It would be understandable if No. 6 Duke still feels the sting of Saturday’s 10-6 loss to No. 1 Maryland and tries to channel that anger into Sunday’s game against No. 5 Loyola at 6 p.m. Sunday at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore.
But as far as coach Charley Toomey is concerned, the Greyhounds (4-1) are concentrating on the skills, not the emotions, of the Blue Devils (4-1).
“I’m expecting a very talented Duke team coming to Ridley,” Toomey said Thursday. “We certainly don’t worry about Duke of the past, or else we would’ve been worried last year about playing a 2-4 Duke team. We’re playing a very talented Duke team that is in top five and, for some reason, they always seem to figure it out right about this week. Coach [John] Danowski does a great job. He doesn’t play fall ball. So it may take their team a little longer to work some kinks out. We have a tremendous amount of respect for that program, and I’d like to believe that it’s become a good rivalry game not only for both programs but also for the sport of college lacrosse.”
The fates of both programs have been intertwined over the past two seasons. Loyola’s 13-8 victory over Duke on March 10, 2012, was that squad’s first significant win of the year and propelled the team to its first national championship.
The Blue Devils’ 9-8 win on March 8, 2013, began a nine-game winning streak that culminated in the school’s second NCAA title in four seasons.
Duke swept Loyola twice last season, adding a 12-11 win in double overtime in the first round of the NCAA tournament. But Toomey said he wasn’t sure whether those setbacks would mean much to the current group of Greyhounds.
“I just think it’s Duke and it’s Loyola,” he said. “Maybe that might be in the players’ minds, but it’s certainly not something that we talk about. I don’t believe that. I think our guys just have a respect for how they play the game. We’ve watched film, and we know it’s a very talented team coming to Baltimore this weekend.”