With the graduation of Tewaaraton Award finalist and defenseman Joe Fletcher, a pair of second-team All-Americans in short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi and goalkeeper Jack Runkel and short-stick defensive midfielder Kyle Duffy, Loyola Maryland needed a defensive leader.
The No. 8 Greyhounds have found that leader in senior Pat Frazier. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman is the only returning starter from last season and, with fellow senior defenseman David Manning out until at least the midseason because of torn meniscus in his knee, Frazier’s value as the defense’s anchor is more pronounced than ever.
“He’s the guy we need him to be,” coach Charley Toomey said Monday afternoon. “He’s our defensive leader. He’s a very guy similar to [Fletcher] in that he’s allowing the guys around him to grow up, and he’s really taken the brunt of the defense. He’s got [sophomore] Jack Carrigan and [junior] Jason Crane, two new guys, next to him. And as impressive as Pat has been, he’s allowed those other guys to kind of be impressive, too. It’s because of his leadership, it’s because of the chemistry that those guys are developing down there. We’re real proud of Pat.”
Frazier’s skills are evident on the field. After sophomore attackman Ryan Lukacovic hd two goals and two assists against Frazier in the Greyhounds’ 13-12 loss to No. 5 Virginia on Feb. 7, he limited sophomore attackman Matt Sutton to a single goal in Saturday’s 8-6 win over No. 18 Penn State.
Frazier, who had six ground balls and three caused turnovers Saturday, was named the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Week.
But it wasn’t all good news for Loyola, which allowed the Nittany Lions to trim a five-goal deficit to one with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter before sophomore Romar Dennis secured the victory with a goal with 96 seconds remaining. Toomey said the defensive players, led by Frazier, understood how close the team was to falling to 0-2.
“We watched the film and felt like we had a plan in place, but we just didn’t execute the plan,” Toomey said. “I think what Pat’s message to the guys on the field was, ‘Take that deep breath. We could’ve executed better and really given our goalie a chance to see the ball from a different area.’ If there’s any pressure, I think Pat feels a responsibility to make sure that the guys are prepared every game and that the cohesion continues to develop.”