Review & preview: Loyola
Here’s the third installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and a look into the future. Next Monday, we’ll take a look at the teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament. Today, we take a spin with Loyola.
The good: The Greyhounds thrived on a strong attack powered by senior Shane Koppens (22 goals and 19 assists) and juniors Cooper MacDonnell (30, 8) and Collin Finnerty (24, 13). MacDonnell was his usual self as the unit’s finisher, but Koppens and Finnerty were pleasant surprises with their balance. "We certainly needed every point from our attack because that’s going to be our challenge next year, looking at our middies and wondering where our production is coming from," coach Charley Toomey said. ... Despite graduating Tim McDermott, who won 58.6 percent of his faceoffs last spring, junior John Schiavone was even better, winning 58.7 percent of his faceoffs to rank fifth in the country. "I really have got to give credit to our faceoff coach Steve Vaikness," Toomey said. "He mentors these guys and really gives them the tools to succeed at the highest level." ... Senior long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci (91 groundballs) was his usual ball-hawking self, but he also led the nation in caused turnovers with 51. The Greyhounds’ defense got even better with the development of junior Steve Layne, who became the team’s top shutdown defenseman.
The bad: As potent as Loyola’s attack was, the midfield struggled to be a consistent force that could alleviate some of the pressure on the attack. Seniors Jimmy Daly (10, 3) and Jake Willcox (12, 0), sophomores Eric Lusby (11, 1) and Chris Basler (2, 10) and freshman Mike Sawyer (9, 4) took turns producing, but the Greyhounds could have used steadier play. "We did wish we had more points coming from the midfield, but we were pretty happy with them starting our offense and our attack finishing," Toomey said. "But that’s certainly going to be a challenge for us over the next couple months, getting a little more production out of our midfield." ... Sophomore goalkeeper Jake Hagelin’s numbers this season (7.93 goals-against average and .562 save percentage) aren’t terribly different from last year’s statistics (8.1 and .584). But Hagelin appeared at times to play unevenly and sometimes surrendered goals that he would have stopped last season. That’s why senior Alex Peaty played in five games and started twice. ... The Greyhounds missed the NCAA tournament due to the lack of a marquee victory, which they might have had if they had closed out a four-goal lead on Syracuse or scored in overtime against Johns Hopkins. The inability to come up with the game-winner in those two contests haunted Loyola.
Personnel changes: The Greyhounds bid farewell to Koppens, Daly and Willcox. Langan might move into Koppens’ position, but he might get some competition from a pair of incoming freshman in Patrick Fanshaw, an Under Armour All-American from Calvert Hall, or Will Fredericks, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound attackman from San Francisco. Basler could replace Daly, but the team also welcomes a rookie group that includes 6-4, 205-pound Phil Dobson of New Milford, Conn., 6-2, 185-pound Davis Butts of Walpole, Mass., and Josh Hawkins of Deerfield, Mass. ... The defense takes a hit with the losses of Ricci and close defensemen Eddie Graham and Eric Kohl. But the unit will welcome back Layne, junior Kyle Cottrell, junior Steve Dircks, who missed the majority of the season due to a knee injury, and Peaty, who earned a medical redshirt for missing the 2008 season. Defenseman T.J. Harris from DeMatha might contribute as a freshman.
Outlook for 2010: Pretty decent. Loyola remains in a reconstituted Eastern College Athletic Conference that will replace Georgetown, Massachusetts, Penn State, St. John’s and Rutgers with Ohio State, Denver, Air Force, Quinnipiac and Bellarmine from the Great Western Lacrosse League. The Greyhounds should have a hand in determining the league champion as long as their revamped defense can overcome the graduation of Ricci, Graham and Kohl. And Loyola needs improved play from its midfield and goalies.