I attended a question-and-answer session involving Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, Loyola coach Charley Toomey, Towson coach Tony Seaman and UMBC coach Don Zimmerman at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore earlier today. There were some interesting tidbits from all four coaches.
Normally, news that junior attackman Steven Boyle hadn’t scored a goal would be reason to panic for Blue Jays fans. But Boyle’s performance occurred in a scrimmage against Cornell on Saturday, and his teammates picked up the slack. Nine different players scored goals against the Big Red, and Pietramala said this year’s offensive production could come from a number of sources.
"No longer are you going to look at us and say, ‘Well, we’ve got to stop those two or three guys,’" he said. "This is very much going to have to be a team-oriented group, both offensively and defensively. We’re going to share the ball more, which we did. Fifty percent of our goals were assisted, 50 were unassisted. That’s nice balance. Balanced isn’t something we’ve been. So it was nice to have different people involved. I would hope and assume that we’ll continue to do that. It would be nice to have a guy with two or three, but when you have the scoring production spread out to a couple different places, I think that’s a positive thing."
The Greyhounds are the reigning Eastern College Athletic Conference champions, but you wouldn’t know it by studying the polls. Various publications have Loyola trailing conference foe Georgetown in the rankings. This, despite the fact that the Greyhounds return eight starters from last year’s squad, while the Hoyas lost four starters in attackmen Brendan Cannon and Andrew Baird, defenseman Jerry Lambe and goalkeeper Miles Kass. But Toomey didn’t take umbrage with the slight.
"I do think that we all feel like the conference championship still goes through Georgetown right now," he said. "I do feel though that our guys are very confident taking the field. They know what to expect when they play a Georgetown team."
The Tigers are relying on youth. When Towson -- which consists of just six seniors -- meets Loyola on Saturday, freshmen Sean Maguire, Matt Lamon and Stephen Norris will see playing time as the third and fourth attackmen, and freshmen John Kenyon and Michael Landy will see significant time on defense.
"They’re going to be a big part of taking this program somewhere in the next four years," Seaman said. "Saturday afternoon will be interesting to see how that affects them, but in their first couple of scrimmages, it was just lacrosse. That’s what I like about them."
After scoring a team-high 29 goals and 43 points overall last season, Ryan Smith was limited to just one assist in the Retrievers’ 14-9 win against Delaware. But the senior attackman is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and Zimmerman said he doesn’t plan on pushing Smith.
"We spoke yesterday, and he’s still the quarterback of our team," Zimmerman said. "I said to Ryan after the game, ‘Look, this was a big game for you. Forget about points or anything like that. You’ve got a game under your belt.’ And we played on the old type of Astroturf up in Delaware, and to me, that’s as challenging a surface for a kid coming off of an ACL [injury] as any out there. So I told Ryan that I thought he did a very good job, and he’ll continue to progress as the season goes on."