Sunday's edition of the paper will include an article on long-stick midfielders Ryan Fournier and Zac Davliakos and their contributions on the offensive and defensive ends for Loyola Maryland.
During interviews with the players and coach Charley Toomey, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Davliakos – who has scored three goals, picked up 11 ground balls, and caused five turnovers this spring – relayed his journey to the Greyhounds. The Stevensville resident and Severn School graduate did not get much interest from Division I programs and was set to play soccer and lacrosse at Division III Bates.
But the weekend before submitting his application to Bates, Davliakos played in a lacrosse tournament that Toomey and defensive coordinator Matt Dwan attended. The following night, Toomey sat down with Davliakos.
"He asked me to think about joining. I was like, 'I've been emailing you for two years, and I've been going to your camps,'" Davliakos recalled with a laugh. "It was a long time. But I've always wanted to come here. So getting that chance was awesome."
Confirming Davliakos' memory, Toomey said, "Sometimes you get lucky. In recruiting, you've got to get lucky, and that's kind of how it got started for Zac."
Unlike Davliakos, Fournier had a straightforward path to the Greyhounds. But the 5-9, 185-pound Ontario, Canada, native was recruited as a two-way midfielder. But after the graduation of Scott Ratliff in 2013, the coaches put a long-pole in Fournier's hands.
"It was kind of something I always wanted to try," said Fournier, who has seven goals, two assists, 47 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers. "I guess it's a pretty big switch from a handle standpoint and ground balls and stuff like that, but it was something I always wanted to do. So I took it in stride."
Toomey said Fournier made the transition look effortless.
"We made him a D-middie early on and then put a pole in his hands," Toomey said. "He's got that Canadian skill set, and he's as comfortable with the ball in his stick as he is with a short-stick. He's doing a heck of a job for us."
The long-stick midfielders have helped each other develop their games. Davliakos is learning from Fournier how to be more of a threat on offense, while Fournier is picking up from Davliakos the finer points of stick-checking.
"Ryan obviously brings more of a Canadian flair to his game with some of the dodging," Toomey said. "What you see is what you get from Zac. He's more of a meat-and-potatoes guy, but he's developing that dodging ability. But I see more similarities in the sense that they prepare the right way. They're both great teammates. They've got great camaraderie. Right now, it might be 60-40 in terms of Ryan's reps to Zac's, but they're encouraging of each other."