Dancing With The Devils

May 7, 2008

Baltimore, Md. - The Loyola men's lacrosse team is in the big dance again. The dancing partner - top-seeded Duke. The Greyhounds travel to Durham this Saturday for a nationally televised NCAA Tournament match-up with the Blue Devils. Game time is slated for 2:34 p.m. on ESPNU with Eamon McAnaney calling the play-by-play and Matt Ward providing color commentary.

The Greyhounds and Blue Devils have never faced each other in the NCAA Tournament. Recent history, however, indicates that it will be a highly contested game. Since adding Duke to its schedule in 2000, Loyola is 4-5 against the Blue Devils with six of the nine games decided by two goals or less.

Duke won the regular season match-up this season at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 2 at the time and posted a season-high goal total on the `Hounds. Loyola came back; winning five of its next seven games to put itself in position for this postseason re-match.

Last year at the First Four in San Diego, the Blue Devils were the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Loyola, ranked No. 16 at the time, upset Duke with two goals in the final two minutes of play. That game was not only Loyola's last win over a No. 1 team, but the last time the Greyhounds played a No. 1 team.

This year, Loyola closed the regular season with a 7-6 overall record. The `Hounds earned the ECAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with their first conference title since joining the league in 2005. Duke, on the other hand, went 16-1 this season. The Blue Devils' only blemish was a loss to Georgetown - a team Loyola defeated in April.

Saturday's game marks Loyola's 16th NCAA Tournament appearance and the program's first back-to-back showing in the postseason since the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Overall, the Greyhounds are 8-7 all-time in NCAA first-round games.

Last year, Shane Koppens, Paul Richards and Joe Landry accounted for five of Loyola's goals in the first round against Albany. The Greyhounds dropped that game, but all three scorers are back as seniors this season.

Koppens leads the team with 19 goals and 23 assists this season. Richards has eight goals, seven assists and 49 groundballs, while sophomore Cooper MacDonnell has a team-high 21 goals for the Greyhounds.

Loyola's defense, led by the solid play of freshman goalkeeper Jake Hagelin, allowed less than seven goals per game in the month of April and has held opponents to five goals or less in five of its games this season.

Hagelin, who has a .579 save percentage, will be Loyola's first true freshman to start an NCAA Tournament game since All-America Tim McGeeney started in the cage in the 1992 first-round against Brown.

In addition to the television coverage, Loyola will broadcast the game live on WNST AM 1570. The winner of Saturday's game will travel to Cornell for the NCAA Quarterfinals.

NCAA Tournament Central
Loyola vs. Duke
: Saturday, May 10
Time: 2:34 p.m.
Location: Koskinen Stadium - Durham, N.C.
Tickets: Purchase tickets through the Duke Ticket Office
Driving Directions/Stadium Map: Kossinen Stadium
Television: ESPNU (DirecTV: Channel 609, Dish Network: Channel 148)
Radio: WNST AM 1570, Live Audio
NCAA Tournament Bracket: Download Bracket in PDF Format
Game Notes: Download Loyola-Duke Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader