Loyola Showed Its Mettle At Hobart, Of All Places
Coaches have been known to worry about so-called "trap" games. You know, the type of bad performances that crop up when a superior team (at least on paper) gets caught looking past an inferior opponent to something bigger and suffers a loss it never saw coming.
Charley Toomey, the head coach of the Loyola Greyhounds -- the top seed in the NCAA Division I men's tournament, as announced Sunday -- had a trap-game premonition when Loyola was preparing to play at ECAC doormat Hobart on April 21. It was the week before the Greyhounds' showdown with Charles Street rival Johns Hopkins, who edged Loyola that day in a 10-9, overtime thriller.
The Greyhounds had been sailing along at 11-0, and off they went on what unfolded as a bad trip to Geneva in upstate New York. The day before the Hobart game, Loyola was scheduled to practice at Penn Yan High School, near the Hobart campus. First, the team bus broke down en route, causing the Greyhounds to cut their Friday practice 40 minutes short. After what Toomey described as "our worst practice of the year," the pre-game conditions worsened.
"We wake up on Saturday, and it's cold and rainy in Geneva, just nasty. [Midfielder] Chris Layne is getting sick before the game," Toomey said. "Hobart is hooting and hollering at us, telling us it's going to be a long day. I'm thinking that we've been set up."
Turns out, the joke was on Toomey and Hobart, which was four days removed from a near-upset of Syracuse. Loyola took a deep breath, scored seven of the game's first eight goals, and rolled to a 17-6 rout. The Greyhounds just did what they have done all year. They took care of business.