Johns Hopkins and Loyola have put their annual men's lacrosse rivalry on hold for the 2015 season.
Unable to find a Saturday date suitable for both sides, the Charles Street rivals agreed to take a break next season and resume their annual series in February 2016 at Ridley Athletic Complex.
With the Blue Jays moving to the Big Ten for 2015 and the Greyhounds playing in the Patriot League this past spring, Loyola coach Charley Toomey said he and Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala were intent on keeping the game on a Saturday rather than participating in a midweek contest during their conference schedules.
“You need a couple days to prepare for a conference game, and I think we both were looking at our schedules and couldn’t come up with a Wednesday that made a lot of sense for either one of us to allow ourselves the proper amount of preparation for the next Saturday game,” Toomey said. “We looked at Wednesdays. It’s not like we won’t play Wednesday games. We’ll certainly play a couple Wednesday games with Towson and Georgetown, but we felt like the game following Johns Hopkins was going to be a real challenge.”
Added Pietramala: “Because it’s such a well-attended game and the student bodies at both places get excited, we just felt like a midweek game wouldn’t do the game justice. And we wanted it to be a game where we both had a full week to prepare and play where it would allow fans for both schools and the community to be involved.”
The two schools have traditionally met on the last weekend of the regular season, but that weekend in 2015 will likely be taken up by the Big Ten tournament. The Patriot League tournament will probably take place the previous weekend.
The rivalry has been dominated by the Blue Jays, who have won 47 of 52 meetings. But the Greyhounds have won the last two contests, and the game has helped boost the scores for both sides in strength of schedule and Rating Percentage Index, which are used by the NCAA tournament selection committee.
“You never want to lose a game that is a good game for your SOS and RPI,” Pietramala said. “But when you look at our schedule, we feel confident that given the fact that we’ve added Penn State and the other Big Ten teams and we kept Syracuse, Virginia and Carolina, we feel like we’ve got a very strong schedule. So we’ll be able to survive it for a year.”
The teams will scrimmage Jan. 31, but Toomey acknowledged that not playing in a regular-season game is a development both coaches wished they could have avoided.
“I would imagine that it’s disappointing for both locker rooms,” he said. “It’s become a big game in the sport of lacrosse, and certainly in Baltimore and Maryland. But I think what we need to understand is that Johns Hopkins is in the Big Ten and Loyola is in the Patriot League, and we’re always going to keep our eye on them, and I’m sure they’re going to keep their eye on us.”