(Photo Courtesy of Loyola Athletics)
Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.
Head Coach: Charlie Toomey (18th season, 2006-present)
Loyola 2022 Record: 8-8 (6-2 Patriot League)
Key Departures: Aidan Olmstead (A), Kevin Lindley (A), Bailey Savio (FO), Ryan McNulty (LSM), Sam Shafer (G)
Key Returners: Adam Poitras (M), Evan James (M), Joey Kamish (A), Cam Wyers (D), Matt Hughes (D), Payton Rezanka (SSDM)
Transfer Additions: Cole Erickson (M, Army West Point)
Each of the past two seasons has seen the Loyola Greyhounds struggle to find cohesiveness. While they were able to put it together down the stretch in 2021, earn themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and pull off a memorable first-round upset of Denver on their home turf, the 2022 season was much different.
Loyola began the year getting trounced in College Park by the eventual national champions and followed that up with one-goal losses to Johns Hopkins and Rutgers before falling to rival Towson 11-8 to mark a 0-4 start to the year. Going 8-8 on the season, the Greyhounds would have highs with wins over Duke, Navy, and Lehigh in the regular season. They would pull away from Bucknell in the second half of the Patriot League Quarterfinals and see their season end with a 14-13 loss to Army in the league semifinals.
Heading into the 2023 season, Loyola returns talent and should be in the picture as a Patriot League contender once again and have an older roster with 11 seniors and seven graduate students. But with as much talent as they lose, especially at key positions, just how far can they go and maybe more importantly, can Charlie Toomey’s squad put all the pieces together needed for a consistent, successful season?
Who Quarterbacks The Offense?
The loss of Aidan Olmstead (25G/31A) and Kevin Lindley (38G/5A), who ended his career as the Patriot League’s all-time scorer, is perhaps the most notable for Loyola. But it won’t just be the 81 points from last season that this squad will missed. Olmstead ran things at X while Lindley was the team’s primary scorer.
While the absence of Olmstead and Lindley is significant, the cupboard on that end of the field is far from bare. Adam Poitras (29G/9A) and Evan James (26G/11A) were the Greyhounds’ second and third-leading goal-scorers a season ago while Joey Kamish (19G/9A) and Seth Higgins (15G/11A) were consistent contributors at the attack and midfield spots, respectively.
As for who will be the quarterback of this offense next season, the answer just might be junior Davis Lindsey. After a tremendous five-point (2G/3A) performance against Georgetown, the North Carolina native earned his first career start the next time out (vs Lehigh) and ended up starting at attack each of the last three games of the season. In those contests, Lindsey dished out 10 assists and and scored two goals (both vs Bucknell) to end the season with 28 points off eight goals and 20 assists. His late-season emergence perhaps gave a glimpse into what the future of this Loyola offense will look over the next few seasons.
Who Fills The Holes at Specialist Positions?
The three positions where there are the biggest question marks heading into the 2023 campaign for the Loyola Greyhounds are at the goalie position, the faceoff dot, and the LSM spot. Goalie Sam Shafer, faceoff man Bailey Savio, and LSM Ryan McNulty have all exhausted their eligibility and thus leaving holes to be filled at those positions.
At the goalie spot, Junior Luke Staudt (22 saves, 46.8%) and Senior Colton Teitelbaum (2 saves, 22%) each saw one start in cage a year ago. Graduate student Freeman Whitaker, who saw limited action as a backup in 2022, and freshman Max Watkinson are the only other two goalies on the roster. Similarly, at the faceoff dot, Eric Pacheco played in nine games and went 25-for-52 (48%) during that action. Chris Contone went 7-for-10 in three games. They are the only two faceoff guys on the Greyhounds’ roster.
As for the LSM position, it’s a bit of a different story as graduate student Scott Middelton has seen a good deal of action throughout his career and is coming off a strong 2022 season in which he grabbed 24 ground balls and caused five turnovers as the secondary LSM. His looks like the natural heir apparent to the coveted Loyola LSM spot. Sophomore Diego Roman and juniors Gunnar Cheuvront and Josh Fairey each saw minimal action last spring. Freshman Chase Gregory is the fifth LSM on the roster.
Can Loyola Stay Consistent?
Maybe the broadest question of all heading into the 2023 season concerning the Loyola Greyhounds is just how consistent they can be. As previously sated, Loyola has been one of the more inconsistent teams in college lacrosse each of the past two seasons. Last spring, they came into the year ranked in the top 10 and ended the year firmly out of the top 20. The year prior, it took a strong season-ending push to get them into the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola should be expected to be a good team in 2023 and in the Patriot League should be among the contender class once again, along with Army, Navy, Lehigh, and Boston U. If they address their question marks and mesh well as a team, the Greyhounds could come out on top of the league. If not, it may be much of the same for a third year in a row.
Potential Breakout Player
Davis Lindsey, Attack, Junior
Lindsey emerged late last season and when the final horn sounded on the year he had 28 points. Expect his emergence to only continue into 2023. With the holes needed to be filled on offense, Lindsey can very well continue to be the answer the Greyhounds need.
I wrote last fall that Loyola had one of the top five ‘sneaky good’ classes of the 2022 cycle. The 11-man class is especially offensive heavy and by five Inside Lacrosse four-stars on that end in midfielders Hugh Brown (McDonogh, Md.) and Brady West (South Side, N.Y.), as well as attackmen Luke Murphy (Medfield, Mass.), Will McCulloch (St. Stephens & St. Agnes, Va.), and Matthew Minicus (Darien, Conn.).