Loyola University Maryland will make the short trip across town to take on the UMBC Retrievers on Saturday night in Catonsville, Md. The game will be held at UMBC Stadium at 7 o’clock.
UMBC and Loyola will meet for the 30th time in series history when the teams take the field on Saturday with the Retrievers holding a 16-13 advantage in the previous 29 contests.
The teams will play for the first time during the regular-season since 2005, although they have played for several years in preseason exhibitions.
UMBC prevailed, 9-8, in double overtime the last time the schools met on April 19, 2005, at Loyola’s Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.
In The Polls
Loyola checks in at No. 5 in the USILA Coaches’ Poll for the second week in a row, and the Greyhounds moved up to fifth in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Rankings. UMBC, meanwhile, is receiving votes in both polls.
Ten Or More
The Greyhounds have scored at least 11 goals in each of their first seven games of the 2012 season, marking the longest stretch of games with 10 or more goals they have put together since March 31-May 5, 2001. The Greyhounds went 5-2 during that 2001 stretch where they averaged 14.9 goals per game.
The last time Loyola opened the season with seven or more games with 10-plus goals was the 2000 season when they reeled off 12 or more in seven-straight wins.
The Only Ones
Loyola is the only team to score 10 or more goals in its first seven games of this season throughout all of NCAA Division I.
As of Monday, the Greyhounds were ranked fifth in Division I with a 13.33 goals per game average.
Following its trend from the season, Loyola used a 6-0 run that covered more than 15 minutes of action during the third and fourth quarters Wednesday against Georgetown, en route to an 11-6 victory. The run came days after Loyola reeled off 10-straight goals over the first 28 minutes, 35 seconds of the second half Saturday against Air Force to dispense of a 7-4 halftime deficit.
The Greyhounds have now outscored opponents 30-10 in the third quarters of games and 52-5 overall this year in the second half.
The second-half scoring continues a trend from the last two seasons. Last year, Loyola outscored opponents, 69-52, after halftime (including two overtime goals), and 77-56 two years ago.
Getting Defensive, Too
Loyola’s offense hasn’t been the only unit to put up good numbers in the first part of the 2012 season. The Greyhounds’ defense has allowed no more than eight goals in a game this season, in fact they have allowed eight exactly to five teams.
Through seven games, the Greyhounds’ defense is allowing an average of 7.43 goals per game to rank eighth in Division I in scoring defense.
Lusby Matches Career-High
Eric Lusby scored three times during Loyola’s second half run and finished the Georgetown game with five goals, matching his career-high set on March 3 at Bellarmine.
Lusby has scored at least one goal in each of Loyola’s seven games this season and has four hat tricks. The graduate student returned to game action in the season-opener after missing all but two games of the 2011 season. Now a graduate student, Lusby tore his right ACL in the 2010 NCAA First Round game against Cornell. He attempted to come back last year, but he saw limited action against Navy and Towson and was shut down to rehab the injury for the remainder of the season.
Lusby burst back onto the scene against Delaware, scoring the Greyhounds’ first goal of the game on an extra-man opportunity, and the 2010 All-ECAC First Team member tallied three more in the second half.
Lusby reset his career-high at Bellarmine, tallying five goals in the victory to go with one assist, and added two more at Michigan.
Through Loyola’s first seven games, Lusby is second on the team with 21 goals, and he is tied for the team lead with 29 points.
Loyola has outshot its opponents in every game this season by a minimum of nine. The game against Duke (37-28) is the only time this season a Greyhounds’ opponent has been within 10 shots of Loyola.
In all, the Greyhounds have taken 312 shots while holding opponents to 171.
Ratliff Honored For Second Time
Loyola long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff was named the ECAC Co-Specialist of the Week on Monday after turning in impressive numbers in last Saturday’s win over Air Force. Ratliff scored twice and had an assist while picking up seven ground balls against the Falcons.
Earlier this season, Ratliff earned ECAC Defensive Player of the Week laurels after the Greyhounds’ opener against Delaware.
Ratliff is currently sixth among active long poles in career scoring. He has seven goals and five assists for 12 points. This year, he has three goals and two assists, as well as a team-leading 32 ground balls.
Butts Dishes Four
Davis Butts did not score a goal against Air Force, but he was a key component in the Greyhounds matching their season-high with 15 goals. He posted a career-high four assists in the game, eclipsing his previous best of two.
Butts’ game was the second this season where a Loyola player tallied four or more assists. Justin Ward had five against Towson.
Second Midfield Scoring
All three members of Loyola’s second midfield unit scored at least one goal against Air Force, and the unit combined for three goals and two assists. Pat Byrnes led the way with a goal and a career-best two assists. J.P. Dalton and Phil Dobson each added goals of their own.
This season, the trio has combined for 14 goals and five assists. Byrnes and Dobson each have five goals, and Dalton has four. Byrnes, meanwhile, has three assists, and Dalton has tallied a pair. The unit has already scored more goals than it did last year when it had 10 goals and two assists during the season.
On The Ground
Loyola picked up a season-high 45 ground balls against Air Force, grabbing 16 more than the Falcons. Scott Ratliff and Reid Acton led the way with seven each, while J.P. Dalton had six.
Josh Hawkins grabbed five ground balls for the second game in a row since returning from an injury that held him out of Loyola’s first four games of the year.
Sharing The Rock
No Loyola player has more than 11 assists (Justin Ward) through seven games, but seven players have at least four assists, and 12 have two or more. In addition to Ward’s 1, Eric Lusby has eight assists, Davis Butts eight, Sean O’Sullivan seven and Mike Sawyer five.
Entering the week, Loyola led the nation in extra-man success this season, converting on 75-percent (12-of-16) man-up opportunities in six games. After going 1-of-5 against Georgetown, the Greyhounds’ percentage dipped slightly to .619, but four players – Eric Lusby (4), Mike Sawyer (4), Davis Butts (2) and Sean O’Sullivan (2) – have scored two or more man-up goals this year.
Last season, the Greyhounds extra-man unit was seventh nationally with a .420 (21-of-50) conversion percentage in 2011.
Toomey Wins 50th
Head coach Charley Toomey earned his 50th-career win Wednesday, March 7, as Loyola beat Michigan, 15-8.
Toomey, who is in his seventh season, has led Loyola to eight-plus wins in each of the last three seasons and has had the Greyhounds finish .500 or better in all seven seasons since coming to the Evergreen campus.
Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its first six games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. They scored five-straight in the second quarter against Delaware to take a 5-3 lead and never trailed again in the game, and the Greyhounds turned a 6-2 advantage against Towson into an 11-2 lead with a run of five-straight that stretched from the second quarter to the third quarter.
Loyola rattled off four-straight against Bellarmine in the fourth quarter, turning a 7-6 advantage into an 11-6 lead with less than six minutes to go, and it scored eight-straight against Michigan between the first and second quarters to claim an 8-1 lead.
Loyola used four three-goal runs against Duke, including one three-goal streak that put Loyola up 4-1 at the beginning of the second quarter. The Greyhounds never trailed after that initial three-goal run and extended their lead to 13-5 after its fourth three-goal spurt of the game.
The Greyhounds had their longest run in almost two years against Air Force, scoring 10 in a row to open the second half. The last time Loyola scored 10 or more in a row was on March 20, 2010, when it had 14 straight against Air Force.
Loyola then used a 6-0 run to break a 5-5 tie early in the third quarter with Georgetown on the way to a 11-6 victory.
Sawyer Shows Same Form
Mike Sawyer has picked up where he left off a year ago, leading the team with 24 goals and 29 points through the first seven games. Sawyer led Loyola last season with 31 goals and 36 points.
Sawyer tied a then-career-high with five goals in the team’s, 15-8, win at Michigan, before scoring a new personal-best six goals against Duke.
After scoring three goals against Air Force, he now has 15 career multi-goal games and the 18 multi-point effort of his tenure at Loyola.
Before the season, Sawyer was named to the Preseason All-ECAC Team and was named to the Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America Honorable Mention.
Dominant At The ‘X’
In his first year as the Greyhounds’ primary face-off man, senior J.P. Dalton has continued Loyola’s tradition of excellence at the ‘X’.
Through six games, Dalton ranks ninth nationally in face-off percentage, winning restarts at a .609 clip (98-of-161). As a unit, the Greyhounds entered the week fifth-best in the nation at .608.
Dalton is second on the team with 32 ground balls, while one of his primary wings, Scott Ratliff leads the team with 33. Josh Hawkins, who returned from injury to make his season-debut on March 10 against Duke, has 10 in two games, and Pat Laconi has 11. Davis Butts has also seen time on the wing and has 16 ground balls this season.
Ward Dishes Five
Justin Ward played the role of feeder in Loyola’s 13-6 win over Towson, finishing the game with five assists. Just one week previously, the sophomore recorded his first collegiate assist against Delaware.
Ward became the first Loyola player to record five or more assists since Shane Koppens had six in a March 10, 2009, win over Bryant.
Scoring In Two Straight
Loyola posted 13 goals in back-to-back games to open the season, marking the first time since April 2007 that the Greyhounds scored 13 or more in two games in a row.
The last time it happened, Loyola defeated Fairfield, 19-2, on April 21, 2007, and Hobart, 17-10, on April 28.
Through just two games, the Greyhounds rank eighth in NCAA Division I in goals per game (13.0).
Sawyer, Runkel Earns ECAC Honors
Mike Sawyer and Jack Runkel were honored as ECAC Lacrosse Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week on March 12 following wins at Michigan and against Duke.
Sawyer scored 11 goals and had 14 points, setting career highs in both categories. He scored five goals and had six points in Michigan’s first-ever home game, before breaking those personal records with six goals and eight points in a win over Duke. He also picked up a career-high six ground balls, finishing the week with nine ground balls.
Runkel made the first two starts of his collegiate career, posting an 8.00 goals-against average and .515 save percentage to help the Greyhounds in two wins. Playing less than three minutes between the pipes as a freshman last season, he started the Michigan game and held the Wolverines to eight goals, while making five saves. He then made a career-high 12 saves against a Duke team that has played in the last five Final Fours.
Bonitatibus, Runkel Both Win First Starts
Junior Michael Bonitatibus made his first collegiate start in goal for the Greyhounds against Delaware after having played less than two minutes prior to this season.
Bonitatibus, who played 65 seconds in his collegiate debut last year at Duke, made seven saves for the Greyhounds and allowed just eight goals. He also picked up five ground balls and caused two turnovers.
Bonitatibus became the first Loyola goalkeeper to win his starting debut in nearly 11 years. The last was Mark Bloomquist who also defeated Delaware, 8-7, on February 24, 2001.
Jack Runkel made his first career start against Michigan and also won his initial outing as a starter. He tallied five saves against the Wolverines, and he then posted a career-high 12 against Duke.
Record At Ridley
After going 4-1 at Ridley Athletic Complex last season, the Greyhounds have opened their third year at the stadium with five wins at home. Loyola is now 13-3 all-time at Ridley.
Loyola moves back to ECAC Lacrosse League action on Saturday, March 31, when it hosts Ohio State University at 1 o’clock. It is the first of four straight ECAC games, but the only one that will be played at home.