If there was any doubt about whom should be the starting goalkeeper for No. 16 Loyola, Jake Hagelin put those questions to rest with his performance Saturday.
The sophomore made 15 saves in the Greyhounds' season-opening 10-9 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame. Hagelin was especially tough in the second quarter when he faced 12 shots, turned away five, and helped Loyola claw its way back to a 6-6 tie at halftime.
Coach Charley Toomey knew he faced a tough decision when senior Alex Peaty returned to the team in the fall. Peaty had been the starting goalie in 2007, recording a .547 save percentage and a 10.00 goals-against average (GAA). But when Peaty took some time off last spring, Hagelin stepped in as a freshman and posted a .575 percentage and 8.10 GAA.
While insisting that he would not be opposed to getting Peaty some time in the net, Toomey said the job is Hagelin's to lose. "What I saw in that game was a kid making a lot of saves early on in that game and playing very consistently throughout the game," Toomey said. "I just had a hard time looking to [Peaty on] the sidelines and saying, ‘OK, it’s your turn.’ I feel like we’ve got two very good goaltenders, and I don’t want anybody looking over their shoulders this season. Right now, it’s Jake’s job, and Alex knows that he’s ready to step in at any time when he’s called on."
Another bright spot in the defeat was the emergence of junior midfielder John Schiavone, who replaced Tim McDermott as the team's faceoff specialist. McDermott ranked ninth in the country last season, winning 58.6 percent (109 of 186) of his faceoffs.
Schiavone appears to a worthy successor. He won 14 of 20 faceoffs (60 percent) against the Fighting Irish and might have shocked everyone, including Toomey.
"It’s kind of hard to look at somebody and say, ‘He’s going to go 14 of 20 at the X.’ We thought we could [win] 55 percent," Toomey said. "That’s our goal going into any game. This obviously was a special effort, and you’d obviously like to have that type of effort every weekend, but you can’t expect it."