Due to deadlines, my conversations with Loyola coach Charley Toomey, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala and Maryland coach John Tillman were relatively brief. But here are their initial impressions of their opponents in the first round of the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Toomey on Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Canisius (6-7): “My first impression is that my assistant coaches better be home doing their homework right now as I’m in Indy [due to his duties as a member of the tournament selection committee, which met in Indianapolis]. Obviously, the first phone call I’m going to make is to a good friend, [Siena coach] John Svec, and find out everything that I can about them. Loyola competes in the MAAC [in other sports], but we don’t run into Canisius very often. I think the last time I had an opportunity to watch them play was a few years ago when they drew Syracuse in the first round. But that’s probably a very different team such as Loyola is as well. I go to work tomorrow.”
Pietramala on America East titlist Stony Brook (7-9): “They’re pretty balanced offensively. As I look at them, two of their top four scorers are attackmen [in redshirt freshman Mike Rooney and sophomore Matt Bellando], and I believe the next two are midfielders [in seniors Robbie Campbell and Russ Bonanno], and they’re putting up a lot of points. They’re very well-coached. When I think of them, I think back to the way they performed against Virginia when they had Virginia up there [in 2011]. I saw them on film a little bit earlier this season against Virginia. Had an opportunity to watch them a little bit against Albany, and Albany’s a team that was just getting hot right at the end of the season. They really performed very, very well against UMBC, and Stony Brook found a way to beat them. So they’re a good team. Obviously, there’s a lot more for us to learn about them, but at first glance, they seem balanced. They put some points on the board, it looks like they’re riding pretty well and clearing pretty well. So we’re going to have to perform well as you have to at this time of the year. We have to start playing our best lacrosse.”
Tillman on Patriot League champion Lehigh (14-2): “Obviously, Lehigh is a terrific team. They won the Patriot League, and they’re very talented. What they’ve done offensively and defensively has been impressive. I think they’re scoring almost 11 goals a game and yet holding teams to six goals a game. And we just lost to the team that they beat in the championship game. So we know we have our work cut out for us.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun