No. 17 Loyola appeared to have found a successor to goalkeeper Jake Hagelin in junior Michael Bonitatibus, who started the team’s first three contests. But since taking over after halftime of Saturday’s 11-8 victory over Bellarmine, sophomore Jack Runkel has played the last six quarters in the cage.
Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said he isn’t sure which goalie will start when No. 8 Duke visits Ridley Athletic Complex Saturday.
“It’s a situation where we’re just asking them to compete on a daily basis,” Toomey said Thursday afternoon. “We’re going to go out today, and we’re going to warm them up today in practice, and we’re going to communicate tomorrow as to who our guy is. I think that it’s something where we’re just waiting for somebody to step up and take the reins. Quite honestly, I thought it would’ve happened by now, and I seem to be backing off my situation of playing halves. We’re trying to figure out who that guy is, and that’s probably the last piece of the puzzle for us on this team.”
Runkel replaced Bonitatibus for the second half against the Knights, who scored four goals against Bonitatibus to enjoy a two-goal lead at halftime. Runkel allowed four goals in the second half and was then selected to start in an eventual 15-8 thumping of Michigan on Wednesday night.
“I thought it was appropriate that we gave him an opportunity 48 hours later to give him a shot to start and prepare for a game,” Toomey said of Runkel. “We don’t want to play head games with these guys. We’re challenging them. We’re trying to motivate them to step their games up.”
Toomey also said that junior short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins is slated to return to Thursday’s practice for limited contact for the first time this season. Hawkins has been dealing with a nagging back injury, but Toomey said Hawkins could be available against the Blue Devils.
“I’m probably more inclined to throw him in there if I’m allowed to because we know what we’ve got,” Toomey said. “We’ve seen him play, and we know that he can help our team. Our kids are excited to see Josh Hawkins run out there on the field with a uniform on again. So I feel like as long as he’s able to do it and he’s not going to put himself at risk, then he’ll have that opportunity as soon as we feel comfortable with it.”