As Loyola College coach Charley Toomey was walking off the field after the Greyhounds routed Fairfield, 19-2, at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field, he was answering the question that went through a lot of minds yesterday.
How can Loyola look so bad one week losing to Rutgers, 17-7, then look so great in crushing Fairfield? The erratic play has left Toomey scratching his head, but he has only one answer.
"As I was walking off the field, I said, 'We're not 10 or 15 goals better than Fairfield, and I know Rutgers isn't 10 goals better than us,' " Toomey said. "You've got to show up and play every day."
The Greyhounds (6-4, 4-2 Eastern College Athletic Conference) were nearly perfect yesterday. They outshot the Stags 42-24, controlled 16 of 24 faceoffs and had a 41-24 advantage in ground balls. They also were 5-for-5 on extra-man opportunities.
The Greyhounds entered the game with the perfect motivation because last year Fairfield beat them late in the season to knock them out of postseason contention.
"We felt like Fairfield took something from us last year," Toomey said. "They [the players] knew. I don't want to say paybacks, but we defend the home turf pretty well right now."
Eleven players scored for Loyola, which was led in scoring by four goals from senior midfielder Greg Leonard and three from senior attackman Dan Bauers. Loyola took control early, scoring five first-quarter goals, including three in extra-man situations.
Fairfield (5-5, 1-4) had apparently taken a 1-0 lead with 8:12 left in the first quarter on a goal by attackman Travis Nelson, but the goal was wiped out when Nelson was given an unreleasable three-minute penalty for an illegal stick.
Greyhounds junior attackman Shane Koppens and Leonard scored during the penalty, and Bauers scored during another man-up situation with 12.1 seconds left to close out the scoring in the quarter.
Last week the Greyhounds put in extra time on their defense, and it may have paid off on the offensive end as well yesterday.
"I really thought this week we went back to work defensively and put in a hard week of work," Toomey said. "We tried to get back to who we've been, and that's to sit down and play the ball, be aggressive and organized behind it. I thought it showed today on the defensive end, but I thought it made the game easier on our offense. We were able to move the ball easier today than we did in our practices. They got the ball hot and they got some great looks at the goal."
Fairfield 0 1 1 0 -- 2
Loyola 5 5 3 6 -- 19
Goals: F--Bocklet, Finnerty. L--Leonard 4, Bauers 3, Willcox 2, MacDonnell 2, Crimmins 2, Koppens, Kennedy, Richards, Ebsary, Landry, Ricci. Assists: F--None. L--Koppens, Leonard, Bauers, Coffman, Daly, Ebsary, Kennedy, Rabidou, Richards, Spack, Willcox. Saves: F--Kruger 4, Dudley 8. L--Peaty 10, Locke 1.