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No. 12/14 Men's Lacrosse Continues Homestand Against ECAC Foe UMass
March 18, 2009
Game Overview: Loyola (5-2, 2-0 ECAC) looks to make it three straight victories over a four-game home stretch on Saturday when it hosts the University of Massachusetts (3-3) at 1 p.m. in a Eastern College Athletic Conference match at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.
The Rankings: On Monday Loyola jumped two spots to No. 12 in the USILA Coaches Poll, its highest ranking of the season, and into a tie with Hobart for 14th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media rankings. After losses to Albany and Brown last week, UMass fell from No. 13 to unranked.
Last Time Out: Junior John Schiavone won a career-best 17 of 20 face-offs and senior attackman Shane Koppens scored two goals and two assists as the Greyhounds overcame an early deficit to hand No. 15 St. John's its first loss of the season, 10-7, on Saturday afternoon to improve to 2-0 in the conference. Trailing 2-0 after the first period, Loyola used a 7-0 run that spanned the second and third periods, with Mike Sawyer and Cooper MacDonnell scoring twice each during the run to push the Hounds to a five-goal lead.
The Series: Loyola is 11-1 all-time against UMass, with a perfect 8-0 mark in Baltimore. The Greyhounds have taken two in a row after a 2006 win by UMass broke a streak of nine straight for Loyola that dated back to the series opener in 1963.
Last Meeting vs. UMass: Shane Kopppens scored one goal and added three assists as 12 different goalscorers found the net as the Greyhounds cruised to a 15-1 victory over the Minutemen at Garber Field in Amherst, Mass. With the teams tied at 1-1 after the first period, Loyola used a 7-0 second period to gain control of the game . Koppens' four points led all scorers, while Jimmy Daly, Collin Finnerty and Tyler Gale each notched two goals in the win. Goalie Jake Hagelin ended the game with a then career-high 14 saves.
Scouting The Minutemen: This will be the conference opener for UMass (3-3), which dropped a pair of close contests this week by falling 12-9 to Albany and 9-8 to No. 18 Brown. Minuteman goalie Doc Schneider was stellar against Brown, making 14 saves between the pipes. Senior attackman Jim Connolly, who leads the league with 17 goals, scored two for the UMass but was stopped by the Bears' All-American goalie Jordan Burke twice in the final 30 seconds. UMass' man-down defense, among the nation's top five, was also outstanding again as they kept Brown scoreless on six opportunities.
The Coaches: Loyola's Charley Toomey '90 enters his fourth season as head coach of his alma mater's lacrosse program, boasting a 25-21 (.543) career record. He is 2-1 against UMass. Greg Cannella (Massachusetts' 88) enters his 15th year, all at UMass, boasting a 125-81 (.606) track record.
Toomey Puts Streak On Line: With Saturday win over St. John's at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field, Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey improved to a perfect 11-0 all time in conference home games. He is 18-5 (.782) all-time against ECAC opponents.
Koppens Honored BY ECAC, Inside Lacrosse: After accomplishing a feat not seen by a Loyola player in nearly a decade, Loyola attackman Shane Koppens was named the league Offensive Player of the Week on Monday and to Inside Lacrosse's Team of the Week. Against Bryant, Koppens nearly willed the Greyhounds to a victory, scoring three goals and adding a career-high six assists, becoming the first Loyola player to score nine points in a game since Gavin Prout scored six and three in a 16-12 win over Hofstra back in the 2000 season. Koppens' six assists against the Bulldogs were the most recorded by a player in a single game this season in Division-I, and his nine-point game ranks second-best. Carrying over that momentum, the reigning ECAC Offensive Player of the Year scored two goals and added two assists in the win over St. John's.
Koppens Reaches Top Five On Career Assist List: With 10 assists on the season, Koppens has jumped from eighth to tied for fifth on the all-time Loyola career record list with 71. He is tied with Kevin Beach, who played from 1990-93. He is just six away from tying Mike Ruland (77) for fourth and is 13 shy of tying Jim Blanding for second with 84. Gary Hanley, the all-time Loyola points leader, sits comfortably atop with 160.
Sawyer Named co-Rookie of the Week: Freshman Mike Sawyer was named league co-Rookie of the Week on Monday for the first time in his career. The Charlotte, N.C. native started both games this week, scoring three goals and adding an assist and collecting five groundballs. The midfielder scored a goal and an assist in a midweek tilt against Bryant. Against St. John's, he scored a pair of goals--the second a 15-yard low-to-high rope -- that ignited a 7-0 run that spanned the second and third periods to overturn an early 2-0 deficit, and to lift Loyola to a five-goal cushion. It was the first multi-goal game of his promising career.
Ricci Named To Honor Roll: Loyola long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci was named to the league Honor Roll on Monday, as well. In the two Loyola wins this week, Ricci absolutely filled up the stat-sheet; the preseason All-American scored a goal and two assists, picked up 22 groundballs and forced 11 turnovers. He is fourth in the nation at 7.57 groundballs-a-game.
A Bad Man To Face: No matter the opposition, John Schiavone was simply dominant at the X on Saturday. He finished 17-for-20 and neutralized St. John's Dom DeNapoli, a long-stick midfielder who came in ranked second in Division I with a .694 faceoff percentage and first in ground balls per game. The 17 won face-offs were a career-high by the junior from Silver Spring, Md. He is 13th nationally with a 0.576 winning percentage. He was named to the Inside Lacrosse Team of the Week for his efforts, as well.
Greyhounds Third In Groundballs Nationally: As a team, Loyola averages 37.29 groundballs-a-game, which ranks third in the country and is best in the conference. North Carolina, at 48.33, stands one.
Attack Spearheaded By Talented Trio: Loyola is just one of two teams in the conference--with the other being Penn State-who has three players in double-digit goals. They are all attackman: Cooper MacDonnell (13), Shane Koppens (12) and Collin Finnerty (12).
ESPN.com, Inside Lacrosse To Chat With Duo: On Friday at 1 o'clock p.m., ESPN.com, along with Inside Lacrosse, will host a 30-minute chat with co-captains Shane Koppens and Jimmy Daly. To submit your questions for the duo, please see the regarding release on the men's lacrosse Web page.
Ricci Sets Career-Bests vs. Bryant: Senior long-stick middie P.T. Ricci had one of the more impressive stat-lines of the season on Tuesday against Bryant: one goal, two assists, 13 groundballs and five caused turnovers. The three total points established a career-high for the USILA preseason All-American, as did his groundball total. Included in one of Ricci's assists was a 40-foot pass that he made--sitting down--to a wide-open Collin Finnerty, whose goal extended the Loyola lead to 14-10 with 1:16 remaining.
Peaty Returns, Starts Second Half: After sitting out the 2008 season, Loyola senior goalkeeper Alex Peaty saw his first action in nearly 22 months on Tuesday against Bryant, starting the second half. He made two saves while allowing five goals. Peaty led Loyola to a 2007 NCAA Tournament berth as the team's full-time goalie.
Ricci Tabbed Preseason All-American: Loyola long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci was named a preseason First Team All-American in mid-December in Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Yearbook, while Koppens garnered honorable mention honors. Ricci picked up 84 groundballs last season, which was fifth most in program history for a single season. Ricci also led his team with 41 caused turnovers and picked up at least five groundballs on 10 different occasions.
Koppens, Ricci Named To ECAC Team: Both Koppens and Ricci were two of the 11 players named to the preseason All-ECAC Team. Koppens led the league last season with 45 points and was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. Ricci was also named a First Team All-ECAC selection in 2008 after leading the Greyhounds to their first-ever ECAC title since joining the league in 2005.
Greyhounds Picked Second In ECAC: A vote by league coaches picked defending-champs Loyola to finish second in the ECAC for the 2009 season. The Greyhounds received three first-place votes from the league's eight coaches. Georgetown, ranked seventh in the preseason national USILA poll, was picked to finish first.
Loyola Names Its Captains: The 2009 Greyhounds will be captained by a talented quartet of seniors: midfielder Jimmy Daly, defender Eddie Graham- a talented defenseman who missed all of last season with a knee injury- Koppens and Ricci.
2008 Loyola Season Recap: Loyola earned its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the ECAC with a 6-1 record and earning the league's automatic postseason berth. The Greyhounds went 7-7 last season and fell at top-seeded Duke, 12-7, in the first round of the tournament in Durham, N.C.
Plenty of Scorers Returning: Loyola brings back eight starters from last year's team and 35 letterwinners. Included are the top four scorers from a year ago: Koppens (19 G, 25 A), junior Cooper MacDonnell (22 G, 5 A), sophomore Matt Langan (11 G, 7 A) and junior Collin Finnerty (16 G, 1 A).
Don't Forget The 'D: In 2008, the Greyhounds made defense their trademark, ranking 17th nationally in goals-against-average, while limiting ECAC opponents to a league-low 5.57 goals-a-game. Loyola welcomes back senior Eric Kohl, juniors Steve Layne and Steve Dircks, along with Graham, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, but was a standout defenseman for Loyola two seasons ago.
New Faces At Face-Off: Loyola will miss the presence of Tim McDermott at the X. McDermott graduated last season but won 109-of-186 (.586) last season for the Greyhounds. Stepping in to fill the void will be senior Michael Atkinson (43-46, .483 in 2008) and John Schiavone (11-7, .611). Junior Michael Haight will also contend for a spot in the rotation.
Good To Go In The Goal: Sophomore Jake Hagelin had one of the more impressive freshman seasons in the country last year, playing in all but 25 minutes the entire year and setting a new single-season ECAC record with a 5.52 GAA in conference play. The team also welcomes back senior Alex Peaty, who helped Loyoa to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.