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End to 2014 season still torments Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse coach Charley Toomey

Loyola Maryland won 15 consecutive games last season, setting a program record for most victories in a row. It made the NCAA tournament for the third time in as many years, earning the No. 3 overall seed.

But the season's end continues to haunt coach Charley Toomey.

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In their opening-round game, the Greyhounds lost, 13-6, to Albany. The Great Danes moved on to a quarterfinal meeting with No. 6 seed Notre Dame, while Loyola went home.

For Toomey, the dispiriting loss especially stung because it ended the college careers of a senior class that included Tewaaraton Award finalist and defenseman Joe Fletcher, attackmen Justin Ward (Old Mill) and Brian Schultz, midfielders Matt Sawyer and Kevin Ryan, short-stick defensive midfielders Pat Laconi and Kyle Duffy and goalkeeper Jack Runkel.

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"The toughest thing for me was, you wanted more for that group of kids," Toomey said. "That was a very hardworking group of kids, and I don't know that I'll ever get over that loss. I'll be very truthful. You wanted more and you wanted to be with those kids, and you felt like they deserved to take another step, but we didn't give them that opportunity. That will always kind of sit with me as the one loss that I struggle with. That being said, that kind of cheapens it for everybody else and anything else that we're trying to do. This team is creating its own identity, and I'd like to believe that at the end of the year, this [2015 team] is a terrific practice team, a team that comes out every day. That's what you want. While that was tough last year, I'm really enjoying this youth that we've got out here and hoping that we can be a very similar team to last year's team."

Of the Greyhounds' 45 players on roster, 31 return from last season. But Toomey said he has felt more of a need to talk about the season opener against Virginia on Feb. 7 than about the playoff loss.

"When you've got so many kids and new faces in the program, they probably watched it on ESPN, but they weren't part of the heartbreak in the locker room," he said. "I'll let the captains handle that. That's long gone. It's truly about Virginia. That's what our focus has been since day one. It's about getting better so that we're prepared to play Virginia."


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