Loyola Maryland has endured setbacks in the past. But Saturday's 15-6 loss against No. 11 Duke at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore was the program's most lopsided outcome since March 8, 2008, when that squad also fell to the Blue Devils, 21-8.
Coach Charley Toomey acknowledged that how the Greyhounds (4-2) – who dropped from No. 8 to No. 13 in the latest Cascade/Maverik media poll – played Saturday was troubling.
"We talked about that as a staff," he said Thursday morning. "It's a little bit embarrassing, but I think all we can do is try to learn from it. It's not that this program hasn't been there before. It's about how you respond to it. I think the guys have responded to it the right way. We've got a proud tradition here of winning, and I think the biggest thing we need to figure out is when things aren't going our way, how to stay focused and keep your hands on the wheel and get through that storm. That's what the message has been to the guys."
Toomey said the plan this week before Saturday's visit to face Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis at 1 p.m. has been hitting the rewind button and taking an internal review of what the team has done and hasn't done.
"I think what you do is you focus on yourself," he said. "Sometimes I believe as coaches we start to think not that we've got the recipe, but that things are in order as we get into a routine and focus on your opponent. Certainly that has been the case through Duke week, and what we did was we took a step backward and made it more about Loyola and have tried to fix things that reared their heads on Saturday. We've got to take a step forward. This is a week when Loyola needs to improve, Loyola needs to look in the mirror, and Loyola needs to put its best foot forward on Saturday. With all of our respect to the Naval Academy and what they're going to try to do, we're going to have a game plan, but we've got to firm up fundamentally things we're trying to accomplish offensively, defensively and between the lines."
Saturday's game is significant as Loyola shares an identical 2-0 Patriot League record with No. 16 Boston University and Army in the race for the regular-season championship and the top seed in the conference tournament. But that is far from the primary thing on Toomey's mind.
"There's a lot of lacrosse left," he said. "I'm not looking at our team and saying, 'This is a must-win situation.' What we need to do is stay the course, get better week to week, and hopefully, you put yourself in position for the Patriot League tournament, and the team that's playing the best in May is probably the team that advances and gets the AQ. What we've done is, we've won a few games, but we also need to fix a few things right now, and that's OK."