April 20, 2006
Baltimore, Md. - Ranked No. 14 in this week's media poll, the Loyola men's lacrosse team will be gunning for its third straight win when it travels to Fairfield for an ECAC meeting with the Stags this Saturday. The Greyhounds jumped six spots in the poll after defeating No. 2 Georgetown and now face a Fairfield team in need of a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Game time from Lessing Field is 1 p.m. Live Audio
The `Hounds also need wins to get into the postseason and can support their own cause by winning their final two conference games, both of which are on the road. This Saturday's game at Fairfield will mark the seventh time these programs have met, but it will be the first time as conference rivals.
Loyola has dominated the series, winning its first six meetings with Fairfield by an average of 14.3 goals per game. These teams have never faced each other in Connecticut and have not met since the 2000 season. The Greyhounds joined the ECAC last year while Fairfield is in its first season of ECAC play.
The Greyhounds, who have an 8-3 conference record since joining the ECAC, are 4-1 in the league this season. They are tied atop the standings with Penn State and half-a-game ahead of both Georgetown and UMass, who are 3-1 and face each other this Saturday.
Loyola's 14-goal offensive explosion on Saturday pushed its goals per game average to 9.89. Sparked by career-high efforts from juniors Greg Leonard and Ryan Rabidou, the Loyola offense outscored the Hoyas 6-2 in the third quarter and 9-4 in the second half. Loyola's man-up unit, ranked second in the nation, converted 2-of-3 extra-man opportunities, upping its conversion percentage to .562.
Leonard's three goals and two assists against Georgetown earned him ECAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. His three-goal effort was matched by Ryan Rabidou, who now has 14 goals this season, while junior Dan Bauers, who contributed two goals in the win, is Loyola's leading scorer with 16 goals and 25 points. Junior Andrew Spack, who has won 23-of-30 face-offs during Loyola's two-game homestand, is the team's second-leading scorer with eight goals and 13 assists.
The `Hounds current two-game win streak improves their season record to 5-4, but four of those wins have come at home. The upcoming two-game road trip will be critical in determining ECAC, whose standings should become clearer this weekend with all eight teams playing league games.
Fairfield is 2-2 in the conference and enters Saturday on a three-game losing skid. The Stags, who are still alive in the race for the ECAC title, will likely have a say in the final outcome with games against UMass and St. John's after Loyola.
The Greyhounds have relied heavily on defense away from home and hope that senior goalie Michael Fretwell is up to the challenge. Fretwell and the Loyola defense will aim to keep the Stags below their 9.86 goal-per-game average. So far this season, the `Hounds have held opponents to a shooting percentage of 25 percent and 8.33 goals per game.
Fairfield, which is 1-3 at home this season, will be playing its final home game of the year on Saturday. The game, slated for a 1 p.m. face-off, can be heard live on WNST AM 1570 on Online with Live Audio.