April 7, 2005
Baltimore, Md. - Three weeks ago, Loyola and Syracuse were two teams that looked desperate for their playoff lives. This Saturday the two programs meet at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field as two of the hottest teams in the country and their showdown will be aired live on WMAR-TV 2 and ESPNU beginning at 1 p.m. Live Audio
The Greyhounds have won four straight and bring a hard-nosed defense that has allowed five or fewer goals in each of their last three games. Junior Michael Fretwell, who ranks ninth in the nation in goals against average (6.83) has anchored a Loyola defense that has given up more than seven goals only one time this season.
Syracuse, which is averaging more than nine goals per game, comes into Saturday's contest with a three-game win streak and an overall record of 4-3 - the same as Loyola. Just like the Greyhounds, all three of Syracuse's losses have come to ranked opponents.
The Orange, who are defending national champions, are ranked No. 6 in this week's media poll while the `Hounds have clawed their way back into the Top-20 with a No. 17 national ranking. The Greyhounds have also moved into second place in the ECAC with a 3-1 record and play first-place Georgetown next Saturday.
Senior Matt Monfett leads the Loyola attack with 12 goals this season while freshman Shane Koppens is tied for the team lead in points with eight goals and five assists this year. Last Saturday, Koppens registered a career-high three assists and also scored a goal in Loyola's 10-5 win over Rutgers.
The Loyola defense, led by senior starters Grant Halford, Dan Gross and Geoff Hunter will be put to test against Syracuse's leading scorer Brian Crockett (19 points) and top goal man Greg Rommell (15 goals this season). The Orange are coming off a 9-8 win over No. 15 Brown and are 2-0 in away games this season.
This weekend's match-up will be the 20th all-time meeting between Loyola and Syracuse. The Orange lead the all-time series 15-4, but three of Loyola's four wins have come at home. Head Coach Bill Dirrigl, who was an All-America player at Syracuse, is looking for his first win against his alma mater. A 1998 graduate of Syracuse, Dirrigl led the Orange to three Final Fours and a national championship.
Saturday's game is also Loyola's first televised game this season. ABC-TV 2 and ESPNU will also televise Loyola's season finale at Johns Hopkins. All of Loyola's games can be heard live on WNST AM 1570 and Online at www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com.