CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Despite playing just one season in the Patriot League, former Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse stars Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward made huge marks on the conference record books and were two of 25 players named to the Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team.
The duo led Loyola to a sweep of Patriot League opponents in 2014 as the Greyhounds went 8-0 during the regular-season and then won two Patriot League Championships games by a combined 15 goals.
Ward was named the League’s Offensive Player of the Year, and Fletcher earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. The former earned All-America Second Team recognition, while the latter was named a first team All-American for the second year in a row.
Fletcher set a Patriot League record for weekly awards after being named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week five times during the season. He went on to earn the William C. Schmeisser Award as the nation's top defender in 2014 and was just the second defensive player to be a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award.
He was the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2013-2014 and then became just the sixth lacrosse player and second Patriot League student-athlete ever to earn the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award that recognizes the best student-athletes in all sports and all divisions. Earlier this month, Fletcher was named Major League Lacrosse’s Warrior Defensive Player of the Year, and he led the New York Lizards to the MLL title.
Ward set the Patriot League single-season record for assists with 53 in his only campaign in the conference. The mark also shattered Loyola’s Division I record and helped him ascend to No. 2 all-time at the school in assists (120). He tied Loyola’s Division I single-season record for points with 71, and his 3.12 assists per game were second in Division I in 2014.
His career assist total finished at 120, breaking the school Division I mark by 36. He eclipsed the total of 84 that Jim Blanding recorded from 1989-92. He joined Fletcher, and their fellow tri-captain Pat Laconi, as a USILA Scholar All-American after recording two or more assists in 16 of Loyola's 17 games. He tallied three or more for a 12-game stretch, as well during the year.