Charley Toomey and the rest of the coaching staff at top-ranked Loyola Maryland aren’t afraid to try something new. That could help explain why freshman midfielder Romar Dennis got his first start in 11 games, joining redshirt freshman Brian Sherlock and senior Matt Sawyer in Saturday’s 7-6 double-overtime decision against Navy.
The move bumped sophomore Tyler Albrecht to the second line with senior Kevin Ryan and sophomore Jeff Chase (Boys’ Latin). Toomey said the Greyhounds (10-1 overall and 6-0 in the Patriot League) could continue to experiment with different groupings in the midfield.
“Those guys are interchangeable parts depending on what [offensive coordinator David] Metzbower wants to do,” Toomey said on Wednesday. “[Freshman] Zack Sirico was out there a little bit, and you could start to see him enter the mix either at attack or up in the midfield. The good news is, we feel like we’ve got guys that are comfortable in their roles, but also guys that are able to push and earn minutes on game day. We’re trying to reward them with minutes here and there. Anytime you can try to become a deeper team, now is the time you want to become a deeper team.”
Toomey might have felt a need to address Nikko Pontrello after the junior attackman was shut out for the first time in 2014 by Midshipmen senior defenseman Nik Mullen. But Toomey said he has a lot of trust in Pontrello to rebound beginning with Saturday’s game against Boston University at Ridley Athletic Complex.
“I wouldn’t grade him out in a negative way on Saturday,” Toomey said. “He still is dodging and opening up other guys. When you have to account for Nikko by putting one of your top two defenders on him, it’s going to give other guys opportunities like [senior attackman] Brian Schultz canning that last shot. … I think the biggest challenge for us talking to Nikko and Justin was that out of our 11 turnovers, eight of those were in their sticks. We need to make sure that we firm up and take care of the ball. We’re not used to looking at a stat line of four turnovers each. That’s something Coach Metzbower has talked to them about, just making those decisions, picking your spots, but being who you’ve been. We’re willing to live with turnovers if they’re aggressive. We just can’t have the stickwork turnovers.”