College Lacrosse Offseason Report: Loyola Greyhounds
Fresh off another Patriot League crown which saw Loyola make another NCAA Tournament, the goal once again has to move past a conference championship, and look to further its spring into playing during another Labor Day weekend this coming spring, after losing to eventual champion Yale last year in the quarterfinals.
Even after graduating a handful of offensive talent in 2017, the unit impressed once again led by two-time Tewaaraton finalist Patrick Spencer (35, 59) who will once again assume a bigger role as a senior in 2019. Spencer set many records in just his third season in Baltimore including the top spot in Patriot League career assists, Patriot League career points, Loyola career assists, Loyola points in a season, and Loyola assists in a season. Loyola was a very young, talented team in 2018, with only three seniors in the top 10 on scoring. But with that they lose a very talented first line midfielder in Jay Drapeau (41, 9) who led the team in goals last spring. With that being said, some young guys and veterans will need to step up into a bigger role this season. Alex McGovern (9, 3), John Duffy (26, 9) and Pj Brown (11,5) will probably assume the first line midfield role and will have to become better contributors because most defenses will continue to pressure and make Spencer as uncomfortable as they can.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
The defense takes a bigger hit with graduation, as they lost Foster Huggins, Ryder Harkins, Zac Davliakos, Jared Mintzlaff and Brian Begley all were crucial on the defensive side last year but they will look to be replaced by young guys like Ryan McNulty (LSM) and Matt Higgins (D) amongst others. The Greyhounds return their goalie in Senior Jacob Stover, son of former Ravens kicker Matt Stover, who is poised for another stellar season, this year as a bigger leader and a senior, in between the pipes.
In addition, the Greyhounds are going to need contribution from some of these freshmen. Inside Lacrosse ranks the class as the 16th in Division 1 and thinks they can get some contribution from the midfield as well as a couple of solid defensemen who could compete for some playing time quickly.
Jack Raba, A, Cheshire HS (CT)
Ross Pridemore, A, McCallie School (TN)
Liam Bateman, M, Loyola Blakefield (MD)
Mitchell Cain, M, Victor HS (NY)
Matt Stucchi, M, Hill Academy (CAN)
Chase Scanlan, M, IMG Academy (FL)
Cam Wyers, D, Everest Academy (CAN)
Scott Middleton, D, Hereford (MD)
Freeman Whitaker, G, Oakwood HS (OH)
Loyola looks to have another successful season, and as Lehigh will compete once again in the Patriot League as their toughest contender, look for the Greyhounds to stack their out of conference schedule once again to give them a taste of what they will see come May and the NCAA Tournament. Last year, they lost in the second round to eventual chapion Yale in an exciting game, but what can get them over the hump this year. Plenty will come from the playmakers on the field, but what can coach Toomey and his staff do to put the current team in the best potential spot to succeed expectations this coming spring. The hope lies in the fact that many will return for Toomey’s Greyhounds. But the worry is that many young guys might need to step up defensively and anchor a unit that will face many lethal offensive powers and schemes throughout the season.
The team has not yet posted about any upcoming fall scrimmages or play days, but keep an eye out for them as I will post any once I receive word of it. Next week, I will be previewing Towson, so keep an eye out for that as well as the rest of the teams in the area.