This week, Loyola hits the road for the first time in over a month and ventures outside the city limits of Baltimore for the first time in nearly six weeks. The Greyhounds will face Fairfield on Saturday, April 10, in a 1 p.m. face-off at Lessing Field in Fairfield, Connecticut.
In The Polls
Loyola and Fairfield both enter the game ranked in the USILA Coaches' Poll and the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media rankings.
The Greyhounds check in at No. 9 in the coaches rankings and 11th in the media balloting, while Fairfield is 14th and 16th.
Loyola's No. 9 ranking matches its highest of the season, equaling the slot it reached in the March 9 poll.
Loyola and Fairfield will meet for the 11th time in series history on Saturday. The Greyhounds hold a 9-1 advantage all-time after registering a 12-7 victory in Baltimore last season.
The teams have played every year since 2006 when Fairfield joined the ECAC (Loyola became a league member in 2005). The Stags won the initial conference contest, 13-12, on April 22, 2006, in Connecticut, but Loyola has won the last three meetings.
Leaving Behind Ridley's Friendly Confines
The last five weeks have given Loyola players a chance to sleep in their own beds the night before games. In addition to a four-game homestand, the Greyhounds played a March 6 game with Notre Dame at M&T Bank Stadium in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic.
Loyola's four-game homestand included the grand opening game at the new, 6,000-seat Ridley Athletic Complex on March 13 against Duke.
In the Greyhounds' first four games at Ridley, Loyola compiled a 3-1 record.
Taylor Ebsary was named the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, April 5, sharing the honor with Fairfield goalkeeper Joe Marra.
In Loyola's 11-9 win over Ohio State, the senior co-captain scored a career-high four points on a goal and three assists. He also picked up two ground balls and caused a turnover.
Defensively, he had primary responsibility for marking Ohio State's Logan Schuss, the Buckeyes' leading scorer entering the game. Schuss was held without a goal. This season, Ebsary has put up great two-way numbers. He's tied for second on the team with eight assists, and he has scored four goals. Ebsary is tied for second on the team with 24 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
Second Midfield Stands Out
Loyola's second midfield line - Davis Butts, Taylor Ebsary and Chris Hurst - had a superb day against Ohio State, combing for three goals, three assists, six ground balls and a caused turnover.
Hurst scored his first two goals of the season, while Ebsary had a goal and three assists. Each of the three players picked up two ground balls.
Schiavone Still Shining
After winning 16-of-23 faceoffs against Ohio State, Loyola has won 70.9-percent of faceoffs (56-of-79) in its last four games, it's best four-game success rate since winning 68.8-percent (55-of-80) from March 6-27, 2004, in games against Hofstra, Duke, Notre Dame and Brown.
John Schiavone has been even better, winning 72.5-percent (50-of-69) of the restarts he's taken against Duke, Air Force, Towson and Ohio State. In that stretch Schiavone has picked up 32 ground balls, as well.
Schiavone grabbed nine ground balls and also scored a goal on a fast-break off a faceoff win against Ohio State. He is winning restarts at a .600 clip this season, good for ninth in NCAA Division I. He is also 10th in the nation with 5.88 ground balls per game.
This season, Steve Vaikness' faceoff unit is winning restarts at a rate 59.3-percent, the fourth-best mark nationally by a team.
Loyola's defense has allowed just 6.50 goals per game in its last three, dropping its season goals allowed per game to 7.07. The Greyhounds are now third in all of NCAA Division I in scoring defense.
Jake Hagelin is third nationally with a 7.14 goals against average through eight games. He is seventh with a .585 saves percentage.
Scoring Out Of The Locker Room
Loyola has outscored opponents 21-10 in the first quarter of games this season, helped in large part to a 12-2 advantage in the Greyhounds' last three games.
In fact, the goal scored by Ohio State's Mario Ventiquattro with 3:40 to go in the first quarter last Saturday snapped a 43-minute first-quarter shutout streak. The Greyhounds held both Air Force and Towson scoreless in the first quarter of those games.
Loyola has been nearly as strong coming out of the locker room following halftime, scoring 23 third-quarter goals while holding opponents to just 11. In its last three games, Loyola has outscored opponents 7-2 in the third.
Cooper MacDonnell returned to the starting lineup on March 27 against Towson, scoring two goals for the Greyhounds.
The Preseason ECAC Player of the Year missed the Bellarmine, Notre Dame and Air Force games with a shoulder injury, but he is still second on the team with 14 goals this season. He recorded a hat trick, his second of the season, against Ohio State with three goals.
MacDonnell leads the ECAC in goals per game (2.80) and is tied for first in points per game (3.20).
The senior kicked his season off in fine fashion, scoring a career-high six goals at Navy. His final score was the game-winner with nine seconds to go in overtime against the Midshipmen.
Loyola junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin continues to rise in the national statistical charts. Following his 14-save performance on Saturday against Ohio State, Hagelin is now third in Division I with a 7.14 goals against average seventh with a .585 saves percentage.
Loyola's opponents have scored just three on extra-man opportunities in the Greyhounds' last six games, converting on just 15.8-percent (3-of-18) of man-up chances since the beginning of March.
Air Force, Duke and Ohio State each scored an EMO goal versus Loyola, but the Greyhounds shutout Towson, holding them scoreless on four man-up possessions last Saturday. On the Tigers' EMOs, Jake Hagelin made three saves on shots, and the defense blocked two other Towson shots.
For the season, opponents are converting just 23.1-percent of the time against Loyola on EMOs. Navy is the only team to score more than one man-up goal in a game, tallying a pair in the season-opener.
Loyola is seventh nationally in penalty killing and first in the ECAC.
Another Attacker Shut Down
Towson's Tim Stratton entered the March 27 game against Loyola second on the Tigers with 13 points, and 13 points is what he finished the contest with. Greyhounds' defender Steve Layne put the clamps on another opponent, holding Stratton without a goal or assist in the game.
Layne is tied for the team lead with eight caused turnovers this season, and he is second on the Greyhounds with 24 ground balls. While the statistics are nice, Layne's presence has been felt mostly in ways that don't show up on the scoresheet, namely in opponents' goals and assists.
Dircks' Defense Solid
After missing the entire 2009 season with a knee injury, Steve Dircks has come all the way back, earning his first insertion to the Greyhounds' starting lineup in 2010. Dircks was back in the starting lineup for the fist time against Notre Dame, finishing with a season-high three caused turnovers versus the Fighting Irish He then had five ground balls and two caused turnovers against Duke.
In Loyola's last four games, Dircks is second on the team with 13 ground balls. He earned All-ECAC Second Team honors as a sophomore in 2008 after becoming a starter early in the season.
On The Other Side Of EMOs
Loyola's man-up unit has been solid through eight games this season, and the Greyhounds are already ahead of last year's EMO numbers.
In 2009, the Greyhounds scored 10 extra-man goals and converted on 35.5-percent of EMOs. This year, however, Loyola is scoring on over 38-percent of EMOs with 12 man-up goals.
Whether in previous years at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field or this season at the new Awalt Field at Ridley Athletic Complex, Loyola has been outstanding at defending its home field in ECAC Lacrosse League games.
Since joining the conference in 2005, Loyola is 18-1 against league foes at home.
Sharing The Ball
Loyola had its second 10-plus assist game of the season on March 20 against Air Force. Seven Greyhounds recorded 12 assists, eclipsing the team's previous season-high of 11 assists at Quinnipiac on February 27.
In the Greyhounds' six wins this season, they have recorded assists on 59-percent of their goals (41-of-68). Meanwhile in two losses, they have assisted on just half of their goals (7-of-14).
The Loyola-Fairfield game will be broadcast live in the Baltimore area on WNST-AM 1570 with Chris Gunkel `90 calling the play-by-play action. For those outside of the WNST listening area, the broadcast can also be heard for free on LoyolaGreyhounds.com.
Taylor Ebsary was named the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, earning the first weekly honor of his career.
The awards mark the fifth and sixth of the season for the Greyhounds: Cooper MacDonnell (Off., Feb. 22), Jake Hagelin (Co-Def., Feb. 22), Langan (Co-Off., March 1), Collin Finnerty (Co-Off., March 8), Langan (Co-Off, March 22), Fanshaw (Rookie, March 22).
Patrick Fanshaw became the first Loyola freshman in 15 years to score five goals. The Glyndon, Md., native scored five times and added an assist for a career-high six points on March 20 against Air Force.
Chris Georgalas was the last Greyhounds' player to accomplish the task as a freshman, scoring five goals twice during his first season, April 7, 1995, against Hofstra, and April 22, 1995, versus Delaware.
Multiple Multi-Point Games
Collin Finnerty had just one goal against Ohio State, breaking a string of six-straight games with three or more points.
The senior attacker leads Loyola with 17 goals and 24 points this season and had scored three or more points since having just one assist in a season-opening win at Navy.
Lusby Steps Up Production
With an increased role this season in the offense, Eric Lusby has made his scoring ability known from Loyola's first midfield. He tallied 11 goals last season, scoring one in eight contests and three against Hobart.
This year, however, Lusby has recorded three multi-goal games - three against both Bellarmine and Notre Dame and two versus Air Force - and is third on the Greyhounds with 12 total. He has scored at least one point in every game this season, and his four man-up goals lead Loyola.
Teawaaraton Watch List
Collin Finnerty was named to the 2010 Tewaaraton Award Watch List in March. The award is presented annually to the top collegiate lacrosse player across all NCAA divisions.
Loyola received accolades - as a team and individually - from several outlets before the season started. The Greyhounds were picked to win the ECAC Lacrosse Conference by the league's coaches, while senior attacker Cooper MacDonnell was tabbed the ECAC Preseason Player of the Year. Senior defender Steve Layne joined MacDonnell on the Preseason All-ECAC team.
Inside Lacrosse tabbed Loyola to win the ECAC, as well, and three Greyhounds earned Preseason All-America honors from the publication. Junior faceoff middie John Schiavone was named to the Third Team, while MacDonnell and Layne earned honorable mention.
As of September 25, 2009, Loyola is officially known as `Loyola University Maryland.' Since its founding in 1852, it was recognized as `Loyola College,' but it was approved for a designation change by the Maryland Higher Education Council in September.
Loyola returns to Ridley Athletic Complex and steps out of ECAC action on Saturday, April 17, when it hosts Georgetown at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WMAR-TV/ABC-2 in the Baltimore area and nationally on ESPNU.
The Greyhounds then go on the road for their final two ECAC games, April 24 at Hobart and May 2 at Denver.