After watching Virginia score 11 goals in 41 minutes, 29 seconds against Jack Runkel on Thursday night, Loyola coach Charley Toomey decided to sit the senior goalkeeper in favor of junior Pat McEnerney.
McEnerney surrendered three goals in 20:13, including the game-winning tally by Cavaliers sophomore attackman James Pannell with 2:13 left in overtime. But Toomey said Friday that his faith in Runkel, who has started since his sophomore year, has not been shaken.
“I think Jack would be the first to tell you that he struggled last night,” Toomey said. “We’re going to go back to work with Jack today, and I’m not ready to say that there is a goalie controversy here at Loyola. He’s been in this position before, and I’ve watched Jack struggle early in the season and then have 22 saves against Duke [in a 12-11 double overtime loss in the NCAA tournament first round] late in the season. What my job is, is to get him mentally prepared to play [No. 12] Penn State [next Saturday], but I also have to be very positive with the other guys because you never know when you’re going to be called upon. That’s just what we have to do. We have to continue to improve and develop and get some confidence back for a couple guys.”
Does McEnerney’s play warrant consideration for being the starter against the Nittany Lions? Toomey did not say no, but he also said that his focus is on Runkel.
“There’s tremendous confidence from the coaches in both Pat McEnerney and [freshman] Sam Beazell,” Toomey said. “Every day, we have a depth chart and they rotate based on how they’re playing. We talk about it with them, and it might be game-to-game as to who that guy is, but certainly we felt comfortable coming off the bench with Pat. He’s played in games before, and we feel like we’ve got the right guys that we’re comfortable with to throw into the nets if need be. But there’s no doubt that we need to get Jack going, and that’s our first priority.”
The Greyhounds also made a change on faceoffs, switching junior Blake Burkhart (2-of-10 and zero ground balls) for freshman Graham Savio (11-of-18 and four ground balls). Toomey credited Savio’s development to him working with volunteer assistant coach Steve Vaikness.
“We’ve watched Graham develop over the last couple of months, and we knew he had talent,” Toomey said. “He was a very late recruit for us, making the decision to come to Loyola almost last June. He was a kid that was really developing in his senior year up in Greenwich[, Conn.]. Obviously, Coach Vaikness does a terrific job with our guys and he gave us instant energy coming off the bench at a time when we desperately needed it. We weren’t winning faceoffs in the first half. Coach Vaikness made a change and it gave us a little spark, and he gave us an opportunity to win the game.”