Saturday, February 7, 2015 | 1:00 p.m.
Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex
Quick Hits About The ‘Hounds
Loyola University Maryland opens its 76th season of men’s lacrosse on Saturday, Feb. 7, when the Greyhounds host the University of Virginia in a matchup of top-10 ranked teams at Ridley Athletic Complex.
The game is the first contest nationally in 2015 between teams ranked in the top-10 in both the USILA Coaches and Cascade/Maverick Inside Lacrosse media polls.
Head Coach Charley Toomey starts his 10th season at the helms of the Greyhounds, entering the season with a 90-42 overall record. It is his 19th season as a coach at Loyola and 23rd overall on the Evergreen campus, counting his four seasons as a student-athlete.
Loyola returns 27 members of last year’s team that finished the year 15-2, six of whom were among the Greyhounds’ starters.
The Greyhounds are in their second season of competition in the Patriot League after winning the conference regular-season and tournament titles.
Loyola starts its season with a pair of home games against nationally-ranked opponents and local rival Towson University.
Looking At Last Season
Loyola finished the 2014 season with a 15-2 record and was ranked No. 1 in the coaches and media polls for the final seven weeks of the regular-season.
The Greyhounds went 8-0 in Patriot League play to win the regular-season title, and they then defeated Colgate University and Lehigh University in the Patriot League Championships to win the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. There, Loyola lost in the first round to the University at Albany.
Five players earned recognition on the Untied States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-America teams following the season with Joe Fletcher earning first team honors for the second year in a row. Pat Laconi, Jack Runkel and Justin Ward were all named to the second team, and Nikko Pontrello garnered honorable mention.
Pontrello led the Greyhounds, and was fifth in NCAA Division I with 3.0 goals per game, scoring 51, third-most in school single-season history. Justin Ward was second nationally in assists per game (3.12) and had 53 as a senior. Jack Runkel was third in the country with a 7.20 goals against average.
In The Polls
Loyola is ranked seventh in both the USILA coaches’ and Cascade/Maverick Inside Lacrosse media polls to start the season. Last year, the Greyhounds opened the season 12th in the coaches’ and 16th in the media polls.
Virginia checks in at No. 9 in both rankings. The Cavaliers were seventh in the coaches and eighth in the media rankings when the teams met in last year’s season opener.
Patriot League Network
Saturday’s game, along with all non-televised Loyola men’s lacrosse home games, will be broadcast digitally in free HD on the Patriot League Network. WBAL Radio’s Brett Hollander and Chris Gunkel ’91 will call the action.
Powered by Campus Insiders, the Network started last year and provided one of the most comprehensive digital packages of any conference nationally. Check LoyolaGreyhounds.com for links to each game.
The Greyhounds and Cavaliers will meet for the 19th time when the teams take the field on Saturday. Virginia holds a 12-6 lead in the all-time series after winning last year’s overtime contest, 14-13, in Charlottesville.
In that contest, Virginia used an 8-0 run that covered the second and third quarters to build a 12-4 lead on a Rob Emery goal with 1:23 left in the third. The Greyhounds, however, had a run of their own, scoring nine unanswered in the fourth quarter.
Brian Schultz started the rally with a man-up tally 23 ticks into the fourth, and Romar Dennis’ second unassisted goal of the game tied the score at 12-12 with 2:30 remaining. Tyler Albrecht then scored his second of the game with 17.9 on the clock, giving the Greyhounds a one-goal lead.
Virginia won the ensuing faceoff and the officials ruled Ryan Tucker scored before the final tenths of a second elapsed on the clock, sending the contest to overtime. In the extra period, James Pannell scored 1:44 into the extra period, ending the contest 14-13 in the Cavaliers’ favor.
For the second year in as many seasons in the conference, Loyola topped the Patriot League preseason poll by a vote of conference coaches, leading the nine-team rankings with 12 first-place votes and 123 points. The U.S. Military Academy garnered one top vote and 110 points, while Lehigh University received the other five top nods and 109 overall points. Bucknell University, Colgate University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Boston University, Lafayette College and College of the Holy Cross rounded out the poll.
Four Loyola players earned recognition on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team, and the same quartet garnered Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America honors.
Nikko Pontrello was named to the All-America Second Team, while Ryan Fournier, Pat Frazier and Brian Sherlock were received honorable mention.
Get To Ten
Since Charley Toomey became head coach at Loyola in 2006, the Greyhounds have scored 10 or more goals on 68 occasions. After defeating Lehigh, 16-7, in the 2014 Patriot League Championship game, Loyola has won 82.4 percent of those games (56-12).
Loyola has the best winning percentage in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse since the start of the 2012 season. The Greyhounds are 44-8 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013 and 15-2 this season) for a .846 mark. Loyola’s winning percentage of .933 this season is the best nationally.
Duke has won 48 games during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly six percent (48-13, .787).
Pontrello Putting Up Points
Nikko Pontrello was held without a goal just once last season (at Navy), snapping a streak of 10-straight games to start the season that Pontrello had two or more goals. He rebounded, however, with three goals and two assists versus Boston University and three goals and an assist versus Bucknell. He finished the year scoring at least one goal in every game but the contest at Navy, and he tallied two or more in 14-of-17 outings.
Pontrello finished his junior campaign ranked fifth nationally in goals per game (3.0), and he was tied for third in NCAA Division I in total goals with 51.
Two of his goals last year game-winners in one-goal contests. Pontrello scored 19 seconds into overtime to give Loyola a 12-11 win at Penn State, and he then tallied one with 51.4 seconds left in regulation to push the Greyhounds past Georgetown, 10-9.
Pontrello’s 51 goals last season rank third in school single-season history, three shy of Eric Lusby’s 2012 record. His 63 points are tied for Mike Ruland (1988) for 10th.
By a vote of the Loyola players and coaches, three members of the team were named tri-captains for the 2014 season. Seniors Nikko Pontrello and Pat Frazier and sophomore Brian Sherlock were named captains at the conclusion of fall practices. Sherlock is the first sophomore to be so named during Charley Toomey’s 10 seasons as Loyola head coach.
Pat Frazier returns to the Greyhounds’ defense as a starter for the third year in a row, this season as the most veteran player on the unit. Frazier started his career as a long-stick midfielder for the Greyhounds, but he moved to close defense as a sophomore in 2013 where he joined the starting lineup after the season’s first two games.
Frazier has started each of the last 31 games on close defense for Loyola. In 2014, he picked up 27 ground balls and caused 15 turnovers, third-most on the team.
In addition to his work on the field, Frazier is one of 14 members of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of 14 students who serve as liaisons to the University’s administration.
In The Middle Of Things
Brian Sherlock is one of three members of Loyola’s starting midfield to return this season, joining Tyler Albrecht and Romar Dennis on the Greyhounds’ top line. Sherlock was a member of the Preseason All-Patriot League Team and Preseason All-American after scoring 19 goals and assisting on 10 during his first collegiate season. In addition to playing on the offensive midfield, Sherlock took several runs each game on the wings of faceoffs and on the defensive side of the field.
Albrecht is the team’s third-leading returning scorer after tallying 12 goals and five assists in 2014, while Dennis contributed six goals and four assists in his freshman campaign.
Not Just Defensive Midfield
Ryan Fournier developed into one of the nation’s top long-stick midfielders as the 2014 season progressed. The Canadian picked up 32 ground balls and caused nine turnovers while becoming an offensive weapon in transition.
Fournier, who was a short-stick midfielder at the beginning of the fall season his freshman year, scored four goals and assisted on two. He was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team and a Preseason All-America candidate.
Near The Top At Both Sides
The 2014 Greyhounds were the only team to be in the top six of scoring offense and defense at the Division I level. Loyola’s goals per game (12.88) ranked sixth, and its goals allowed (7.47) were fourth. As a result, Loyola led the nation in scoring margin (+5.41).
Loyola University Maryland
Assistant Athletic Director
(410) 617-2337, office
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