Friday, March 21, 2014

In Baltimore, the Echoes of a Title


By Boxer Journal March 22, 2014
Baltimore, MD - Today the Loyola Greyhounds men's lacrosse team moves deeper into their league schedule when they face Lafayette (1-3). They are the clear favorites, but more importantly are showing some similarities to the 2012 club that won the NCAA Championship

During that season they were dominant early, played a series of close games (including their only loss of the season, 10-9, to Johns Hopkins) and then ran through their remaining ECAC league games to an NCAA tourney berth and, ultimately, a championship.

On the field, senior goalie Jack Runkel's save % this year is 60.3, compared to last year's 50.4% and better even than his 55.6% in their championship season. His GAA is also down from last year when the Greyhounds finished 11-5 but bowed out in double overtime to Duke in the tourney. The Blue Devils would go on to win the 2013 crown.

On the offensive end, junior Nikko Pontrello has emerged as the team's leading scorer with 29 goals and five assists. Fellow attackman Justin Ward has proven the perfect set-up man with 26 feeds and five goals. Pontrello was recently added to the Teewaaraton Award watch list, while Ward already held a spot. The Teewaarton is given annually to college lacrosse's best player.

Loyola is coming off a pair of consecutive one goal wins, over Army (4-3) and Georgetown (3-5). Now playing in the Patriot League for the first time, their final five games are against conference foes, similar again to their 2012 run.

For players and fans in the Division I ranks outside the school's Charles Street campus, the pattern emerging looks increasingly ominous.

photo: Eric Lusby celebrates in the 2012 championship win over Maryland. Image is used w/permission of Getty Images. 

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