April 16, 2008
Baltimore, Md. - The Loyola men's lacrosse team is one win away from clinching its first ECAC title since joining the league in 2005. The Greyhounds, who are 5-0 in the conference with two ECAC games left this season, travel to Fairfield this Saturday for a 3 p.m. game with the Stags. Live Audio
The Greyhounds are coming off their biggest win of the season, an 11-9 victory over No. 4 Georgetown. The win moved Loyola up in the national rankings to No. 15 in the USILA Coaches' Poll and No. 16 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.
More importantly than the rankings, however, last Saturday's win gave the Greyhounds their first ever 5-0 start in the ECAC and has them in the drivers seat with two games left on the conference slate. Loyola needs one victory over either Fairfield or Hobart to claim the ECAC title and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
This Saturday's game will feature a Loyola offense that has found its groove of late. The Greyhounds have scored 26 goals in two games this month and have 52 in their last four league games. Senior Shane Koppens, the Inside Lacrosse National Player of the Week (as well as ECAC Offensive Player of the Week) is coming off a career day with five goals and two assist against Georgetown.
Koppens leads the team with 36 points, while four Greyhounds have 10 or more goals this season. Sophomore Cooper MacDonnnell leads the Loyola goal scores with 18 this year, while freshman Matt Langan and junior Jake Willcox have contributed 11 and 10 goals respectively.
Last season, Loyola jumped out to a 10-0 lead en route to a 19-2 win over Fairfield at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. The Greyhounds won that game with 11 goal scorers, registering their highest goal output since 2001 and posting their largest margin of victory since 1996.
This year's game will be televised live on CN8. It is Loyola's second CN8 broadcast this season. The Greyhounds posted a 15-1 win over UMass in the first broadcast back on March 22.
The Stags are 3-7 overall, 1-3 in the ECAC, and enter the game on a seven-game losing streak. Fairfield does, however, lead the league in caused turnovers per game this season. The Stags are forcing 8.8 turnovers per game, while Loyola is second in the conference with 8.7 caused turnovers per game.
The Greyhounds, who lead the ECAC in shooting percentage, groundballs and man-down efficiency, have dominated the scoreboard in ECAC games this season. Loyola has scored the most goals of any team in ECAC play while at the same time allowing the fewest goals of any team in ECAC play.
This Saturday's game can also be heard live on WNST AM 1570 with Chris Gunkel broadcasting the play-by-play and guest Pat Reed providing color commentary. Game time is officially slated for 3:05 p.m.