Captains Trio Earns USILA Scholar All-America Honors
May 20, 2014
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland's three men's lacrosse co-captains - defender Joe Fletcher, short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi and attacker Justin Ward - were today named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Scholar All-America Team.
Loyola and Duke University were the only two NCAA Division I programs to have three or more players honored as Scholar All-Americans. The Blue Devils led the nation with three honorees.
The three seniors were all All-Patriot League First Team players and led the Greyhounds to a 15-2 record and six-week stay at No. 1 in the nation this season.
Each of the student-athletes is in the top two of a major statistical category this season, and all graduated with bachelor of business administration degrees last Saturday. Laconi tops all non-pole players nationally in caused turnovers per game, while Fletcher leads all close defenders in ground balls per game. Ward is second in the nation in assists per game.
Laconi has been one of the top cover short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation since coming to Loyola. This year, he led the team with 34 caused turnovers, and his 2.0 per game are eighth overall in Division I, tops amongst short-sticks.
He also scored a career-best 11 goals this year and finished his career with 16 goals and 12 assists. His 75 career caused turnovers rank fourth all-time at Loyola.
Ward, the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, led the Greyhounds in points for the second year in a row and during the season, he shattered Loyola's Division I career and season records for assists. He finished his senior campaign with 18 goals and 53 assists for 71 points; his points total tied Eric Lusby's 2012 mark for most points by a Loyola Division I player in a season.
Ward's 53 assists in 2014 broke the previous record by 15, and his 3.12 per game rank second in Division I this year. He completed his Loyola career with 57 goals and 120 assists, shattering Loyola's Division I career assists record by 36, and his 177 points rank sixth in school Division I history.
Fletcher is a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award and is the second defender in the honor's 14-year history to be named one of the final five. This year, he set career-highs with 80 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers with his 4.71 ground balls per game ranking first among close defenders.
Last week, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District I Team, and he was also honored as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The three, who were housemates off the field, will soon begin their professional lacrosse careers. Fletcher was the No. 3 overall pick by the New York Lizards in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft, while Laconi and Ward were selected ninth and 23rd overall, both by the Charlotte Hounds.
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