Schiavone was a one-man committee against Syracuse, facing seven different opponents at the X. He has won 104-of-186 on the season for a 0.556 winning percentage, which ranks 17th nationally. His 5.78 groundballs-a-game ranks 13th.

Ricci Named A Mid-Season All-American: Loyola senior P.T. Ricci was named to the Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-American First Team this week for the `specialist' designation. He was just one of 11 players on the First Team. He was named a pre-season All-American by numerous publications. He was the only Loyola player recognized.

Trio of Twenty: Two members of the Loyola attacking unit--MacDonnell and Finnerty--both boast 24 points, while Koppens has 26 on the season, giving Loyola the ECAC's only trio of 20+ point scorers.

More On Loyola's Depth: Loyola has 15 players this season score at least one goal, while eight players have scored four or more goals.

Daly Makes Scoring Routine From Midfield: Loyola senior co-captain Jimmy Daly leads Loyola's midfielders with eight goals and an assist. Senior Jake Willcox has come on strong as well. He has scored a goal in the last four games and has sixon the year.

Koppens Honored BY ECAC, Inside Lacrosse: After accomplishing a feat not seen by a Loyola player in nearly a decade, Loyola attackman Shane Koppens was named the league Offensive Player of the Week and to Inside Lacrosse's Team of the Week for March 16. Against Bryant, Koppens nearly willed the Greyhounds to a victory, scoring three goals and adding a career-high six assists, becoming the first Loyola player to score nine points in a game since Gavin Prout scored six and three in a 16-12 win over Hofstra back in the 2000 season. Koppens' six assists against the Bulldogs were the most recorded by a player in a single game this season in Division-I, and his nine-point game ranks second-best. Carrying over that momentum, the reigning ECAC Offensive Player of the Year scored two goals and added two assists in the win over St. John's.

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.