Loyola Maryland announced Thursday that it will play at Maryland next season in a rematch of the 2012 national title game, giving the Greyhounds' schedule a needed boost in the absence of perennial rival Johns Hopkins.
The Greyhounds and Terps will meet on Wednesday, April 8 at Byrd Stadium in College Park, with the game time to be announced later.
"In a year that we are scrimmaging Johns Hopkins and not playing them during the regular season, it was important to us to add a strong RPI and strength-of-schedule nonconference game," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said via email. "It is a game that makes sense for both universities, and we are excited about the possibility of adding it to the schedule permanently going forward."
It will be the third meeting in four seasons for the teams, which played for the 2012 championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Loyola won, 9-3, for its first Division I national title in any sport. Even though the schools are less than 40 miles apart, that was the programs' first meeting since an NCAA semifinal at Rutgers in 1998 that the Terps won, 19-8. Maryland leads the all-time series, 20-2.
In 2013, Maryland visited Ridley Athletic Complex for a February game, and the Terps won, 12-10. The contest was just the fourth between the teams since Loyola moved from Division II to Division I in 1982, and even that needed help -- in the form of Maryland's feud with Georgetown over scheduling -- to happen.
Last month, Loyola and Johns Hopkins announced that they have put their rivalry on hold for 2015 because of scheduling complications caused by the Blue Jays' move to the Big Ten for next season. The Greyhounds and Jays have played every season since 1993.
The loss of such a high-profile game hurt both teams' strength of schedule rating, which is one factor used to calculate Rating Percentage Index (RPI). RPI is taken into account when the selection committee awards the 10 at-large berths for the NCAA tournament.
Last season, Loyola's strength of schedule was ranked just 24th in the nation, according to LaxPower. By comparison, Johns Hopkins was No. 5 and Maryland was No. 7. The Greyhounds' low rank had a lot to do with the fact that they were playing their first season in the Patriot League, which they swept 8-0 en route to the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. In 2013, the Greyhounds were 14th in SOS, and in their national title season they were 18th -- at that point their lowest ranking since at least 2005, according to LaxPower.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun