Loyola and Denver will meet for the sixth time in series history when the teams take the field on Saturday. The Greyhounds hold a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with all three of those victories coming last season.
The Greyhounds won all three games last year, but by just five combined goals.
Loyola used a 5-1 run to close the game, overcoming an 8-7 third-quarter deficit on April 14, 2012, in Denver to beat the Pioneers, 12-9, in last year’s regular-season meeting.
The teams met again with Loyola as the No. 1 seed, and Denver the fourth, in the ECAC Semifinals on May 2, again in Denver. Loyola opened up a 13-6 lead with 13:14 left in regulation before the Pioneers scored seven-straight to tie the game at 13-13 with 3:30 remaining on the clock. Scott Ratliff picked up the ground ball to start overtime, and he scored eight seconds later, lifting Loyola to the ECAC title game.
Last year’s final meeting came at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Greyhounds built a 10-6 lead early in the fourth quarter and held off a Pioneers’ charge to win 10-9 and advance to the NCAA Semifinals. Eric Lusby had five goals and two assists in the win.
In The Polls
Loyola remained at No. 5 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll this week while checking in at No. 6 in the USILA Coaches rankings.
Denver enters Saturday’s game third in the media version, fourth in the coaches’.
Last Time Out
Loyola’s defensive midfield combined for six goals and an assist, as the Greyhounds raced out to a 6-2 first-quarter lead and finished with a 13-7 victory on Saturday over Fairfield University.
The Stags scored the game’s first goal 4:28 in, but Kevin Ryan scored on an extra-man possession at 8:44, and nine seconds later, Scott Ratliff ripped a 12-yard shot after a face-off win, and Loyola was in front for good.
Ratliff finished with four goals, and Josh Hawkins added two from the defensive midfield, while their running mate Pat Laconi assisted on a Ratliff goal. Justin Ward added two goals and two assists, and Mike Sawyer scored twice.
Ryan and Ratliff’s goals were the first two of a 5-0 run that the Greyhounds extended to 7-1 in the second quarter.
Ratliff Sets Record
Scott Ratliff did something believed to be a first in the modern era of college lacrosse (circa 1971) on Saturday in the Greyhounds’ win over visiting Fairfield. The senior long-stick midfielder scored four goals, becoming the first player with a pole to do so.
Ratliff scored once off a Loyola faceoff win, a second time on a give-and-go in transition with Pat Laconi and twice more off set plays in settled offense with feeds from Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello.
In recent years, at least two long-sticks, Duke’s C.J. Costabile and Bryant’s Mason Poli, have recorded hat tricks.
Hawkins, Ratliff Earn ECAC Honors
After the standout performance by the Loyola defensive midfield, short-stick Josh Hawkins and long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff were named the ECAC Specialist and Co-Defensvie Players of the Week, respectively on Monday.
Ratliff scored four goals, had four caused turnovers and three ground balls, while Hawkins posted two goals, two ground balls and a caused turnover.
The award is the first of Hawkins’ career, while Ratliff earned his sixth (four defensive, two specialist).
Loyola has allowed just 22 goals over its last four games, an average of 5.5. In the first two games, at Georgetown and Michigan, the Greyhounds gave up just one goal before halftime, and they then allowed only one after the break at Ohio State.
In the four games, Loyola’s opponents have made just 19.8-percent of their shots, converting on 22-of-111 attempts.
The Greyhounds have forced 67 turnovers in the games, as Georgetown committed 20, Michigan had 18, Ohio State, 16 and Fairfield, 13. Of those 67 turnovers, Loyola was credited with 44 caused turnovers.
The 17 caused at Georgetown were the most this season by Loyola and the most by a Greyhounds’ team since they posted 19 in back-to-back games against St. John’s and Massachusetts in March 2009.
Entering the game against Fairfield, Loyola is fifth in Division I with 10.0 caused turnovers per game. Four players – Scott Ratliff (14th, 2.09), Pat Laconi (36th, 1.55), Joe Fletcher (65th, 1.27) and Reid Acton (70th, 1.2) – are ranked among the nation’s top 70 in caused turnovers per game.
CLASSy Senior Candidate
Earlier this week, Scott Ratliff was named one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, an honor given yearly to a NCAA Division I senior who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition
Ratliff has continued his high production on defense, transition and offense that helped him earn USILA All-America Third Team and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year honors a year ago when he led the team last year in ground balls (88) and caused turnovers (37), was fifth in goals (12) and seventh in assists (7).
He had one of his stat-sheet filling games against Air Force, scoring a goal and assisting on another while picking up five ground balls and causing three turnovers, and he turned in another with a goal, four ground balls and two caused turnovers while going 4-of-4 on faceoffs against Georgetown. Ratliff came one shy of his career-high with eight ground balls at Michigan.
His career totals now stand at 27 goals and 13 assists, and his 40 career points are second-most among active long-poles to Bryant’s Mason Poli. Last year, he set the school’s single-season long-pole scoring record with 12 goals and seven assists, eclipsing the previous high of 16 points on 11 goals and five assists set in 1995 by current Loyola assistant coach Matt Dwan.
Additionally, Ratliff now stands 10th in school Division I history in career ground balls (193) and second in caused turnovers (82). His caused turnovers are eight shy of tying the school record set in 2008 by P.T. Ricci.
Defensive Midfield Production
Loyola’s defensive midfield had a productive game against Fairfield, finishing the outing with six goals, an assists, six caused turnovers and six ground balls.
This season, long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff has posted 11 goals and three assists, good for fifth on the team with 14 points, while short-stick Pat Laconi has four goals and five points, and fellow short-stick Josh Hawkins has five goals and an assist.
Another Multi-Point Venture For Ward
With two goals and two assists against Fairfield, Justin Ward had his 11th multi-point effort in as many games this season. He has now tallied at least two points in all 11 games this season, and he has three or more in eight of those outings..
In the Georgetown game, he became the 10th player in the program’s Division I history (since 1982) to log 50 or more assists in his career. With 56 career assists, Ward now stands ninth in school Division I history, three shy of Pat Lamon’s 59 in eighth place.
Ward put up his second game with seven or more points on March 16 against Air Force, logging seven with two goals and five assists in the win over the Falcons. His five assists tied his career-high, set twice in 2012 against Towson and Fairfield.
On February 26, 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.
Through 10 games this year, Ward leads the team with 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points.
Pontrello Keeps Tallying Points
Nikko Pontrello notched his third hat trick of the season on March 30 at Ohio State, scoring a game-high three against the Buckeyes. He also had three-goal outings against UMBC and Air Force earlier this year.
In his first season as a starter, Pontrello has scored 13 goals while assisting on 14 for 27 points, second most on the team. As a freshman in 2012, he scored four goals and assisted on six.
He posted his second six-point game this season March 16 against Air Force, scoring a career-high four goals to go with two assists. He scored in the first quarter, tallied a pair during Loyola’s 4-0 third-quarter run and added his fourth in the final frame. Earlier this year against UMBC, Pontrello posted three goals and three assists for six points against the Retrievers.
Fletcher Turns Up ‘D’
Joe Fletcher earned ECAC Defensive Player of the Week honors on March 18 after picking up three ground balls and causing a turnover against Air Force. More impressive was the defense Fletcher played on Air Force’s offensive quarterback, preseason All-American Keith Dryer.
Dryer entered the game with four goals and a team-leading 10 assists, but Fletcher held him without a point.
This season, Fletcher, who was a Preseason All-America First Team honoree, has 37 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers.
Freshman Zach Herreweyers made his first career start on March 16 against Air Force on attack for the Greyhounds, and he made his debut to the opening 10 an impressive one.
Herreweyers scored his first collegiate goal with 12.3 seconds left in the first quarter, and he finished with a hat trick, tallying goals for Loyola in the third and fourth quarters, as well. He also picked up three ground balls.
He followed that game with a four-goal outing Wednesday at Georgetown, a hat trick at Michigan and a goal and an assist at Ohio State.
The freshman from London, Ontario, made his collegiate debut against Duke on March 8. In five games played, he is tied for fourth on the team with 11 goals.
Herreweyers became the first Loyola freshman to score three times in a game since current senior Patrick Fanshaw scored five goals and assisted on another on March 20, 2010, also against Air Force.
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 fifth multi-point game of the season against Ohio State, recorda goal and two assists. He has scored at least one point in all 10 of the Greyhounds’ games this year.
Through 10 games this season, Layne has scored 12 goals and has eight 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.
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.
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 Georgetown this was the 70th victory of his coaching career, becoming the second coach in Loyola history to win 70 or more, joining – Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001).
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, and they runs of 3-0 and 4-0 to beat Air Force.
In the Georgetown game, Loyola had its longest run of the year, scoring eight straight.
At Ohio State, the Greyhounds went on a 6-0 run that spanned the final three quarters to take control of the game. A 5-0 first-quarter run spurred the win over Fairfield.
Last season, the Greyhounds outscored opponents 66-22 in the third quarters of games, and 123-63 overall in the second half (including overtime). 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 43-20 in the third quarter and 64-45 overall after halftime.