Archers LC long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff, who starred at Loyola from 2010-2013, is thrilled to back in Baltimore for the Premier Lacrosse League’s weekend at Homewood Field … and judging by the consecutive games streak Ratliff is on, there isn’t much that will keep Ratliff from competing.
Considered one of the best long-stick midfielders in Loyola history, Ratliff scored 30 goals, dished out 14 assists, picked up 217 ground balls and caused 88 turnovers during his four-year career. He served as a co-captain for the Greyhounds as a junior and senior. He earned USILA All-America honors for his work during those seasons as well.
Oh, and he was part of Loyola’s 18-1, national-championship squad in 2012. It’s safe to say Ratliff has a lot of good memories from playing in Baltimore.
“Anytime you get to go back and play in Baltimore, for us professionally, it carries a little bit more weight,” Ratliff said on Glenn Clark Radio June 24. “You know it’s going to be a huge crowd. You know it’s going to be an intelligent fan base that knows the game and knows the players, is passionate about it. Not just myself, half the frickin’ league either played in college in Baltimore or grew up in Baltimore, so I think for a lot of guys it’s a really special weekend.”
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Ratliff has posted four points, picked up three ground balls and caused three turnovers for the 2-0 Archers this season. The Archers will face the Waterdogs LC at 8 p.m. June 26. The contest will be televised on NBC Sports Network. Four other games will be played at Homewood this weekend, and if the PLL’s weekend at Homewood in 2019 is any indication, each game will be well-attended.
The PLL is now in its third year, and because of the merger with Major League Lacrosse, all of the world’s best professionals are playing in the PLL. It’s no wonder that Ratliff believes the level of play in pro lacrosse is at an all-time high.
“These last three years have just been a complete breath of fresh air — the professionalism, and I think more than anything else, the level of play is the highest I’ve ever been a part of,” Ratliff said. “This Archers team, and I think pretty much any guy would say this about their PLL team, it’s far and away the best collection of players I’ve ever played with. The level of play is so high, and that challenges you so much to elevate your game and spend more time working on your craft.”
Ratliff has plenty of memories from playing at Homewood during his college days. In 2013, when Ratliff was a senior, Loyola beat Hopkins, 8-4, at Homewood, which marked the first time the Greyhounds had defeated the Blue Jays since 1999. It served as payback for the previous season. In 2012, Hopkins beat Loyola, 10-9, in overtime at Ridley Athletic Complex, which proved to be the lone loss of the season for the Greyhounds.
Ratliff’s father, Randy, was a defenseman at Maryland, so Scott didn’t grow up loving Hopkins, but he came to understand the breadth of the Loyola-Hopkins rivalry as a freshman when he saw how devastated the seniors were after the Greyhounds lost to the Jays in 2010.
Then they finally got the job done in 2013.
“It was definitely like a monkey-off-the-back moment,” Ratliff said. “To win on that field with that band playing, there’s nothing sweeter. I certainly love playing there. It’s no Ridley, but it’s about as good as it gets in lacrosse.”
Ratliff could add another Homewood memory to his collection this weekend. He is stuck on 99 career points as a professional. He missed out posting his 100th point when the PLL was playing at Kennesaw State, near his hometown of Marietta, Ga., during the weekend of June 11-13.
“At my position, the opportunities don’t always necessarily come, so I’ve got to be patient and it would be really cool to get that in Baltimore,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff was drafted by MLL’s Boston Cannons in 2013 and played six years in MLL before transitioning to the PLL in 2019. This is his ninth year of playing professional lacrosse … and he hasn’t missed a game yet. Though it’s not quite Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak, Ratliff takes a lot of pride in his preparation and commitment to the game.
“In pro lacrosse, in the past a lot of guys were missing for reasons beyond just injury,” Ratliff said. “I just knew that to get to the highest level of my game I was going to need to be committed to it. I kind of made that decision that I was going to prioritize it. Now here nine years later, it’s really kind of paying off as the game is jumping to the next level.”
To hear more from Ratliff, including how he’s helping young athletes, listen here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the PLL