Despite a troubled outing that resulted in getting pulled in the third quarter of Loyola’s eventual 14-13 overtime loss to Virginia a week ago, senior goalkeeper Jack Runkel is scheduled to start when the No. 14 Greyhounds meet No. 12 Penn State Saturday.
Runkel was benched after surrendering 11 goals and making just three saves. Junior Pat McEnerney allowed three goals while making one stop, but Runkel will start after coach Charley Toomey said that the senior responded “the right way” during practice this week.
“He was in my office on Friday, and we had to learn from it and we had to grow,” Toomey said Wednesday. “It’s not like we haven’t been here before. He’s had tough games in the past, and it’s really about how you shake that off and about the preparation for the next week, and we’re real happy with Jack and how he’s handled this little speed bump.”
Runkel and the rest of the defense will be tasked with trying to contain a Nittany Lions that exploded for 22 goals in a 15-goal rout of Michigan last Saturday. Senior attackman Shane Sturgis scored a career-high six goals, and sophomore attackman T.J. Sanders added five goals in the win.
Toomey liked what he saw from the defense that limited the No. 10 Cavaliers to 27 shots in regulation, but he conceded that the unit could use some assistance from a faceoff unit that won just 7-of-18 draws in the first three quarters.
“I think we weren’t winning faceoffs, and that is a bit of a challenge,” Toomey said. “It’s nice to start off with the ball every once in a while, and we just didn’t feel like we were able to get the faceoff wins, and that’s a real big part of stopping a team’s runs. Certainly, we were able to go on our run when we were winning faceoffs. So it starts there. But I looked at the defensive tape and we were pretty happy with our effort. To hold a team like Virginia to 27 shots for four quarters, you’re giving yourself a chance. I think we need to make more saves, and I think Jack would be the first one to tell you that. I think he was excited to get back to work this week and go out and help Loyola get this win.”