Loyola Maryland, the No. 3 seed in the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament, has the honor of opening the postseason by facing Albany on Saturday at noon at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore. And that’s a good thing for Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey.
“It drives me crazy to walk into our locker room and seeing the guys sitting on a couch and watching another game,” he said on Tuesday. “For [Great Danes coach] Scott [Marr], I’m sure that sitting in a hotel and having the guys watch another game, as a coach, that drives you nuts. So to be able to get this one in early under your belt, it definitely allows us both to be comfortable because we’re used to playing games at 1 o’clock or 12 o’clock. So we’re well within our routine.”
Because of the NCAA’s contractual obligations with ESPN, none of the eight first-round games will be played simultaneously. That means that four contests will take place on Saturday at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Four will be Sunday, at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Teams that have to wait until later in the day might feel anxious about getting to the field and diving into the most exciting portion of their seasons. For example, seventh-seeded Maryland welcomes Cornell to Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday at 5 p.m.
But Terps coach John Tillman said two night games and one late afternoon contest have helped the team prepare for waiting.
“Having played that ACC game where we had to wait until 7:30, 8 o’clock is a little bit of a good dry run for us,” Tillman said on Tuesday, referring to Maryland’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinal against Notre Dame on April 25. “We played Villanova at night as well [a 12-10 win March 14]. So having a couple of night games, that was helpful for us. … I think if you ask most coaches and players, they’d rather get up and play the game at noon or 1, but we certainly understand the importance of TV, and we’ve got to be disciplined enough to manage that and handle that and stay focused, and sometimes with young people, that’s easier said than done.”
Johns Hopkins visits eighth-seeded Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. Coach Dave Pietramala said the extra day of preparation was used to shore up travel arrangements and study more film of the Cavaliers.
“It was good that we had that Monday to get all of that stuff squared away and to begin our scouting,” he said. “So we didn’t feel rushed. And right now for us academically, having that extra day on the back end is something that you hope is helpful because you’re not going right from exams on Friday to playing on Saturday or exams on Saturday morning to playing on Saturday afternoon. We feel right now that the extra day seems to have been helpful to us.”