As Loyola prepares to move from the Eastern College Athletic Conference to the Patriot League for the 2014 season, the school is working behind the scenes to retain one rivalry from the ECAC.
The Greyhounds are eager to keep Denver on their schedule, according to Loyola coach Charley Toomey. The school won’t get a framework for its 2014 schedule for a few more weeks, but Toomey said he will do what he can to preserve a series with the Pioneers that saw the Greyhounds end Denver’s two-year reign in the league last season en route to the university’s first Division I national championship of any kind.
“I’d love to keep Denver on our schedule, and if there’s any way to figure out how to keep Denver on the schedule, that’d be the one game I’d like to bring over from the ECAC,” Toomey said.
Toomey, who said he’s also working on maintaining rivalries with Towson, UMBC and Georgetown, said he was permitted by the Patriot League to retain one nonconference opponent for 2014, and he chose Duke.
In confirming a report by The Washington Times that Maryland will visit Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday, Feb. 23, Toomey said plans are under way to fill future dates with another Atlantic Coast Conference opponent if the Terps decline to make a long-term commitment with Loyola.
Toomey said he has been talking with North Carolina about replacing Maryland if the Terps’ schedule becomes too crowded with the addition of Syracuse (in 2014) and Notre Dame (to be determined).
“We’re working something out with UNC,” he said. “In 2014, where Maryland has said that they can’t stick to that date, UNC and Loyola have talked about that being a possible game.”
Still, Toomey said, he would prefer to keep the Terps as a regular opponent.
“I think it’s a game that needs to be played,” he said. “In the latter part of the season, both teams are in their conference play, and it becomes more difficult to play a midweek game at that time. So I think it’s natural for all of us to play these out-of-conference games in February and early March. But I think it’s so important that it would be a game that we’d be very interesting in playing at any time in the year.”