[UPDATE: A quote was attributed to the wrong person in an earlier version. The Sun regrets the error.]
Reigning national champion Loyola will meet Towson Wednesday night and No. 3 Maryland Saturday without Josh Hawkins for at least one game.
The senior short-stick defensive midfielder, who was named a preseason All American, did not play in the No. 1 Greyhounds’ 9-8 win against Delaware last Saturday. Coach Charley Toomey said he doesn’t anticipate that Hawkins will play Wednesday and that his status for Saturday’s contest is uncertain.
“It’s disciplinary,” Hawkins Toomey said Monday morning. “He broke our code of conduct. So we’re working through some things.”
Hawkins recorded six goals and two assists last season, including a goal in the team’s 7-5 win against Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament semifinals. He also posted 63 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
Hawkins, who was expected to improve those numbers courtesy of new rules in place to help accelerate pace of play, was replaced by junior Kyle Duffy and freshman Joe Baker against the Blue Hens.
A back injury held out Hawkins for the first four contests last year. So Loyola isn’t unaccustomed to playing without him.
“We miss his athleticism between the lines,” Toomey said of Hawkins. “He’s – in my opinion – one of the best short sticks in the country. I will give Kyle Duffy and Joe Baker a lot of credit. We have played without Josh, and we’ve won big games without Josh. It gives me the comfort that when he is on the sideline, this team knows how to win and prepares to get a win.”
Similarly, Toomey isn’t sounding the panic alarm over the team’s one-goal win against Delaware. Only a goal by senior midfielder Chris Layne with 4.4 seconds left helped the Greyhounds avoid a loss in their season opener, but Toomey said people expecting this year’s squad to pick up where last season’s team left off might be misguided.
“I’ve said to anybody that will listen that this is a new team, and we have to find ways to win,” he said. “We have to find ourselves. We’re not a team that took the field in May. We’re a team that took the field in February, and we need to learn how to practice hard, how to prepare for each opponent. Again, it’s a journey and the most important thing that I can say about Saturday is we did what we were supposed to do. We went to Newark and got the win.”