Loyola Maryland preserved its top ranking with a 10-8 decision against Patriot League foe Colgate on Saturday despite the absence of starting defenseman David Manning because of an unspecified injury. But the junior is expected to return and start when the Greyhounds (9-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference) visit Navy (4-5, 3-3) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday at noon.
“He’ll be back,” coach Charley Toomey said on Wednesday morning. “We anticipate David starting this weekend. He’s been practicing and has been fine.”
Manning, who had started in the team’s first nine games, scooped up 15 ground balls and caused six turnovers, was replaced in the starting lineup by senior Derek Zook. In his first career start, Zook shut out Raiders sophomore attackman Kevin Adams, who had entered the contest with 17 goals this season.
“I thought he played very well,” Toomey said of Zook. “He held his kid to no goals, but more importantly, he played a kid who was an inside finisher. He was a pure finisher, and we thought that Derek Zook played very well. But what doesn’t register on the stat sheet is his being on the inside and needing to get us organized. When you play an inside guy, you become the quarterback defensively. You have to communicate to the middies and the poles and make sure that people are in the right spots. That’s what we were so impressed with after watching the film on Colgate with Derek.”
With Manning’s return, Zook will return to his previous status as the team’s fourth defenseman, but Toomey said Zook provides an insurance policy for the defense.
“We’re excited about welcoming [Manning] back to the lineup,” Toomey said. “But it’s good to know that our bench is deeper now, and we have a comfort level knowing that we can get the job done with guys coming in during our time of need.”