No. 3 Maryland's 11-10 nip-and-tuck victory over No. 19 Loyola Maryland on Wednesday night at Byrd Stadium was a visual and powerful reminder that the two sides should be meeting on an annual basis. For their parts, Terps coach John Tillman and Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey are trying to make that a reality.
Both coaches said they have engaged in discussions to clash again in 2016, but no date has yet been confirmed. Toomey said he is waiting to find out the Patriot League portion of Loyola's schedule before committing to Maryland, but he did say that the next game would be another midweek affair.
"We agree that it's a game that we'd like to play," Toomey said. "It's a game that we both want to continue to play, and in a year when we don't have Johns Hopkins on the schedule, it's important that we got another local rivalry on the schedule. Hopefully next year, we've got three local rivalries with Towson also on the schedule."
With Wednesday's outcome, the last two games and three of the last five between the Greyhounds and Terps have been decided by two goals or less. Maryland won the last regular-season meeting, a 12-10 affair on Feb. 23, 2013.
Tillman said the conversations between he and Toomey have gone well.
"I think that is something that Charley and I would both like to do," he said. "I think it's a great game for both schools. It's a local rivalry. I know the last time when we went up there in 2013, it was a rainy day, but there was a big crowd there. Even with the weather being bad in the early season, it was a great crowd. They have awesome fans. They were really into it, really vocal, and it was a tough place to play for sure. They've done so well that you know it's a quality game, and those are the games you need to have on your schedule."
Circling back to "Three Things to Watch" …
1) Offense vs. defense. Loyola tied Yale for the most goals scored against the Terps this season, but the Greyhounds couldn't get an 11th goal that would have extended the contest into overtime. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Kyle Bernlohr, who entered the game leading Division I in goals-against average (4.49) and save percentage (.694), wasn't pleased with his first-half performance, but cemented the victory for Maryland with four saves in the fourth quarter. Bernlohr impressed Toomey.
"He's rock solid in the goal," Toomey said. "He's their anchor. They don't give him a lot of shots that he's going to see that are high-angled shots. They do a great job of forcing those low-angled shots, but then he gobbles them up. He's as good as what we've seen to date. A couple of those saves were head-scratchers on our sideline, but that's what we've seen on film from Kyle Bernlohr."
2) Transition defense vs. transition offense. After the Greyhounds got four goals from three long-poles and one short-stick in Saturday's 17-7 rout of Navy, they had hoped to continue to get gains from their transition offense. But the Terps placed a heavy emphasis on getting back on defense quickly, and Tillman credited the starting midfield of seniors Joe LoCascio and Bryan Cole and junior Henry West for racing back to help and then picking the right spots to run off the field and allow the defensive midfield to get into play.
"It's a lot harder than you think because you've got to get back to take away the transition, then they're attacking you and you have to stop that, and then all of a sudden, the sub games begin," Tillman said. "You have three phases to defend, and all it takes is one botched pick or a guy not paying attention, and that team can create leverage."
3) Faceoff vs. faceoff. With senior Charlie Raffa sidelined by an injury in his right shoulder/upper arm area, Maryland lost 15 of 24 faceoffs. But the Terps weathered the storm on defense, often enough to give the offense opportunities. And after LoCascio scored his second goal of the game with 7 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter, Loyola senior Brendan Donovan won the ensuing faceoff, but he flipped the ball backward to Maryland freshman Andrew Walsh and 35 seconds later, sophomore attackman Matt Rambo scored to give the team a 9-7 lead.
"We've been pretty fortunate in a lot of games, and our kids are well aware of that," Tillman said. "There are times when we get some extra possessions, and it certainly helps, and when the tables are turned, it just manes that you've got to be that much smarter because every mistake is a little more magnified. When you're 65 to 35 [in faceoff percentage], you can make a mistake knowing that a lot of times, if Charlie's on, he can almost make up for it. You just have to be pretty poised and mature with what you're doing and realize that we may not get as many touches as normal and we've got to maximize them."