No one knows with any certainty whether not playing last weekend benefits No. 7 seed Loyola Maryland until everyone sees what develops in the program's NCAA tournament first-round game against Duke on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore.
But freshman attackman Pat Spencer said the week off has not had a negative impact on the Greyhounds (12-3) -- yet.
"I think it definitely benefited us," the Davidsonville resident and Boys' Latin graduate said Wednesday afternoon. "We have a lot of guys that were banged up because of injuries and little stuff, and I think taking the week off and preparing for a good team like Duke gave us a lot of time to strategize. We got a lot of our stickwork caught up, which gave us this week to prepare for Duke. So I think it really benefited us."
Loyola players have spent this week wrapping up final exams, and coach Charley Toomey said they were able to spend more time last week on their academics. But he conceded that there's a part of him that hated to pump the brakes on momentum gained from their eight-game winning streak.
"When you have momentum, you kind of like to stay with that momentum," Toomey said. "I like where our team is at the moment. I think they're practicing the right way, but it would have been nice in my opinion to keep that mojo going. But I'm excited that we're healthy, I'm excited that our guys have been able to get the extra treatments and we've been able to back off their legs a little bit, and they've been able to focus on the academics."
By the time the Greyhounds (12-3) take the field against the Blue Devils (11-7), 13 days will have passed since the team walloped Army, 14-6, in the Patriot League tournament final on May 1. Spencer, who has tied the program's Division I record for points in a season with 71 this spring, said he and his teammates are ready to play.
"We're definitely antsy to play," he said. "With this being the last week of finals, the fact that we only have lacrosse to focus on now really gets us going. And the fact that it's a playoff game really makes it exciting for us. So we're excited to go out there and get after it."