Top-ranked Loyola plans to open the season on Saturday against Delaware with a defenseman making his first career start.
Senior T.J. Harris has played in seven contests in his first three years, but he will join junior Joe Fletcher and senior Reid Acton on close defense.
“He’s looked good in the scrimmages,” coach Charley Toomey said of Harris. “We’ll see if he’s prepared to be a 60-minute defenseman or if we have to use [sophomore] Pat Frazier off the bench. T.J.’s a senior, and he certainly looked good through the fall and through the scrimmages. So we’re excited to watch him out there on game day.”
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Frazier is listed as a long-stick midfielder, but Toomey seemed to acknowledged that expecting 60 minutes out of a first-time starter might be asking for too much.
“It’s tough to be a 60-minute guy whether it’s at attack or defense,” Toomey said. “We might give T.,J. a break every once in a while. But it’s a meaningful game, and we’ll have film to watch and evaluate post-Saturday.”
The senior-laden first midfield of Davis Butts, Sean O’Sullivan and Chris Layne will remain intact, but the identity of the second unit is still up in the air between seniors Phil Dobson and Patrick Fanshaw (Calvert Hall), junior Kevin Ryan and fifth-year senior Harry Kutner, a transfer from St. John’s.
“It’s a little bit of a rotation on that second-line midfield,” Toomey said. “Those guys have all looked good up there. It could be a four-man unit until we figure that one out.”