Quick Hits About The ‘Hounds
Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse plays the first of two-straight road games on Saturday, March 7, when it travels to Durham, North Carolina, to face Duke University at 1 p.m.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Saturday’s contest features the two teams that have won the last four NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championships. Duke won the title in 2011, followed by Loyola in 2012. The Blue Devils are the two-time defending champions, winning in 2013 and 2014.
Zach Herreweyers was named the Corvias Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week on March 2 following a career-best six goals last week against Lehigh University.
The Greyhounds are winning faceoffs at a 65.3 percent clip this season, and they have averaged 36.8 ground balls per game to their opponents’ 30.0.
Four players – Herreweyers (19), Brian Sherlock (11), Tyler Albrecht (10) and Nikko Pontrello (8) – have scored 82.7 percent of the Greyhounds 58 goals this season. Throw in Romar Dennis, and that quintet has scored 91.4 percent of Loyola’s goals.
Last Time Out
Zach Herreweyers scored three-straight goals in the second quarter last Saturday against Lehigh University, leading Loyola to a 6-3 halftime advantage, and although the Mountain Hawks tied the game late in the third, the Greyhounds posted an 11-8 victory in Patriot League action.
Lehigh scored twice in the first give minutes to open the third quarter, cutting its deficit to one, but Herreweyers added his fifth of the game at 8:40 to push Loyola back up two, 7-5.
Nikko Pontrello responded with a goal at 4:14 after Ian Strain tallied one for Lehigh at 7:03, but two Mountain Hawks goals in the final two minutes of the third quarter sent the contest into the fourth quarter tied, 8-8.
Herreweyers scored 2:29 into the fourth, and Brian Sherlock added tallies at 7:19 and 1:35 for the Greyhounds to provide the final 11-8 margin.
Herreweyers finished with a career-high six goals, and Zack Sirico assisted on a career-best four.
Graham Savio won 16-of-21 faceoffs for the Greyhounds and picked up 12 ground balls, helping Loyola to a 44-32 advantage off the ground.
In The Polls
Loyola is ranked 12th in the USILA coaches’ poll, 14th in the Cascade/Maverick Inside Lacrosse ranking and 11th in Lacrosse Magazine’s media polls as of March 2. The Greyhounds began the season ranked seventh in the coaches and Inside Lacrosse versions and ninth in the Lacrosse Magazine version.
Saturday will be the 28th meeting all-time between the Blue Devils and the Greyhounds, with Duke holding a 16-1 advantage in a series that dates back to 1946.
Including this year, the teams have played during the regular-season for 16-straight (since 2000). Twice during that span, 2008 and 2013, the teams also met in NCAA Tournament action.
Loyola defeated then-No. 4 Duke, 14-7, in last season’s meeting, a nationally televised game on CBS Sports Network that was played on March 9, 2014, at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Matt Sawyer scored a career-high six goals, and Nikko Pontrello added five goals for Loyola, while Justin Ward added a goal and four assists.
Jordan Wolf gave Duke a 4-3 lead with 2:50 left in the first quarter, but a Sawyer split-dodge and shot 56 seconds into the second period tied the game, and Pontrello put Loyola in front for good shortly thereafter. The goals were the first of five unanswered goals for the Greyhounds and part of a larger 7-1 run.
On the defensive end, the Greyhounds held Duke’s two leading scorers at the time, Wolf and Josh Offitt, to one goal each. Jack Runkel made nine saves in goal for Loyola.
Duke had won five-straight over Loyola and eight of nine, before the Greyhounds defeated the Blue Devils, 13-8, on March 10, 2012, in Baltimore.
Fans can watch Saturday’s game at Duke on ESPN3. Ryan Craig will call the play-by-play, and Art Chase will provide the analysis.
Hat Tricks For Herreweyers
Zach Herreweyers opened the season with three goals in each of the Greyhounds’ first two games, and he then had scored five at Towson before tallying two versus Holy Cross. He came back with a career-high six goals in last Saturday’s win over Lehigh, giving him four hat tricks in five games.
So far, he has scored his 19 this season on 44 total shots. He recorded his hat trick against Towson in less than 15 minutes of game time, and he finished with a then-career-high five goals.
Herreweyers’ 19 goals thus far in 2015 are second-most amongst NCAA Division I players, and he is fifth in goals per game (3.8).
His hat tricks against Virginia, Penn State, Towson and Lehigh give him nine in his career with Loyola. Herreweyers has scored three or more goals in better than half of his collegiate games. He saw action in 10 games as a freshman in 2013, one last year and five so far in 2015 for a total of 16.
With 38 career goals in 16 games, he is averaging 2.38 goals per game and 2.56 points with 41 career points.
Great Start On Restarts
Graham Savio put up an excellent performance at the faceoff ‘X’ to start the season, winning 19-of-28 restarts (67.9 percent) against a pair of Virginia faceoff specialists.
His 19 wins and 28 faceoffs taken were both career-highs, and he picked up a team-best nine ground balls, a number that was three off his career-high.
In the game at Towson, Brendan Donovan came on to provide a needed spark on restarts. Donovan won 10-of-13 faceoffs, helping the Greyhounds win 18-of-30 in the game. Overall, Loyola has won 71-of-110 (64.5 percent) of faceoffs this year, the No. 7 mark in Division I.
Savio then put up a new career-best in faceoffs won Feb. 21 against Holy Cross, winning 20-of-28 against the Crusaders, and he won 16-of-21 restarts versus Lehigh, tying his career-best with 12 ground balls. Through five games, Savio is winning faceoffs at a 64.5 percent success rate (71-of-110) in his sophomore campaign.
Sirico Sparks Scoring
In his third career start, Zack Sirico posted a career-high four assists last Saturday against Lehigh, giving him seven this season in four games. The sophomore missed the season-opener against Virginia with an illness, but he has recorded at least one point in ever game this year.
From The Middle
Three of the Greyhounds’ five top scorers through five games have come from Loyola’s first midfield unit of Tyler Albrecht, Romar Dennis and Brian Sherlock.
Sherlock is third on the team in points (16), and he is second on the squad with 11 goals. Albrecht scored two goals in each of Loyola’s first three games and logged a career-best four versus Holy Cross. He is second on the squad with 10 total goals and tied for third with 13 points. Dennis has six goals and four assists so far this season.
Of Loyola’s 58 goals and 33 assists, 46.5 percent of goals and 36.3 percent of assists have come from this unit.
Doing A Little Of Everything
While providing 21 combined goals and 29 overall points, two members of Loyola’s first midfield line, Tyler Albrecht and Brian Sherlock, give the Greyhounds much more than just offensive firepower.
The duo are regulars on faceoff wings for the Greyhounds and often drop back onto the defensive end of the field as short-sticks. Albrecht is fourth on the team with 17 ground balls, while the two have helped Loyola win 65.3 percent of faceoffs.
Pontrello Putting Up Points
Nikko Pontrello has been held without a point just twice in the last 22 games, since the start of the 2014 season. Penn State held him scoreless Feb. 14, and Navy turned the trick in 2014, snapping a streak of 10-straight games to open last season in which he had two or more goals. 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.
Since the Penn State game, Pontrello has totaled seven goals and seven assists in games against Towson, Holy Cross and Lehigh, recording three goals and two assists versus the Tigers, two and a career-high four versus the Crusaders.
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. His 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.
He is second on the team this season with 17 points – eight goals and a team-high nine assists – and through games of Feb. 24, Pontrello is 29th nationally in assists per game (1.8) this year.
Digging In On Defense
Loyola’s defense had two stretches of holding Penn State without a goal for better than 20 minutes in the Valentine’s Day 8-6 victory, and the Greyhounds also buckled down on defense for the final 8:21 to preserve the win.
After yielding the game’s first goal 1:38 into play, Loyola did not allow a Penn State goal for the next 20 minutes, 18 seconds, and the offense scored three in a row. Following a Nittany Lions score with 8:04 on the second-quarter clock, the Greyhounds held them without a goal for 20:59, stretching their advantage to 7-2 in the process.
Penn State did, however, score four unanswered over the course of 8:43 to draw within a goal, 7-6, with 8:22 left in regulation, but Loyola did not yield another score for the remainder of the game.
In the Feb. 18 win over Towson, the Greyhounds also put together a stretch of better than 15 minutes without yielding a goal. After the Tigers drew within four, 12-8, with 3:53 left in the third quarter, Loyola did not allow another goal for 15:50.
Penn State had 22 turnovers Feb. 14 in its 8-6 loss to Loyola, 17 of which were the result of Greyhounds caused turnovers. The 22 turnovers were the most by a Loyola opponent since Hobart had 23 on April 20, 2013, in Geneva, New York.
Loyola’s 17 caused turnovers were its high since posting the same number in a 13-8 victory on March 20, 2013, at Georgetown.
Six players were credited with two or more caused turnovers against the Nittany Lions led by three each from Pat Frazier and Ryan Fournier. Jack Carrigan, Jason Crane, Mike Kutzer and Jared Mintzlaff each had two.
Frazier Draws National & League Honors
Senior co-captain Pat Frazier earned a pair of awards after the Greyhounds’ 8-6 victory over Penn State. He drew Corvias Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, Feb. 16, and just before the Towson game, he was honored as the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) National Defender of the Week.
The senior from Montgomery County, Maryland, had career-highs of six ground balls and three caused turnovers to go, and he held his primary one-on-one matchup to just one goal on two shots. In the Nittany Lions’ season-opener Mike Sutton had two goals and an assist, and last year, he averaged 2.3 goals per game.
Frazier is a starter for the third-straight season on the Greyhounds’ defense and has 19 ground balls and seven caused turnovers through five games. The former walk-on began his career as a long-stick midfielder, but he made his first career start in the Greyhounds’ third game of 2013, at Towson, and has started Loyola’s last 36 games.
In addition to his work on the field, Frazier is one of 14 members of Loyola’s Green & Grey Society, a group of students who are liaisons to the University’s administration.
Waiting On The Wings
A large part of Loyola’s success against Virginia in the faceoff game was the play of its wings. Long-stick midfielder Ryan Fournier tallied five of his seven ground balls on faceoffs, and he led the Greyhounds charge in transition.
Savio cleanly won the game’s opening faceoff to the stick of Fournier who picked the ground ball, raced into the box and gave the Greyhounds a 1-0 lead just seven seconds into the season.
Fournier and Savio are the Greyhounds’ top two players in the ground ball category. Savio leads the team with 32, while Fournier has 27 to go with six caused turnovers.
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 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 72 occasions. With the win over Lehigh, Loyola has won 80.5 percent of those games (58-14).
Loyola has the best winning percentage in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse since the start of the 2012 season. The Greyhounds are 47-10 during that stretch (18-1 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013, 15-2 last season and 3-2 this year) for a .825 mark.
Duke has won 53 games during the run, but the Blue Devils are second to the Greyhounds in winning percentage by nearly six percent (53-14, .791).
Patriot League Network
All non-televised Loyola men’s lacrosse home games, will be broadcast digitally in free HD on the Patriot League Network. Glenn Clark and Chris Gunkel ’91 will call the action against Lehigh.
Powered by Campus Insiders, the Network started last year and provided one of the most comprehensive digital packages of any conference nationally. The link to each game can be found at LoyolaGreyhounds.com.