Loyola College lacrosse coach Dave Cottle may have added the title master psychologist to his already impressive resume.
One week before the Greyhounds, who share the No. 1 poll spot with Syracuse, were to play perhaps their biggest game of the regular season, Cottle had his squad working out in Vero Beach, Fla.
Loyola (1-0) will meet No. 3 Virginia (2-0), which some critics believe has the best individual talent in the country, today at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville.
"We're going to make this an annual trip," said Cottle, whose team went to Boca Raton, Fla., last season. "It's a chance for the guys to relax a little, but still work hard because we're outside in the warm weather. I think the kids really enjoy it."
The Greyhounds took a bus to the Los Angles Dodgers practices. They met ballplayers Eddie Murray and Darryl Strawberry. They ran clinics for a local high school. They also had some two-a-day practices.
"Well, it all can't be fun," said Cottle, laughing.
Cottle scouted the Cavaliers' 14-7 victory last week against Navy and knows all about their 19-5 win against Washington & Lee.
"Virginia is an extremely talented team, and they play very aggressively all over the field," Cottle said. "I don't think either team has played another team with as many athletes as we both have. It should be interesting."
It also should be interesting to see whether Virginia pressures Loyola as much as the Cavaliers pressured Navy. Virginia's midfield of Garth Appelt, Drew Fox and Andy Kraus is one of the best in the game, but Loyola's attack is much better than Navy's.
Virginia hasn't beaten Loyola since 1986, having had trouble with the Greyhounds' zone defenses.
Attackman Kevin Pehlke leads the Greyhounds in scoring with eight goals and three assists. Kraus has two goals and six assists, and attackman Robert Falk and midfielder Gabby Roe each has five points.