Dec. 8, 2009
Centerville, Mass. - ECAC Lacrosse coaches picked Loyola University Maryland as the team to beat in the conference this season, the league office announced today, and they selected Loyola senior Cooper MacDonnell as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
The Greyhounds received six first-place votes and 47 total points, outdistancing Denver (one first-place vote, 41 points) in second place and Ohio State (one first-place vote, 40 points). Fairfield (29), Hobart (27), Air Force (20), Quinnipiac (12) and Bellarmine (8) filled out the remainder of the eight-team league.
"We are very excited to get the season started in the new-look ECAC," Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "It will be fun to travel to some new places and see teams that we haven't faced before. It is an honor to be picked first by our fellow schools, but we know that it is going to be a difficult season in the league with tough games every time we take the field."
Also announced by the conference were Preseason All-ECAC honors with MacDonnell being joined on the All-ECAC team by senior defender Steve Layne.
MacDonnell was an All-ECAC Second Team honoree last season after leading Loyola with 30 goals and finishing second on the team with 38 total points. He scored at least one goal in 13 of Loyola's 14 games in 2009 and had a point in each contest.
MacDonnell twice earned ECAC Offensive Player of the Week laurels last season after scoring a career-high five goals on two occasions, against No. 2 Syracuse and No. 18 Georgetown. He also picked up All-ECAC Second Team honors as a sophomore in 2008 when he tallied a team-best 22 goals.
Layne also garnered All-ECAC Second Team honors in 2009 after staring all 14 games on close defense. One of the top shutdown defenders in the nation, Layne was usually assigned to mark the opponents' top offensive player. He picked up 48 groundballs and caused 24 turnovers last season, his second as a member of the starting unit.
As a team, Loyola finished the 2009 campaign with a 9-5 record. The Greyhounds, who played the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation, were 6-1 in the ECAC, tying Massachusetts for the ECAC crown.
Loyola opens its 2010 schedule with a road trip to Annapolis, Md., and a February 20 contest at the United States Naval Academy.