NCAA Preview: Loyola at Virginia

Loyola @ Virginia

Game Time: 7:00 pm

Date: February 6, 2014

Location: Charlottesville, Va


Teams change and great players graduate, leaving behind an empty spot for someone to fill. Loyola and Virginia both have shoes to fill.

Virginia is coming off one of their more disappointing seasons after a long run as one of the top teams in NCAA men’s lacrosse. They started off strong going 5-1 in the first half of the season before dropping six in a row. In the ACC tournament, they took down Maryland with a 13-6 romping, eventually falling to North Carolina 16-13 in what was their last game of the season. The Cavaliers ended 2013 7-8. It is the first time since 2004 (5-8) when Dom Starsia’s Wahoos finished below .500. That year, they defeated the Tar Heels in the ACC semis and fell to the Terps in the ACC final. They will have to take on new ACC foes Syracuse and Notre Dame in what will be one of, if not the, hardest conference in the men’s lacrosse world.

From champions the year before to ousted in the first round the next. Loyola spent 2013 in the ECAC but this year, they will take on the very feisty Patriot League that also includes newcomer Boston University. Two-time defending champ, Lehigh, welcomes any competitor, especially Patriot Leaguers, to their field. Additionally, the Greyhounds will have to take on Bucknell, Colgate, Army, Holy Cross, Lafayette, and Navy. New conference, new faces, new Loyola.



First time these two storied programs met was in 1938, where Loyola took home a 9-4 victory. 1939 proved the same result as UVa fell 12-5. Virginia capped off their first win over the Greyhounds in 1947 with a 7-6 win. Another one goal win went to the Wahoos in 1948. This was followed by UVa going on an eight game win streak over the Greyhounds until 1987, when Loyola regained the momentum went on a three match win streak. The two squads would meet for the last time in 1991 with Virginia taking home a 17-10 win. These two squads have not met in the 2000 era. Virginia holds the lead of the overall record at 11-5.




Key Ruturns:

Justin Ward, A

Niko Pontrelli, A

Zach Haywire, A

Joe Fletcher, D

Pat Laconi, SSDM

Jack Runkel, G


Key Losses:

Josh Hawkins

Mike Sawyer

Chris Layne

Scott Ratliff

Sean O’Sullivan

Davis Butts

Reid Acton



Who replaces Sawyer?


SSDM number 2?

Who restructures the midfield?


More losses than their opponent, UVa, including offensive weapon, Sawyer. Defensively, the Greyhounds need to fill the roles of Ratliff and Hawkins, two guys who could play great defense and push it in transition, not to mention score some key goals. Fletcher will be the anchor down low, along with Laconi at the SSDM position who takes the number one d-mid position. Runkel didn’t have an amazing year last year, so we will see who gets the nod in net. Pontrelli, Ward and Haywire will more than likely be the three attackmen for Loyola this year. Midfield will be the biggest question for this group with Layne, Butts and O’Sullivan gone.




Key Returns:

Mark Cockerton, A

Rob Emery, M

James Pannell, A

Owen Van Arsdale, A

Ryan Tucker, M

Scott McWilliams, D

Chris LaPierre, D

Bobby Hill, SSDM


Key Losses:

Charlie Streep

Matt White

Nick O’Reilly



Who do they put in net?

Who replaces White & O’Reilly?


They return a lot of offensive talent. Replacing the likes of Streep, White and O’Reilly will be one of the more difficult situations Dom Starsia finds himself in heading into 2014. One big positive heading into the season is the return of defender Chris LaPierre, who suffered a season ending injury last year. He joins a stingy Cavalier defense, including McWilliams, who will be hard to get through with midfielders being stopped by SSDM Bobby Hill, who could also start transition. Another problem for Starsia is, who do you put between the pipes? Heller or Marino? The starting position is wide open and newcomer Matt Barrett will give everyone a fit.