BOSTON - Loyola University Maryland graduate Joe Fletcher '14 was named the 2015 Major League Lacrosse Warrior Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, narrowly edging his former Greyhounds teammate Scott Ratliff '13 for the honor.
Fletcher, who is in his second professional season, will vie for the MLL title Saturday when his New York Lizards face the Rochester Rattlers.
He received six first-place votes from MLL head coaches and general managers, and with two second place votes, he had a total of 36 points. Ratliff garnered four first-place votes and was a pair shy of Fletcher overall with 34.
Fletcher has been a key part of the Lizards' close defense that has allowed an MLL low 167 goals this season. He picked up 60 ground balls and was lauded for his lockdown defensive abilities for New York.
Ratliff, meanwhile, cemented his status as the League's preeminent transition player. He scooped up 81 ground balls to lead all players on the Boston Cannons, and he scored eight goals, three from two-point range, and had nine assists. His 20 points were double the next highest total by a MLL long-stick midfielder or defender.
Both players were decorated members of the Loyola defense that helped the Greyhounds win the school's first-ever NCAA Division I title in 2012.
Fletcher earned United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-America honors three times, becoming the school's first defender to ever earn First Team honors twice. He was the 2014 USILA Defensive Player of the Year and was a recipient of the NCAA Today's Top Ten Award later that year for combining excellence in the classroom and on the field.
Ratliff was a two-time All-American for the Greyhounds and set a school record for goals, assists and points by a long-stick midfielder. He was the ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and the conference's Specialist of the Year in 2013.