Loyola Finds Itself Just in Time for a Postseason Run


Few teams can appreciate the unevenness of this season as much as Loyola, which for two-plus months might have looked its best in a loss (at home against Virginia) and struggled to establish the frenetic verve the Greyhounds are known for.

Well, until Thursday, anyway. Loyola’s 11-9 victory over Georgetown might be the ideal prelude to a Patriot League tournament run. Or it might not. But it definitely provides some hope for the Greyhounds (7-5), who play host to Navy on Tuesday afternoon in the Patriot quarterfinals.

“You never stop believing, but some weeks were tough, especially after loss after loss,” said attackman Kevin Lindley, whose three goals against the Hoyas gave him 151 for his career, tying Gary Hanley’s school record. “This team has never given up. It’s not in our DNA. It’s not in our culture.”

Maintaining any at-large hopes hinged on beating the Hoyas, but that was hardly the biggest priority for Loyola. The Greyhounds earned back-to-back victories for just the second time all season, and stitched together a relentless (if not perfect) performance even with the versatile Evan James sitting out.

“We found our rhythm,” coach Charley Toomey said. “We found our sideline. That was as important as anything. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t about ‘We had to win the game.’ We had to play well. We had to get guys to get on the field and stay the course and fight for 60 minutes.”

Will it make a difference this week is an open question. If they wanted to, the Greyhounds could look at the next six days as a potential revenge tour. They lost to Navy in their last meeting on April 17. They fell a week earlier to Army, who awaits today’s winner on Friday’s semifinals. And they dropped an early March game at Lehigh, the tournament’s top seed who could be a title game opponent.

But there are other intangibles Loyola hopes to use, with last week’s triumph serving as a potential catalyst.

“It’s been tough without a locker room, and that’s been kind of a thing we’ve been struggling with,” long pole Ryan McNulty said. “At the end of the day, we know what we have to do and we have to get through these obstacles. We’re sick of saying ‘Things are getting in our way’ or ‘We have someone’s hurt’ or ‘We can’t use the locker room.’ None of that is relative anymore. With that win, we just got together and we got our team back. It’s like we never lost anything now.”

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