Loyola’s quest to repeat as national champion begins with a road trip this Saturday to an opponent that has already played two games.
Delaware is 1-1, following a season-opening 12-10 win against High Point with a 9-8 loss to No. 17 Bucknell. But more than the Blue Hens’ record, Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey is leery about Delaware’s head start.
“The thing we’re always concerned about when we open up with Delaware is that they’ve got a couple games under their belt,” he said Thursday morning. “We really don’t have a game-speed scrimmage under our belts. We’ve got a couple scrimmages, but no meaningful games. So we’ve got to handle that intensity and the pace of the game very early on Saturday.”
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In addition to having to contend with the Blue Hens, Loyola has to get acclimated to new rules in place designed to help accelerate the pace of play.
“We’re not only dealing with a team that has played a couple games, but we’re dealing with new rules,” Toomey said. “Every scrimmage that we’ve played this year, we’ve had questions for the officials, and they’ve said, ‘Well, we’re working that out. We’ll have them right by your first game.’ So we’re looking forward to seeing – top to bottom – what these rules are going to be. Our kids have to get into the game and see how it’s going to be officiated.”
Those obstacles might be unsettling to other teams, but the Greyhounds will lean on 13 seniors, 12 juniors and one graduate student to show the underclassmen the way.
“I feel like we’ve got great senior leadership, but everyone wants to go out and play well,” Toomey said. “But I think the one thing we have learned is you can only handle what you bring to the table. We’ll hope to keep our emotions in check. The guys are ready, the guys are excited.”