Loyola University Maryland returns to ECAC Lacrosse League action on Saturday, March 16, 2013, when it participates in the Whitman's Sampler Mile High Classic, an Inside Lacrosse Experience.
The Greyhounds will play the Air Force Academy at Sports Authority at Mile High, home of the National Football League's Denver Broncos. Faceoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Mountain time, 4 p.m. Eastern.
Notre Dame and Denver follow the Greyhounds and Falcons with the Classic's second game, starting at 4:30 p.m. Mountain.
Follow The Action
Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3, the broadband arm of ESPN. Mark Dixon will call the play-by-play, and Jamie Munro will provide the analysis.
Loyola and Air Force will meet for the eighth time in series history when the teams take the field Saturday, the fourth time in ECAC Lacrosse League action.
The Greyhounds hold a 6-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Falcons after winning the March 17, 2012, contest, 15-8.
Air Force reeled off four-straight second-quarter goals in last year's game to take a 7-4 lead on Ryland De Pol's goal with 2:42 to go before halftime. J.P. Dalton, who won 18-of-26 faceoffs in the game, scored off a Scott Ratliff assist 16 seconds into the second half to ignite a 10-0 Loyola run that would put the Greyhounds in control of the game.
Since Air Force joined the ECAC in 2009, Loyola is 2-1 against the Falcons with the lone loss coming on May 19, 2011, when Air Force took an 8-6 decision in Colorado Springs.
In The Polls
Loyola sits at No. 8 in the USILA Coaches and 10th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media polls.
Inside Lacrosse Events
Saturday's game will be the second Inside Lacrosse-run event that the Greyhounds have competed in.
Loyola lost, 11-9, to Notre Dame, another participating in this year's Mile High Classic, on March 6, 2010, in the Konica-Minolta Face-Off Classic at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.
It will also be Loyola's second game at what is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Greyhounds played Denver in a regular-season game on May 2, 2010, and lost, 12-4, to the Pioneers.
Last Time Out
Duke scored five goals in the fourth quarter to overcome a deficit to start the period, and the host Blue Devils held off Loyola for a 9-8 non-conference victory in Durham, N.C., last Friday night.
Phil Dobson broke a 4-4 tie with his first goal of the season with 7:28 to go in the third quarter, and the Greyhounds carried the 5-4 lead into the final 15 minutes.
Duke's Case Matheis took a Jordan Wolf feed from behind and scored with 13:59 left in regulation after Wolf picked up a ground ball when a Duke shot went wide of the cage and directly to him.
Josh Offit then put the Blue Devils in front for the first time since the second quarter with a goal 1:33 later. Sean O'Sullivan tied the game for Loyola with an extra-man goal at 10:36, but Duke tallied the next two goals to go up 8-6.
Justin Ward led the Greyhounds offensively, scoring twice and adding an assist.
Scott Ratliff scored a goal in transition and had game-highs of seven ground balls and four caused turnovers. Joe Fletcher picked up five ground balls, and Pat Laconi scored once, had a pair of ground balls and a caused turnover.
Ratliff Earns ECAC Award
Scott Ratliff was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, March 11, after scoring a goal, causing four turnovers and picking up seven ground balls against Duke last week.
It was the second time in as many weeks that a Loyola player has earned the league's Defensive Player of the Week honors after Jack Runkel won the award on March 4 following a week with 18 saves in two games.
Ratliff has now won an ECAC weekly award five times in his career after picking up three last season and one the year before.
Davis Off The Ground
Davis Butts is second on the team this season with 25 ground balls and has picked up five in four of the Greyhounds' five contests: Delaware, Maryland, UMBC and Bellarmine. He also had two in the game at Towson.
Through five games this season, he is already more than halfway to his total of 40 a year ago. He has also scored at least one point in all but one game this year and has three goals and five assists.
Ward's Big Night
The foul weather did not slow Justin Ward on Tuesday against UMBC, as the junior finished with seven goals and three assists for 10 points. His goal and point outputs were career-highs.
He became the first player to score at least seven goals in a game since Gavin Prout tallied eight in a 19-11 win at Hobart on April 28, 2001.
Ward's 10-point effort was the first 10-point game for a Greyhound since Tim Goettelmann tallied the same amount in a 19-9 win on March 25, 2000, against Fairfield. In that game, Goettelmann scored four goals and had six assists. Later that season, he would score seven goals on May 16 in the NCAA First Round against Notre Dame.
His seven goals are tied with Ohio State's Logan Schuss and Army's Garrett Thul for the most in a game this season, and his 10 points tie Schuss for game-high honors, as well.
He then chipped in two goals and an assists on Saturday versus Bellarmine.
With 43 career assists, Ward is now tied for 18th in Loyola's Division I history with Gunnar Goettelmann who registered the same total in 1999-2001 and 2003.
Through six games this year, Ward leads the team with 16 goals and 11 assists for 27 points.
Pontrello Puts Up Points, Too
Somewhat lost in Justin Ward's 10-point night against UMBC were the career-high numbers put up by fellow attacker Nikko Pontrello. The sophomore finished with career-bests in goals (3), assists (3) and points (6).
It was his first career multi-goal game, and his assists exceeded his previous best of two.
Pontrello now has three multi-point games this season after scoring a goal and assisting on two at Towson on February 20 and tallying one of each against Bellarmine. In four games, he has six goals, and his eight assists are second-most on the team.
Back-To-Back Hat Tricks
Mike Sawyer recorded his second hat trick in as many games last week when he tallied three over a six-minute stretch of action against Bellarmine. He also finished with three goals against UMBC earlier in the week.
Sawyer scored with 1:46 to play in the first half and then twice within 20 seconds in the third quarter, his third goal of the day putting Loyola in front, 7-2, with 11:17 left in the stanza.
He now has 20 hat tricks in his career, one of only four players currently active to reach that plateau. Colgate's Peter Baum leads the nation with 29, while Army's Garrett Thul has 26. Saywer is tied with Cornell's Steve Mock with 20 each.
Eighth To 100
With his goal at 9:25 in the third quarter against UMBC, Mike Sawyer became the eighth player in Loyola men's lacrosse history to score 100 in his career, the seventh in the program's Division I history.
Sawyer joined a list that includes Gary Hanley (151), Pat Lamon (133), Gewas Schindler (120), Tim O'Shea (115), Kevin Beach (114), John Carroll (112) and Chris Colbeck (108).
Layne Keeps Tallying Points
Chris Layne had his fourth multi-point game in as many contests this season, recording two goals and an assist for the Greyhounds against UMBC after tallying the same amount three days prior against Maryland.
Through six games this year, Layne has scored nine goals and has five assists.
Last season, he had a total of five multi-point games while finishing with 11 goals and 14 assists. With his two goals against Delaware, Maryland and UMBC, Layne has more than doubled his multi-goal games during his time at Loyola to five. He also had one as a sophomore in 2010 for North Carolina.
At Delaware in the season-opener, Layne tallied the first and last goals of the game for the Greyhounds, the initial coming at 12:17 in the first quarter, and the second with 4.4 seconds left in the fourth. He also assisted on a Scott Ratliff transition goal just over five minutes into the third quarter.
Last season, Loyola had just two games with seven players scoring two or more points (Michigan, Air Force).
Two At The `X'
Loyola has had two primary faceoff men in their six games this season. Brendan Donovan started the season at Delaware, and he then took all but two of the 33 restarts against UMBC. He won 19-of-31 against the Retrievers where his 19 wins were the most by a Loyola player since Dan Kallaugher went 27-of-33 in the NCAA First Round at Albany on May 13, 2007. He also went 7-of-14 versus Bellarmine
In the Greyhounds' other three games, Blake Burkhart took the majority of the restarts, winning 17-of-28, a career-high, at Towson, and 14-of-25 against Maryland. Burkhart then all 21 face-offs at Duke, winning 12.
Acton Active On Defense
Reid Acton tied his career-high on against Delaware with five caused turnovers to lead all players. He also picked up five ground balls, one shy of Scott Ratliff's team-best six. He was part of a unit that held Delaware's starting attack to just three goals in the game. Acton also caused five turnovers last season against Ohio State.
Acton has logged at least two ground balls in all but one game (at Towson) this year.
A Lot Of Everything
The adage that a player does a little bit of everything does not necessarily apply to long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff. The Loyola senior does a lot, as he led the team last year in ground balls (88) and caused turnovers (37), was fifth in goals (12) and seventh in assists (7). His 37 caused turnovers were second-most in Loyola history - behind P.T. Ricci's 51 in 2009 - since the stats became official that year.
Ratliff, who was also an USILA All-America Third Team member, an All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year.
He has scored a goal in three of the Greyhounds' five games this year, at Delaware and versus Maryland and UMBC to bring his career totals to 20 goals and 10 assists. He is currently second among active long-poles in scoring behind Bryant's Mason Poli who has 35 goals and 11 assists.
With his game-opening goal against Canisius in the NCAA First Round, he set the Loyola single-season record for long-pole scoring, surpassing the record of 16 points set by current assistant coach Matt Dwan his senior season in 1995 when he tallied 11 goals and five assists and earned All-America honors.
Loyola players are wearing three stickers on their helmets this season to remember those who have passed away. The stickers are in memory of Adam Pomper, a member of the 2012 team who passed away on June 12, 2012, Mandy O'Sullivan, mother of current players Sean and Ryan O'Sullivan who died in March 2012 from pancreatic cancer, and the 26 victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting in December 2012 where Loyola put on a youth lacrosse clinic in January.
Well-Represented In MLL Draft
Five members of the Loyola men's lacrosse team were selected in the top 26 of the January 11 Major League Lacrosse draft. The Greyhounds tied Virginia for the most draft picks in the selection process.
Josh Hawkins and Mike Sawyer were both taken in the first round, going fifth and eighth overall to the Hamilton Nationals and Charlotte Hounds, respectively.
Scott Ratliff was the first pick of the second round, going ninth to the Boston Cannons, and Davis Butts was taken early in the third round, 19th overall to the Denver Outlaws.
Joining Hawkins in Hamilton will be Reid Acton, the team's fourth round pick, 26th overall.
Sawyer will be joined in Charlotte by former teammate Eric Lusby who was the top waiver pick after the NCAA season ended in early June. After missing the majority of the MLL season with an injury, the NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player made his MLL debut on July 28 at Long Island and scored a goal. He then tallied three goals in an August 11 win over Rochester.
Newtown Youth Clinic
Fourteen members of the Loyola men's lacrosse team took time from their holiday vacation to travel to Newtown, Conn., for a clinic with the Newtown Lacrosse Association.
Led by freshman Jason Crane, the Greyhounds worked with more than 100 elementary and junior-high school-age players, many of whom attended Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shooting that killed 26 took place in December.
All six earned All-America honors last season with Sawyer earned Second Team honors and Ratliff was named to the Third Team. Acton, Butts, Fletcher and Acton earned Honorable Mention along with graduate student Eric Lusby.
In his first year as a starter, Fletcher was named to the NCAA and ECAC Championships All-Tournament Teams and earned a reputation as one of the top defenders in the nation. In 19 games as a sophomore, Fletcher caused 26 turnovers, second most on the team, and had 41 ground balls.
Hawkins has continued to be one of the top defensive midfielders in the nation and garnered considerable respect nationally for his play during the NCAA Championships. He earned NCAA All-Tournament honors and helped the Greyhounds limit Notre Dame and Maryland to a combined eight goals on Championships weekend. In addition to his six goals and two assists in 15 games last year, Hawkins was second on the team with 63 ground balls.
Sawyer was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation's top player last season when he scored 52 goals and assisted on 10 more and was named the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player. During the regular-season, he led the ECAC in goals and goals per game while earning All-ECAC First Team honors. He became the second player to score 50 or more goals in a season and was joined by a third on last year's team.
Ratliff continued to be one of the top long-stick midfielders in the nation and set a Loyola scoring record for the position last year. He finished with 12 goals and seven assists, exceeding current Loyola Assistant Coach Matt Dwan's previous record for a long-stick midfielder set in 1995. In addition to his scoring, he tallied 88 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers while earning ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, ECAC Championships Most Valuable Player, NCAA All-Tournament Team and team co-defenisve player of the year honors.
Butts was a first-line midfielder for the Greyhounds for the second year in a row. He excelled as a dodger and finisher and ranked fourth on the team in points (35) and third in goals scored (21). A versatile player, Butts also saw plenty of action on the wings of faceoffs and in the defensive midfield where he picked up 40 ground balls.
Acton will enter 2013 having started on the Greyhounds' defense each of the last three years. He finished the 2012 season with 44 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers, while helping Loyola record a 7.21 goals allowed per game average, the fifth-best mark in Division I. The Greyhounds set a pair of defensive records during Championship Weekend, holding Notre Dame and Maryland to a combined eight goals in the two games and allowing the Terrapins just three in the title match.
Toomey Receives Morris Touchstone Award
Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey was named the ECAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven-year career, and in December, he received the coaches association's Morris Touchstone Award as the national coach of the year.
The Greyhounds became the second team in USILA Coaches Poll history to start a season unranked and ascend to the No. 1 spot in the rankings. The only other team was Duke in 2007 - a year after the Blue Devils had their season suspended in March - which accomplished the feat after being unranked in the first poll, moving to second in the next version and first in the third. Duke was knocked from its perch as No. 1 that season when it lost to the Greyhounds at the First Four in San Diego.
The win over Canisius in the First Round was the 60th victory of his coaching career, becoming the fourth coach in Loyola history to win 60 or more - Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001), Charles Wenzel (62-104, 1954-1970), Jay Connor (61-46, 1975-1982). Toomey's .640 winning percentage trails only Cottle's .721 at Loyola.
Last season, runs of three-plus goals were critical in the Greyhounds success, as they had runs of 3-0 or better in all 19 games. In all, Loyola scored three or more in a row on 37 occasions last year.
The Greyhounds have opened the 2013 season in similar fashion as they scored three-straight in the second quarter to take a 4-2 lead against Delaware after trailing, 2-1. They then had two runs of 3-0 or better at Towson.
Against UMBC, Loyola had a 3-0 first-half run before putting together a 10-0 stretch in the third and fourth quarters. The Greyhounds then had a 4-0 run that spanned both halves to help beat Bellarmine
The game against Maryland marked the first time since May 5, 2011, against Fairfield that the Greyhounds did not put up a run of 3-0 or better.
The Greyhounds outscored opponents 66-22 in the third quarters of games, and 123-63 overall in the second half (including overtime), last season. The second-half scoring continued a trend from 2011 when Loyola outscored opponents, 69-52, after halftime (including two overtime goals), and 77-56.
This year, Loyola is outscoring opponents 23-10 in the third quarter and 38-28 overall after halftime.
The Last Meeting
March 17, 2012
Ridley Athletic Complex
Ten Unanswered Goals Push #5/6 Men's Lacrosse Past Air Force
Ten Greyhounds combined for 11 second half goals as the No. 5/6 Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse team rallied to beat Air Force, 15-8, on Saturday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex in ECAC action. Davis Butts (above) had a goal and four assists.