Advertisement

Loyola Maryland men’s lacrosse no longer taking end-of-season bye week for granted

In the three years since 2014 that Loyola Maryland has won the Patriot League tournament crown and the automatic qualifier, the team has had an open weekend prior to participating in the NCAA postseason. Coach Charley Toomey has lobbied for the conference to move its tournament to the final weekend of the regular season, but to no avail.

On Tuesday morning, Toomey acknowledged that the Greyhounds (10-5) have immensely enjoyed the bye week.

Advertisement

"I've been a guy that has talked out of both sides of my mouth," he said. "In some ways, you want to keep the momentum going and have a game, and I've complained that we don't have a game on the nicest weekend of the year. But after having the Patriot League [automatic bid] firmed up, it's nice to sit back and watch lacrosse for a weekend and get healthy and give them the opportunity to have some shortened practices and fix ourselves on the offensive end and defensive end and start to prepare on Sunday night for our opponent. In the last two years, that's been nice. I'm not going to complain as much as I used to about it."

Perhaps the one drawback to having an open weekend is a departure from the routine when players and coaches are accustomed to playing games on Saturdays (and the occasional Sunday). So, is Toomey worried about rust?

"I would tell you that maybe two years ago, yes, and that's probably when I pushed for our tournament to move," he said. "But last year, we came out and we played well. All I can do is judge the guys in practice, and I feel like stepping away from the routine that we've been on since Jan. 17, the guys were really fired up to practice yesterday and have a good day together. Just watching the energy coming out of the locker room for a practice, I thought it was beneficial."

Loyola will find out how much the bye week helped when it travels to Columbus, Ohio, to tangle with No. 3 seed Ohio State (13-4) on Sunday at 5 p.m. Observers such as ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra said that first-round pairing in the NCAA tournament is unfair to both teams, but Toomey said such protests don't matter to the Greyhounds.

"I think [senior defenseman] Jack Carrigan said it the other night," Toomey said. "In the first round, you better be prepared to play a good team, and if you start wishing for something else, it's going to hurt you. In some ways, whoever comes out of this game is going to be prepared for the second round because they're going to be battle-tested."

Twitter: @edwardleesun

Advertisement
Advertisement