NCAA Team Reviews: Loyola Greyhounds

Photo credit to Craig Chase
Photo credit to Craig Chase

For the better part of four months, many of us watched some exciting college lacrosse, whether it was on TV, online, or in person.  There were good games, which included all of Championship Weekend, and there were bad games, such as low scoring affairs and of course, the horrendous winter weather.  I take a look back at all 69 Division I teams and how they fared this season and what to look forward to in 2016.

Check out previous recaps: NJIT Highlanders, UMass Lowell River Hawks, VMI Keydets, Manhattan Jaspers, Canisius Golden Griffins, Robert Morris Colonials, St. John’s Red Storm, Wagner Seahawks, Binghamton Bearcats, Bellarmine Knights, Jacksonville Dolphins, Furman Paladins, Lafayette Leopards, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, Siena Saints, Delaware Blue Hens, UMBC Retrievers, Dartmouth Big Green, Providence Friars, Mercer Bears, Penn State Nittany Lions, Hofstra Pride, Michigan Wolverines, UMass Minutemen, Monmouth Hawks, Vermont Catamounts, Sacred Heart Pioneers, Holy Cross Crusaders, Penn Quakers, Villanova Wildcats, Boston Terriers, Quinnipiac Bobcats, Hartford Hawks, Hobart Statesmen, Lehigh Mountain Hawks, Drexel Dragons, Harvard Crimson


2014 Record 15-2
2014 Conference Record 8-0 (1st in Patriot)
2014 Scoring Offense 12.88 Goals Per Game (6th in DI)
2014 Scoring Defense 7.47 Goals Against Per Game (4th in DI)
2014 Goals Leader #18 Nikko Pontrello – Junior (51 Gs)
2014 Assists Leader #15 Justin Ward – Senior (53 As)
2014 Points Leader #15 Justin Ward – Senior (71 Pts)
2014 Goaltending Leader #24 Jack Runkel – Senior (.611 SV %)
2014 Face-Off Leader #28 Graham Savio – Freshman (.556 FO %)
2014 Ground Balls Leader #28 Graham Savio – Freshman (88 GBs)
2014 Caused Turnovers Leader #34 Pat Laconi – Senior (34 CTs)
2014 Quality Wins Duke (14-7), Johns Hopkins (13-10)
2014 Bad Losses Virginia (14-13 OT), Albany (13-6 – NCAA First Round)


2015 Record 7-8
2015 Conference Record 5-3 (4th in Patriot)
2015 Scoring Offense 11.20 Goals Per Game (20th in DI)
2015 Scoring Defense 10.33 Goals Against Per Game (36th in DI)
2015 Goals Leader #27 Zach Herreweyers – Junior (47 Gs)
2015 Assists Leader #18 Nikko Pontrello – Senior (27 As)
2015 Points Leader #27 Zach Herreweyers – Junior (51 Pts)
2015 Goaltending Leader #42 Grant Limone – Freshman (.538 SV %)
2015 Face-Off Leader #28 Graham Savio – Sophomore (.592 FO %)
2015 Ground Balls Leader #28 Graham Savio – Sophomore (72 GBs)
2015 Caused Turnovers Leader #22 Jack Carrigan – Sophomore (20 CTs)
2015 Quality Wins Towson (15-11), Army (12-10)
2015 Bad Losses Virginia (13-12), Army West Point (12-11 – Patriot League Quarterfinal)


Coming off an impressive 2014 season with a disappointing NCAA Tournament run, the Greyhounds were poised to take the Patriot League yet again. But big blows on defense, which included First Team All-American Joe Fletcher at close and Second Team All-American Pat Laconi at midfield, along with Jack Runkel in net and Justin Ward at attack, were too much for Loyola to repeat as league champs in 2015. Nikko Pontrello and Romar Dennis were expected to take charge of the Greyhound offense, but failed to put up the numbers that were expected for the season. Instead, junior Zach Herreweyers and sophomore Brian Sherlock ranked one-two in points for the Greyhounds. On defense, senior Pat Frazier was an Honorable Mention All-American, while the goaltending situation was shaky at first, with senior Pat McEnerney starting before giving up the job to freshman Grant Limone.

The Greyhounds started the season at #7 in the polls and took on 9th ranked Virginia in their season opener, trying to get revenge from last year’s shocking loss. Tied at six at the half, the Wahoos took a three-goal lead into the final stanza, but the Greyhounds couldn’t mount a good enough comeback and lost by a goal. They defeated Penn State at home to go 1-1 on the season, and the Greyhounds would stay over or at .500 for the rest of the season until the Patriot League Tournament. Starting with a 15-11 win in Towson, the Greyhounds would win a game, and then follow with a loss. Their Patriot League opener against Holy Cross was a snowy affair in which Head Coach Charley Toomey made the switch in cage near the end of the 2nd quarter and put in Limone. But the switch couldn’t propel the Greyhounds to a victory over the Crusaders. Limone would start for the rest of the season, but the pattern would continue. Loyola would beat Lehigh, but would then lose in Durham to Duke in one of two losses that weren’t decided by a goal. A six-goal performance by Herreweyers and strong performances by Frazier and Limone put the Greyhounds on top of Army 12-10, but would suffer another one-goal loss, this time against Georgetown. The Greyhounds would then be on both sides of blowouts, first by beating Lafayette 19-10, followed the next week with an 11-4 loss to Colgate, their second non-one-goal loss. Two six-nothing runs against Navy put the Greyhounds on top 17-7, entering their rivalry game against Maryland. The Greyhounds stayed around the entire game and tied the game at ten with 5:45 to play, before Bryan Cole scored the game-winner with about three minutes left to give the Terps the 11-10 victory. Loyola exploded with a 5-1 first quarter en route to an important league victory over Boston, but the Greyhounds faltered in their season finale against Bucknell, giving up two goals in under a minute in the final quarter before falling to the Bison in overtime 10-9. Loyola would host Army West Point in the Patriot League Quarterfinals and were leading 11-6 with 11:51 left in the game, before the Black Knights six unanswered, including the game winner by John Glesener with six seconds left, to end Loyola’s season.

If many of those one-goal losses were wins, it would have been a totally different season for the Greyhounds. We may be talking about them winning a Patriot League Championship and looking to three-peat into 2016. But the Greyhounds will have to regroup in order to make a strong run next season in the highly competitive Patriot League. Herreweyers is expected to take control of the offense, but Loyola hopes that he doesn’t have a senior season like Pontrello did in 2015. Romar Dennis is expected to bounce back, as well as Brian Sherlock and Tyler Albrecht. And another question will be in cage, and whether Grant Limone can continue his strong performance from his freshman season.


Richie Easterly Attack Westhill (NY)
Jacob Stover Goalie McDonogh (MD)
Bobby Austin Attack McDonogh (MD)
Patrick Duffy Midfield Reading Memorial (MA)
P.J. Brown Midfield Cazenovia Central (NY)
Mike Wegner Defense Regis Jesuit (CO)
Jack Shriner Midfield/FO Caravel Academy (DE)
Paul Volante Defense/LSM Ridgefield (CT)
Damase Bagbonon LSM Conestoga (PA)
Sammy Edwards Midfield Beverly Hills (CA)
Patrick Spencer Attack Boys’ Latin (MD)
Bryce Carrasco LSM/Defense St. Mary’s (MD)
Chase Bradshaw Midfield Palo Verde (NV)
Lucas Jackson Defense Staples (CT)
John Duffy Midfield Lincoln (OR)

Loyola will replace eight departing players with 15 incoming recruits. P.J. Brown of Cazenovia Central is on Ty Xanders’ watchlist of best senior recruits. Attackman Patrick Spencer form Boys’ Latin is ranked 29th and played in the All-American Game Friday night and looked very impressive. He might be able to get some playing time and even start some games. Finally, you have a late addition to the All-American Game in Jacob Stover, a goaltender from McDonogh. The son of former Raven kicker Matt Stover, the goalie could compete with Limone for the starting job or take over for him if Limone starts to falter.