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Loyola men not satisfied with just clinching spot in Patriot League tournament

Saturday's 14-5 rout of Lehigh sealed a berth in the upcoming Patriot League tournament for No. 19 Loyola Maryland, which at 7-4 overall and 5-1 in the conference trails only No. 6 Army (10-1, 6-0) in the standings.

That's all well and good, but coach Charley Toomey said the Greyhounds won't be truly satisfied unless they can overtake the Black Knights for the top seed. That would give Loyola the right to host the league tournament semifinals and final on April 28 and 30.

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"We're fighting to be at home," he said Wednesday morning. "The bigger picture is to continue to practice hard and be the team we've been the last couple weeks, and I think that's been a pretty good team. We want to hopefully be playing our best lacrosse down the stretch. When you relax about something, I feel like you're ready to give one up on the next opportunity. This team's pretty focused. They know what they need to do. They're playing to hopefully host the Patriot League [tournament] at home, and that means that we've got to get two wins on the road, and the road hasn't been good to Loyola this year. So that's really been the focus this week."

As Toomey pointed out, Loyola is 5-1 at home, but only 2-3 away this spring. The team's three losses on the road are already its most since the 2015 squad went 3-3, and the regular season will end with away games against Boston University (9-3, 3-3) on Saturday and Army on April 21.

Even if the Greyhounds were to capture the Patriot League tournament crown and advance to the NCAA postseason, their low RPI and lack of quality wins suggest they will have to go on the road in the playoffs, which is not lost on Toomey.

"If we're going to make any kind of run this year, we're resigned to the idea that we're going to have to be a road team," he said. "Right now, it's a great opportunity for us to play two of the probably most competitive teams in our own conference on the road, and we'll know exactly where we stand in the next two weeks after matching up with BU and matching up with Army. They create great challenges for us. Right now, the mindset is, 'Let's just get ready to go out on the road.' We talked about being 5-1 at home, but only 2-3 on the road, and we need to do something different. Whether or not it's our preparation or whether or not it's our week of practice prior to the game, we need to be a different team and have a different level of focus and intensity when we take the field up in Boston on Saturday."

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