Loyola University Maryland travels to nearby Annapolis, Md., and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday, May 19, 2012.
The top-seeded Greyhounds will face fellow ECAC Lacrosse League member University of Denver for the third time this season at 2:30 p.m.
On The Tube And Web
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Eamon McAnaney and Quint Kessenich calling the action. Paul Carcaterra will be the sideline analyst.
The action can also be seen worldwide on ESPN3, the broadband arm of the ESPN, and on the WatchESPN app on mobile devices. Click here to read an ESPN3 access guide, and here to watch the game.
Loyola and Denver will meet for the fifth time in series history and third time this season when the teams take the field Saturday. The Greyhounds and Pioneers have met during the regular-season in each of the last three seasons and then earlier this month in an ECAC Semifinal. The series is tied 2-2 through the first four meetings.
Denver won the first two meetings, 12-4 at Invesco Field in 2010 and 12-8 last year at Ridley Athletic Complex.
This season, Loyola used a 5-1 run to close the game, overcoming an 8-7 third-quarter deficit on April 14 in Denver to beat the Pioneers, 12-9.
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.
NCAA Championships History
Loyola is making its 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championships, 18th at the Division I level. The Greyhounds are 9-19 all-time in Championships play, 9-17 at the Division I level.
The Greyhounds are making their 13th NCAA Quarterfinals appearance and the first since 2001. They are 2-10 in Quarterfinal games with their last victory in the round coming in 1998 against Georgetown in a 12-11 decision.
Saturday will be the first time in Loyola men’s lacrosse history (since 1938) that the Greyhounds will have played the same team three times in the same season.
A rematch with a regular-season opponent in the NCAA Championships is not unusual for Loyola. It will be the 12th time that the Greyhounds have faced a team in the NCAAs that they played earlier in the year. Including a game in the 1979 Division II-III Tournament, Loyola is 2-9 in those games. The last time it happened, Duke defeated the Greyhounds, 12-7, in the 2008 First Round.
Loyola entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 1 seed for the third time in school history. The Greyhounds were also the top seed in 1998 when they defeated Georgetown, 12-11, in the Quarterfinals to move on to the Final Four for the second time in school history. There, the Greyhounds lost, 19-8, to Maryland. They were then the No. 1 seed in 1999 when they fell in the Quarterfinals to Syracuse, 17-12.
School Record In Wins
Loyola’s victory over Canisius in the NCAA Championships First Round was its 15th of the season, setting a school record for victories in a year. The Greyhounds eclipsed the previous best of 13 that the 1998 squad achieved with a 13-2 record.
This is Loyola’s 15th season all-time with 10 or more wins with 12 coming since the Greyhounds joined Division I in 1982.
In The Polls
Loyola moved up to No. 2 in both the USILA Coaches and Inside Lacrosse Media Polls following their ECAC Championship. The Greyhounds were ranked No. 1 for two weeks before losing their only game of the season on April 28 to Johns Hopkins.
The Greyhounds finished the regular-season with the No. 1 RPI in the NCAA, as well. Denver entered the NCAAs 13th in both versions.
Loyola used 13 unanswered goals to break open a 4-3 halftime lead against Canisius last Saturday in a 17-5 victory over the Golden Griffins in the NCAA Championships First Round.
The Greyhounds took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter before Canisius scored three unanswered in the second. Mike Sawyer corralled a rebound of an Eric Lusby shot off the pipe and scored 1:20 into the second quarter to start the run. During the stretch, Sawyer scored all five of his goals, and Lusby had two of his three.
The run was the second longest in the brief, three-year history of Ridley Athletic Complex. Only a 14-0 run to start the game on March 20, 2010, against Air Force had more goals.
Sawyer Ties Single-Season Record
Mike Sawyer scored five times in the game against Canisius – his fourth game in 2012 with five or more goals – raising his season total to 50 goals to match the 2000 school record set by Tim Goettelmann. Goettelmann went on to become Major League Lacrosse’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Earlier this season, against Hobart, he became the first Loyola player to reach 40 goals in a season since Tim Goettelmann and Gavin Prout scored 50 and 41, respectively, in 2000. They are the only three Loyola players to top 40 this century. In the ECAC Semifinal against Denver, Sawyer pushed his season point total to 50, a number that is now at 53, making him the first Greyhound to reach 50 in a season since Prout had 58 (37g, 21a) in 2001. It is the fourth time this century that a Loyola player has scored 50 or more points in a season. Goettelmann (65) and Prout (53) both reached the mark in 2000, and Prout did it again the following season. Sawyer’s teammate, Eric Lusby, has since joined him with more than 50 points (more later).
Two Over 40/50
Mike Sawyer (50g, 58p) and Eric Lusby (40g, 54p) became the first set of Loyola teammates to score 40 goals and 50 points in a season since Tim Goettelmann (50, 65) and Gavin Prout (41, 53) accomplished the feat in 2000.
They are one of only two duos in the nation this year – Robert Morris’ Kiel Matisz (40, 64) and Jake Hayes (42, 61) are the other – to post 40 and 50.
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 junior does a lot, as he leads the team in ground balls (74) and caused turnovers (34), is tied for sixth in goals (11) and is seventh in assists (7).
A Tewaaraton Award nominee earlier in the year, Ratliff was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Championships after scoring three goals, one a game-winner, and recording two assists and 16 ground balls.
He had two goals, including the winner just eight seconds into overtime, and an assist versus Denver while picking up a career-high nine ground balls.
Ratliff, who was also an All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, then scored twice in the first quarter against Canisius to go along with six ground balls and three faceoff wins in the game.
Scott Ratliff had his third multi-goal game of the season in the NCAA First Round against Canisius, raising his season totals to 11 goals and seven assists.
With his game-opening goal against the Golden Griffins, 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.
Ratliff and Dwan are now tied for the lead with 11 goals each.
Ratliff is second nationally this season in goals and points by a long pole, and his seven assists are tops in the country. Bryant’s Mason Poli leads all long poles this year with 19 goals and 24 points.
The Hardware Department
In the span of seven days, three teams in Loyola’s Department of Athletics advanced to their respective NCAA Championships by winning titles in three different conferences.
The men’s golf team started the trend with its fifth-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crown on April 29, and the men’s lacrosse team followed by taking the ECAC title on May 4. The women’s lacrosse team completed the trifecta on May 5 when it defeated then-No. 2 Syracuse to win its second-straight BIG EAST Championship. Also, in March, Loyola’s men’s basketball team won its first MAAC title in 18 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994.
Sawyer Named One Of Five Tewaaraton Finalists
Mike Sawyer was named one of five Tewaaraton Award finalists on Thursday, joining Colgate A Peter Baum, Duke LSM C.J. Costabile, Massachusetts A Will Manny and Virginia A Steele Stanwick.
Sawyer is the first Loyola men’s player to be named a finalist, and he is also the first player from to hail the State of North Carolina to be so honored. He was one of three Greyhounds on the Tewaaraton Watch List where he was joined by Eric Lusby and Scott Ratliff, and Ratliff was a fellow semifinalist. The Award, which is given annually to the top player in college lacrosse, will be presented on May 31 at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Loyola’s first midfield line of Davis Butts (18g, 30p), Sean O’Sullivan (16, 26) and Chris Layne (10, 20) has combined for 44 goals and 32 assists this season, whiel the second midfield unit of Pat Byrnes (9, 7), J.P. Dalton (9, 4) and Phil Dobson (7, 2) has added 25 and 13. Additionally, Nikko Pontrello has started to mix in with the second midfield, allowing Loyola’s attackers the opportunity to invert, and he has four goals and six assists.
Balanced Scoring In ECAC Championships
Loyola traveled to Denver for the 2012 ECAC Lacrosse League Championships and left the Mile-High City with a 97-pound trophy (no, really). The Greyhounds, who earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament and finished the regular-season 6-0 in the league, beat host and No. 4 seed Denver, 14-13, in overtime to advance to the final. There, Loyola topped Fairfield, 14-7.
Fifteen different Greyhounds scored goals in the two games with 11 tallying goals in the semifinal and 10 in the title game. Mike Sawyer led the team with four goals in the two games, a trio coming in the final, while Eric Lusby, Chris Layne and Scott Ratliff each had three.
Justin Ward led the Greyhounds with eight total points, dishing out three assists in the semifinal and three along with two goals in the championship.
Two players scored their first collegiate goals in the games, one in each contest. Kevin Ryan tallied a first-quarter goal on a man-up possession against Denver, and Brian Schultz recorded his first in the fourth quarter versus Fairfield.
Sawyer, Lusby Form Rare Tandem
Graduate student Eric Lusby and junior Mike Sawyer have formed the top attack tandem in the ECAC Lacrosse League this year and one of the most balanced in the nation. The duo has combined for 90 goals in 16 games this season, an average of 5.625 per game.
Sawyer has scored 50 goals, and his 3.13 goals per game average is third-best in Division I. Lusby, meanwhile is right behind with 40 goals and a 2.5 goals per game mark, a number that is tied for 14th in the country. Loyola is one of two schools to have two players in the top 14 of goals per game nationally (Robert Morris).
The Greyhounds have not had two players score 40 or more goals in the same season since 2000 when Tim Goettelmann set the school single-season record with 50, and Gavin Prout tallied 41. As a side note, the Goettelmann-Prout duo has gone on to highly successful professional careers. Goettelman recently retired from Major League Lacrosse as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 268 goals in 11 seasons. Prout has been an MLL Champion and has scored 314 National Lacrosse League goals to go with 625 assists as a multiple-time all-star.
Spreading Out The Scoring Wealth
Loyola’s first 11 goals against Denver in the ECAC Semifinal night were scored by 11 different players. Eric Lusby, Phil Dobson and Scott Ratliff finished the game with two goals, and eight others had one.
All three members of the Greyhounds’ first midfield – Davis Butts, Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan – scored goals. They received four goals from the four players who make up the second midfield line – Dobson (2), Pat Byrnes and Nikko Pontrello (J.P. Dalton did not score). Extra-man attackman Kevin Ryan scored, and two of the team’s three attackmen – Mike Sawyer and Lusby (2) – recorded goals. Ratliff scored twice in transition, and short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins added one. The Greyhounds’ other attack player, Justin Ward, did not score but had a game-high three assists.
In the title game, 10 different players scored for Loyola with all three attackers scoring and two of three from the first midfield like tallying goals.
Twelve In A Row Ties Mark
Loyola’s 12-straight to start the season tied the school record for consecutive victories, matching the number put up by the 1998 (March 14-May 17) and 1999 (March 6-May 8).
It also matched the best start to a season, equaling the 1999 team that finished the regular-season unblemished at 12-0.
Ratliff Named ECAC Defender Of The Year
Junior long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, marking the second time in four years a Greyhounds’ long pole has received the award. P.T. Ricci earned the honor in 2009, as well.
Ratliff leads the ECAC with 34 caused turnovers (2.13 per game) and is sixth nationally in that category, and he is tops on the Greyhounds with 74 ground balls (4.5 per contest).
The native of Marietta, Ga., also has scored nine goals and has seven assists this year, keying the Greyhounds’ transition game on many occasions. He earned ECAC Co-Specialist of the Week twice during the year and was the Defensive Player of the Week early in the season.
Toomey Tabbed ECAC Coach Of The Year
Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey was named the ECAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven-year career. This season, Toomey has guided the Greyhounds to a 15-1 mark during the regular-season and the ECAC regular-season crown with a 6-0 mark in conference play.
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.
Earlier this season, Toomey won the 50th game of his coaching career, becoming the fourth coach in Loyola history to win 50 or more – Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001), Charles Wenzel (62-104, 1954-1970), Jay Connor (61-46, 1975-1982). Toomey’s .618 winning percentage trails only Cottle’s .721 at Loyola.
Five Loyola players earned All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors form the conference’s coaches. Long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff earned a spot as a defender on the First Team, where he was joined by Mike Sawyer on attack and Davis Butts in the midfield.
Sawyer led the ECAC during the regular-season, and is now third nationally, in goals (50) and goals per game (3.13). Butts has scored 18 goals and assisted on 12 from the Greyhounds first midfield line while also regularly playing a role on the wings during face-offs with 36 ground balls.
Attack Eric Lusby and defender Joe Fletcher were tabbed to the All-ECAC Second Team. Lusby is second on the team and is 14th nationally with 40 goals (2.5 per game), and he also has 14 assists this season. Fletcher came on as one of the top lock-down defenders around, earning Midseason All-American honors from Inside Lacrosse last month. He has 30 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers entering the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Loyola used runs of three-plus goals at important junctures of its 6 games, helping the Greyhounds to wins each time. In all, Loyola has scored three or more in a row on 32 occasions this season.
Loyola scored the first four goals of the ECAC Semifinal game against Denver and then tallied three-straight after the Pioneers pulled within 4-2. The Greyhounds then reeled off five in a row during the third quarter to take a 13-6 lead.
In the ECAC title game, Loyola used an 8-1 run that was comprised of runs of 3-0 and 5-0 to take control of the game.
On The Flip Side
Conversely, the Greyhounds have allowed a run of three or more goals just 10 times this year, with the most recent coming when Canisius scored three in the second quarter. Only Denver (seven), Johns Hopkins (five), Fairfield (five), Air Force (four) have scored more than three in a row this year.
Following six of the nine opponent runs of three or more, Loyola has answered in kind with a run of 4-0 or better.
On The EMO
This season, the Greyhounds are ranked second in the nation in man-up offense, scoring 50-percent of the time. Only Lehigh (.553) has a better mark this year.
The last time Loyola finished at or above .500 in man-up offense was in 1997 when it converted 39-of-77 (.506).
The Greyhounds have now outscored opponents 60-20 in the third quarters of games and 113-56 overall this year in the second half (including overtime).
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.