The presence of two new faces in No. 8 Loyola Maryland's starting close defense had little impact in the unit's dominant play in Saturday's 11-4 victory at No. 13 Virginia.
Redshirt senior David Manning, who sat out last spring due to a torn meniscus in his knee, and sophomore Foster Huggins joined senior Jason Crane in limiting the Cavaliers' starting attack of senior James Pannell, junior Ryan Lukacovic and sophomore Mike D'Amario to a combined one goal on 14 shots, two assists and eight turnovers.
The trio's play – despite the absence of projected starter and junior Jack Carrigan – was one of several bright spots for coach Charley Toomey.
"Having David back on the field really settled us down," Toomey said Wednesday morning. "We were organized. I thought they did a really good job. They played hard. They played physical, and we're hoping that you're starting to see some chemistry develop. Obviously, Jack Carrigan was a guy who wasn't out there, and we anticipate him being back. With Foster and Jason and David and Jack Carrigan and I'd even add [sophomore] Ryder Harkins who got in very late, we're developing great depth defensively. So it was fun to watch. That's hopefully something that's going to get better week to week."
Manning held Pannell to zero goals on five shots and one assist, while Huggins confined D'Amario to zero goals on two attempts and one assist. Lukacovic scored one goal, but needed seven shots to do so and committed six turnovers while being shadowed primarily by Crane.
"I thought he respected his matchup," Toomey said of Crane. "I wouldn't say that any of our defensemen are classic takeaway guys, but I thought he kept Lukacovic off his body and stayed in his gloves. He played athletically. He was physical at goal line, and we knew that Lukacovic was going to be a big part of their offense – you might even say their quarterback – and we asked Jason to sit down and respect that matchup and not give him easy looks off the ball."
Carrigan, who posted 41 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers last season, is dealing with a minor injury and is a game-time decision for Saturday's home opener against No. 6 Johns Hopkins (1-0). While the Greyhounds (1-0) would love to have Carrigan back in the lineup, Toomey said his absence will help the defense.
"I think what it's done is, it's allowed us to have some depth," he said. "Whether or not it was early-season scrimmages where David Manning wasn't ready to play and Foster Huggins was out there or Ryder Harkins and Foster Huggins were out there with Jason Crane, we feel like we're much deeper defensively than we have been in years past. I'm very happy when you've got four guys you can throw out there and really try to figure out what the best matchups are and try to go to battle with those guys. We're deeper now than we have been in a long time here."