As the only team in Division I to score at least 10 goals in each game this season, No. 7 Loyola (8-0) has garnered a lot of attention for its ability to score, tying No. 2 Virginia for fifth in the country in offense (13.0 goals per game).
The group has been just as proficient sharing the ball, leading the nation in assists per game with 9.0.
Those numbers have been aided by the presence of attackmen Mike Sawyer (29 goals) and Eric Lusby (24), but coach Charley Toomey said offensive coordinator Dan Chemotti has done much to refine the offense.
“A lot of credit goes to Coach Chemotti and a philosophy that we’re still embracing – play fast, share the ball,” Toomey said Tuesday morning. “It’s a very unselfish philosophy whether it’s in the transition game or on the six-on-six side of the field. The guys are dodging with their heads up and they understand the reads. They’re out there moving the ball to the next guy. And obviously, we’re pretty much fortunate when we’ve got guys on both sides of the field that can score.”
The unit has also benefited from the combined play of sophomore Justin Ward and freshman Nikko Pontrello. Filling in for Matt Langan who graduated last season as the team’s leader in assists (17), Ward has registered a team-high 13 assists, and Pontrello has logged five.
“Justin and Nikko Pontrello have really stepped into that role and performed admirably,” Toomey said. “We knew that once we got the ball behind [the net], we needed a guy that needed to make some good decisions, and that’s what we’ve seen from those guys. They come in and they spell each other. We don’t have a guy who is a 60-minute guy right there, but we’ve got two guys that really work well together and push each other. … We feel like that’s a position that is still developing, and I think their best lacrosse is still ahead of them.”