This may rank as one of those "Duh" moments, but Loyola coach Charley Toomey confirmed Wednesday morning that sophomore Jack Runkel would start when Eastern College Athletic Conference rival Air Force visits Ridley Athletic Complex Saturday.
But Toomey wouldn’t go so far as to name Runkel, who made a career-high 12 saves in the No. 8 Greyhounds’ 13-8 victory over No. 14 Duke last Saturday, the starter over junior Michael Bonitatibus for the remainder of the season.
“We’re talking to the guys about weekly competition, and I think the way we played certainly warrants giving Jack the start this weekend,” Toomey said. “But by no means have we said you’re our starter going forward. I like the competition, and I think the two guys work very well together. They’ve now played two-and-a-half games each, and that’s what we’re going to continue to push, that weekly competition to see who starts. But obviously, Jack made it very easy for us this weekend with his play last weekend.”
Toomey was similarly impressed by Josh Hawkins, who corralled a team-high five groundballs in his first game of the season after missing the first four contests. But Toomey said the junior short-stick defensive midfielder is still working his way back into shape and the team’s defensive schemes.
“Josh would be the first one to tell you that he’s going to be a better player two weeks from now,” Toomey said. “Josh was out there when we gave up some goals. It’s about getting Josh back to game speed. We know that when the ball is on the ground, Josh is truly a hawk, and he’ll go after that ball and nine times out of 10, he’s got a good chance to get it. What we need Josh to do is become a better six-on-six defender, and that’s where we’ve challenged him to watch some tape and ask him to step up his role. The short-stick unit we have here now is playing very well as a group. Certainly [sophomore] Kyle Duffy stepped in and [sophomore] Matt Sawyer stepped in and really have turned the coaches’ heads. So we have four guys that we’re very comfortable with. Josh just needs to settle down in six-on-six situations because we know what we have between the lines and we know what we have on the wings and faceoffs. We just need him to improve in some of those settled sets.”