- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Loyola over Navy was choice Scott Ratliff doesn’t regret
Question of the Day
BALTIMORE — Scott Ratliff's phone rang shortly into a trek from Panama City, Fla., to Atlanta, a long haul home from spring break.
The midfielder's senior year of high school was wrapping up. After initially committing to the Naval Academy's prep school, Ratliff hoped to begin college immediately. On the other end of the line, Loyola coach Charley Toomey offered precisely what Ratliff sought.
"As soon as he called, I knew 'This is what I'm going to do,' " Ratliff said. "Then I had a seven-hour drive to think about it."
There are no regrets and no second thoughts for either side. The top-seeded Greyhounds (15-1) can advance to the final four with a victory Saturday against Denver (9-6) in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, and Ratliff is a crucial reason why Loyola can dream of playing on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1998.
The junior has 11 goals and seven assists, explosive numbers even for a long pole who plays on the faceoff wings for a team eager to generate transition opportunities and well beyond Ratliff's preseason hopes of seven goals and five assists.
"You almost have to take a double take and go back and think about what he just did," Loyola midfielder J.P. Dalton said. "Now it's almost expected of him. You hold a player like Scott to that standard, and the cool part about him is he doesn't let you down."
Ratliff provided the game-winner eight seconds into overtime in the Greyhounds' last meeting with Denver on May 2 and scored twice in Loyola's tournament-opening rout of Canisius last week.
Afterward, Canisius coach Randy Mearns said the last pole he could recall who could so effectively get up the field and act as an offensive threat was former Georgetown star Brodie Merrill.
Ratliff is among the first college stars to emerge from the budding lacrosse community in Georgia, though it is not hard to understand how he came to the game. Randy Ratliff was a star defenseman at Maryland, twice earning All-America honors in the late 1970s, and served as his son's coach in youth leagues.
"From the time, I was young, that's what I wanted to do," Ratliff said. "I wanted to play college lacrosse like he did and be an All-American like he was."
Finding a landing spot for college was tricky, though. John Holthaus, Ratliff's high school coach and Toomey's old teammate at Loyola, pointed out his player to Toomey at a summer camp in Atlanta.
At the time, Ratliff was a two-way player who would play midfield on offense, run off and collect a pole and scoot back on the field to defend. Toomey figured he was worth monitoring, while Holthaus continued to pester his friend about offering Ratliff a place with the Greyhounds.
Toomey finally did in the middle of Ratliff's senior season. It was such a quiet move that when the Loyola staff gathered to discuss ordering name plates and Toomey mentioned Ratliff, his assistants quizzically replied "Who's that?"
They found out quickly.
"I think it took a little bit of time to get used to the speed of the game, but I know because I heard it from John Holthaus that he was shining from day one," Randy Ratliff said. "I'm not surprised, but I think confidence has caught up with him. Now he knows he's part of the core group."
Indeed, Ratliff was more than capable of making a name for himself with the Greyhounds as a pole who can inflict fast-break damage on opponents who understandably refuse to slide off potent attackmen Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer.
"He's just a fun kid to be around," Toomey said. "You want to be around Scott, and he wants to be around groundballs. We're fortunate he's in our program. We thank our lucky stars every day we took a chance with him."
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- PRUDEN: 'Tis the season for apologies
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow