Loyola not looking past Denver

Top seeded in conference tournament, No. 3 Greyhounds are wary of No. 9 Pioneers, who upset No. 5 Duke last week

May 01, 2012|By Edward Lee

As the top seed in the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament, No. 3 Loyola is the favorite to survive the two rounds, capture the tourney, and earn the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament.

But in Wednesday night’s semifinal, the Greyhounds (12-1) must first get past No. 9 Denver (8-5), which upset No. 5 Duke, 15-9, last Friday. Coach Charley Toomey said there are no plans to review the Pioneers’ win against the Blue Devils with the team.

“We really don’t have to show that film to talk about respecting Denver,” he said of the two-time reigning conference champion during a conference call Monday of the four coaches participating in the conference tournament. “They’ve taken a lot from our program in the last couple years. We know they are terrific on the offensive end, and they’re settling in [on defense]. I think they have one of their better defenders coming back in [junior Kyle] Hercher [from a concussion], and [freshman goalkeeper] Ryan LaPlante is growing up every day in the goal for them. So they’re a team that’s continuing to improve. We know what Duke is all about. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the ACC and certainly Duke. And for Denver to do what they do, that’s quite impressive. But I think what we’re going to have to key on is just the fact that our guys respect Denver and they know what they’re getting ready to get into out there. So whether or not they beat Duke or lost in a close game, Denver has our attention.”

Senior attackman Eric Lusby said that he and several of his teammates watched the Pioneers’ victory last Friday night and noticed a different team from the one they defeated, 12-9, on April 14.

“I think Denver has changed a little bit from when we played them in the past,” the Severna Park native and graduate said. “I watched a little bit of that game, and I definitely thought their offense improved. We knew they had a really good offensive team. So defensively, we just need to take a step and cover their guys. But I think Denver has kind of woken up a little bit. They’ve been a good team all season. They’ve lost a bunch of close games. So I think it’ll be a good contest for us out there.”

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