After three years of relying on Jack Runkel in the net, the Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse team has had to search for a new starter. And that goalkeeper is Pat McEnerney.
Coach Charley Toomey announced Wednesday afternoon that the senior is poised to start in Saturday's season opener. The Greyhounds, ranked No. 7 in the most recent Cascade/Maverik media poll, will play host to No. 9 Virginia at Ridley Athletic Complex at 1 p.m.
While acknowledging that freshman Grant Limone had played well in the preseason, Toomey said McEnerney's experience and maturity gave him an edge.
"I'd like to go in there with some kids that have played Division I games," Toomey said, adding that McEnerney returned to practice earlier in the day after missing a couple days due to illness. "Rather than throwing a freshman to the wolves, I'd rather throw an upperclassman in there and give him his opportunity, and Pat deserves that. That's certainly my thought process, but if all of a sudden he can't go, then Grant is ready to go."
Toomey also said junior Jason Crane and sophomore Jack Carrigan are close to earning starting roles as close defensemen. Crane, a converted long-stick midfielder who hails from Pasadena and graduated from Chesapeake-AA, and Carrigan will join senior Pat Frazier.
And the team will go with a three-man rotation of senior Mike Kutzer, freshman Jared Mintzlaff and sophomore Dan Simonetti at short-stick defensive midfielder.
The defense, which ranked fourth in Division I last spring after allowing an average of 7.5 goals, will match up against a Cavaliers offense that returns two starting attackmen and two starting midfielders from a unit that ranked eighth in scoring at 12.6 goals per game.
"They've got two of their three attackmen back with [senior Owen] Van Arsdale and [junior James] Pannell," Toomey said. "They have a real consistency there with kids that have played a lot of minutes. And then in their first midfield, you still have to face [senior] Ryan Tucker, [junior] Greg Coholan. We've just got to make sure that every time down, we're digging in as best we can to get a stop and give our goalie a chance to see the ball and get some confidence early in the game."