As if snapping a six-game losing streak to No. 8 Duke wasn’t arduous enough, No. 17 Loyola welcomes the Blue Devils to Ridley Athletic Complex Saturday with just two days of practice in the bank.
The Greyhounds walloped Michigan, 15-8, on Wednesday night, but didn’t return to campus until Thursday morning. The team got in a light practice Thursday and is expected to participate in another session Friday, but Loyola won’t have the benefit of a full week of scouting and preparation as Duke – which hasn’t played since dropping a 10-7 decision to No. 5 Maryland last Saturday – has likely enjoyed.
“You try to rely on who you are,” coach Charley Toomey said Thursday. “What we’re trying to do is go in and offensively continue to be who we’ve been. Maybe put a couple wrinkles in for Duke, but really, I think defense is truly about preparation and understanding what they’re going to try to do to you. So we’re not able to prepare the way we would like in the sense that we’d like ramp it up and be able to go full speed and ask our scout team to give us a good 20 minutes of hard speed dodges and things. Today, we have to be more cerebral. We need to walk through some plays, we need to understand how Duke is going to try to attack us and hopefully on Saturday, we’ll be able to play the style that we’ve been able to play in these last three or four weeks.”
The contest against the Blue Devils will be the Greyhounds’ third in eight days, but first at home after road games at Bellarmine and Michigan. So fatigue could be a factor, according to Toomey.
“Absolutely. It’s tough,” he said. “It’s not so much that we played the games. It’s the fact that we’ve been in the airports for 5 a.m. flights. That’s the biggest concern that I have. That’s our challenge as coaches, to make sure our team is ready to play and to make it more about this thought process and preparation and less about the physicality of what we need to do.”