Ricci, Sawyer Head League-High Six All-ECAC Selections For Men's Lacrosse

May 5, 2009

CAPE COD, MASS. - Senior P.T. Ricci was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and freshman Mike Sawyer earned Rookie of the Year honors, the league office announced Tuesday. Loyola landed a league-high six selections on the All-ECAC teams, with two on the first team and four on the second team.

Along with Ricci, senior attackman Shane Koppens also earned first team laurels. Sawyer led four second team selections, along with juniors Cooper MacDonnell, Steve Layne and John Schiavone.

"This is obviously very exciting to have six players be named All-ECAC and I think that it's a testament to how well our team has worked together this season," said Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey, who has gone 22-6 against conference opponents during his tenure.

Massachusetts, which will represent the league in the NCAA Tournament, took home three of the five major awards, with Jim Connolly being named Offensive Player of the Year, Doc Schneider Goalkeeper of the Year, and Greg Cannella Coach of the Year.

Loyola (9-5 overall) went 6-1 in conference play, clinching a share of its third straight regular-season title. The Minutemen also went 6-1 and won the conference's automatic qualifier by virtue of their 8-6 win over Loyola back on March 21.

By being named Defensive Player of the Year, Ricci puts the finishing touches on an excellent year. Over the last two seasons, Ricci (Wayne, Pa./Conestoga) has flourished into arguably the nation's premier long-stick midfielder. In 2009, he led the country in caused turnovers (51) and was second in groundballs per game (6.36) among players not face-off specialists. Behind Ricci, the Greyhounds ranked fourth nationally with an average of 38.29 groundballs per game.

"P.T. has had a great career at Loyola, and I'm glad to see him earn this recognition," said Toomey. "He is a game-changer and it's a very nice award for an outstanding young man."

A First Team preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse, Ricci commonly guarded the opposition's best midfielder while also contributing on the offensive end with two goals and five assists. Against Bryant, he recorded career-highs of 13 groundballs and three points. For the year, he scooped 91 groundballs, good for fifth on the Loyola single-season groundball list. His 84 groundballs from 2008, when he was named a First Team All-ECAC selection, stands seventh on the list. His career numbers include 232 groundballs and 115 caused turnovers.

Sawyer (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) was named Rookie of the Year after ranking fourth on the team in scoring with nine goals and four assists in 12 games. The midfielder was named ECAC Rookie of the Week on March 16 and April 6, and scored a career-high four goals in a 12-9 win over Rutgers.

He is the second consecutive Greyhound to be named ECAC Rookie of the Year, as goalie Jake Hagelin also earned the award in 2008.

"Michael had a phenomenal year this year running first-team midfield as a freshman," said Toomey.

Koppens, who was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year a year ago, had a stellar 2009 season. Despite missing the first two games of the year, he led the team for the second straight season with 41 points on 22 goals and a team-high 19 assists.

The attackman scored a hat-trick in his season debut against Penn State and never looked back. He registered a career-high nine-point effort on three goals and six assists in the win over Bryant, becoming the first Loyola player since Gavin Prout in the 2000 season to accomplish the feat. One of the most decorated players to don the green and grey, Koppens (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) finishes his career fourth on the all-time Loyola assists list with 80 and eighth on the Loyola career points list with 151.

MacDonnell (Darien Conn./Darien) heads a trio of Loyola juniors to be named to the second team. The attackman led the Greyhounds in goals for the second season in a row with 30. He scored a goal in 13 of Loyola's 14 games, registered nine multi-goal games and scored at least three goals on four different occasions. He also raised his game to a higher level against elite competition, scoring a career-high five goals apiece in a split against second-ranked Syracuse and No. 18 Georgetown. He also added eight assists.

Schiavone (Silver Spring, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) proved himself more than worthy for the starting face-off role since day one, as he went 14-of-20 against Notre Dame in the season opener en route to winning 149-of-254 draws for a .587 winning percentage this season, good for fifth in the country. Included in that stretch was a pair of monster games in which he won a career-high 17-of-20 restarts against St. John's and a 16-of-19 outing against Rutgers. The junior was second on the team with 76 groundballs and chipped in three assists.

Layne (Downingtown, Pa./Malvern Prep) stepped into the role nicely as Loyola's premier lockdown defender following a preseason injury to Steve Dircks. The defender started all 14 games for the Greyhounds, scooping 48 groundballs while ranking second on the team in caused turnovers with 24. A tough and physical player, he helped anchor a Loyola defense that limited all seven of its conference opponents to single-digit goals while holding season opponents to an 8.67 goals-against-average.