This week's winter storm has yet to hit the Baltimore area, but it has already affected No. 14 Loyola’s game at No. 12 Penn State on Saturday.
The host Nittany Lions (1-0) announced Wednesday morning that the game would be played inside Holuba Hall. The 118,000-square foot facility is the primary indoor venue for the football team, but it also is used by the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams when inclement weather hits.
The move indoors presents the Greyhounds (0-1) and coach Charley Toomey with a number of challenges.
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“The sightlines are a little different on the field,” Toomey said. "You’re used to an outside environment, and now you’re looking at walls. For the goalies, they have a white net that hangs down on the sideline, and you have to really focus in on the ball. They’ve got football lines. So it’s a real challenge in that environment, but our kids have been up there and played up there and have had success up there. So I don’t worry about my kids going in and trying to win a game for 60 minutes.”
Toomey said the plan is for the team to travel to Penn State on Friday and conduct a walkthrough in Holuba Hall. But that will be the extent of the team’s acclimation to playing indoors.
“We get to give them two hours of an adjustment,” he said. “We’re going to be up there on Friday and practice inside. It’s a lacrosse game, it’s the same-size field. We’re going to go in and play. We’ve just got to deal with some things on Friday -- warming up the goalies in both goals, getting them used to that environment, not having a locker room at halftime. There’s just different things. Maybe later it’s actually going to be good for us because it’s a little bit of a change, and we’ll see how our young guys handle this type of situation.”
With forecasts projecting as much as a foot of snow in some areas of Pennsylvania and New York, Toomey said he fully understands the reasoning behind moving the game inside. And he said the onus will be on the coaches to get the players ready for the unfamiliar surroundings.
“It’s just something that’s new,” he said. “We practice outside every day, and we’re excited about getting this game on our schedule. For our guys, it’s probably going to be something that they’re excited to do. As a lacrosse player, you don’t have that opportunity very often to play an indoor game. As coaches, we think about other things, but the kids just want to go out and play and I’m sure that the fact that they can play in 60-degree weather, they’re going to be excited about that.”