March 1st, 2013

Knights to battle No. 4 Loyola

Staff Report


Knights to battle No. 4 Loyola
photo from bellarmine.edu

Knights face defending national champs this weekend

By: John Pollock, from bellarmine.edu/athletics

On Saturday the Bellarmine University lacrosse team will travel to Baltimore to face its toughest challenge of this young season, taking on defending national champion Loyola.

The Knights (3-0, 1-0 ECAC) are coming off of a strong performance in a 12-5 win over High Point but will certainly be tested this weekend. “Loyola is a great team with a lot of guys who can beat you; for us to win it will be essential to execute our game-plan,” said Bellarmine head coach Kevin Burns, a Loyola alumnus.   

Loyola (3-1) and will face the Knights in its first Eastern College Athletic Conference game of the season. The Greyhounds began the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the country but dropped to No. 4 in the polls after a 12-10 loss to Maryland.

Last season the Greyhounds beat the Knights 11-8 in Louisville.

Carrying a 4-2 deficit into halftime the Greyhounds came out after the break and showed why they were such a highly touted team in 2012 by scoring two goals in the first two minutes of the second half.

After a goal by Michael Ward reclaimed a 5-4 lead for Bellarmine, Loyola who recaptured the momentum with three goals. Ward again answered back for the Knights, cutting the lead to one, but the Greyhounds put their foot on the gas and didn't trail again.

Loyola scored four goals early in the fourth quarter to go ahead 11-6, but Bellarmine got two more man-up goals before the final whistle.

Bellarmine's offense has been led this season by junior Cameron Gardner, who has accumulated 12 points on the season, already surpassing his total of 11 from 2012. Gardner has found the back of the net at least twice in all three contests and is averaging a scorching 3.67 goals per game, ranking him eighth in the nation in that category.  

Defensively, the Knights are allowing just 6.33 goals per game, ranking them second in the nation, a vast improvement over the 10.33 goals allowed per game in 2012.

Much of this defensive improvement can be attributed to the play of senior goalkeeper Dillon Ward. He has saved 43 shots on the season, boasting a save percentage of .782, good  for first in the country.   

The Greyhounds are paced offensively by Justin Ward (12g, 9a), Chris Layne (7g, 5a) and Mike Sawyer (9g, 2a), all of whom have scored in every game this season. In 2012 Sawyer, a senior from Waxhaw N.C., was a finalist for the coveted Tewaarton Trophy, given to the most outstanding college lacrosse player in the United States and is on the award watch list for 2013.

Faceoff will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore.

 

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