After opening the past two seasons against Delaware, Loyola will begin the 2014 campaign by visiting Virginia, according to coach Charley Toomey.
“We get thrown to the wolves pretty quickly,” Toomey said, adding that the two schools agreed to play against each other through 2017. “… We just added Virginia to our schedule. We’re excited about that. It’s going to be a very, very early February day, Feb. 5. That’s going to be an awful cold one, but it’s one that we needed. Losing Maryland off our schedule, we needed a strong strength of schedule and RPI game, and I feel like Virginia fills that void very well for us.”
Losing the Terps from the schedule is a blow for fans of both programs and fans in the state in general, but Toomey said he understood that Maryland and coach John Tillman needed dates to accommodate the addition of Notre Dame and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“We all have these challenges,” Toomey said, pointing out that the Greyhounds will have to do some juggling of their own as they leave the Eastern College Athletic Conference for the Patriot League for the 2014 season. “With Syracuse and Notre Dame coming to the ACC, he’s got to look at his open dates and figure out what’s best for his program, and this year, it didn’t work that Loyola was going to be on the schedule. We’re both committed to try to play the game, but where they couldn’t play the game, Virginia could. We felt the importance of playing that type of game.”
Toomey said the university is close to finalizing a regular-season date with Penn State. The teams will likely meet in an event in Jacksonville in the second weekend of February.
Loyola has yet to retain any rivalries with its former competitors in the ECAC, but Toomey said he would be willing to schedule Denver if the opportunity arises. Toomey said the team will open play in the Patriot League on Feb. 22 at Holy Cross, meet UMBC in a midweek game, and then travel to tangle with Lehigh on March 1.
“We’ve got a tough schedule,” Toomey acknowledged. “We’re excited about it. There are new challenges, but I think it’s a new schedule that the kids are going to be excited about.”