Loyola’s satisfaction over playing with a full starting lineup lasted just one game. After pounding then-No. 8 Ohio State, 9-4, on March 30 with its full complement of starters, the team took care of Fairfield, 13-7, last Saturday without freshman attackman Zach Herreweyers.
Herreweyers had started in the No. 10 Greyhounds’ last four contests, but was not dressed for Saturday’s victory. Coach Charley Toomey wouldn’t say what was ailing Herreweyers.
“We’re all fighting something,” he said. “You probably hear me up here. We’re not at full strength. We’re not healthy. We’ve got some issues in our locker room that we’re dealing with. … We’ll have him back, I promise you that.”
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Herreweyers was replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore Nikko Pontrello, who has registered seven goals and six assists as a starter and reserve in the attack and midfield units during the team’s five-game winning streak. Pontrello’s versatility gives Toomey the flexibility to utilize him in a variety of roles.
“Nikko is a utility guy that you can ask an awful lot of,” he said. “One day, he might be a middie. One day, he’s back to playing attack. Nikko is a jack of all trades. I’d like to say that he’s going to back up in the midfield, but Nikko is going to be where Loyola needs him to be next Saturday. We know the effort we’re going to get from [No.] 18 when he steps on the field.”
That doesn’t mean that Loyola (9-2 overall and 5-0 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference) would be fine playing without Herreweyers. He has posted 11 goals and one assist in five contests, and his left-handed shot could be useful against top-ranked Denver (9-2, 4-0) this Saturday in a game at Ridley Athletic Complex that will likely determine the top seed for the conference tournament.
Asked if he anticipated that Herreweyers would return for the showdown with the Pioneers, Toomey said, “I’d be shocked if he’s not back for Denver.”