BALTIMORE — It was quite the way to open a season: Loyola University’s 8-7 overtime win Sunday at No. 20 Richmond.
"We all kind of looked at each other and we were like, 'That’s why. That’s why we came back. That’s why we’re here doing this'. It was awesome," said Loyola long-stick midfielder Ryan McNulty.
"What was really nice about it was the fact that we were on the field and in one jersey again," said Charley Toomey, who is beginning his 16th season as Loyola Head Coach.
Now the No. 11 Greyhounds (1-0) come home this Saturday to take on No. 3 Virginia (2-0).
"Because we play Virginia year in and year out, and even in the postseason in a year, we feel like we know them and certainly Virginia knows Loyola," said Toomey.
This year’s Loyola team is picked to finish first in the preseason Patriot League poll. McNulty, a grad student, was named the conference's preseason defensive player of the year.
"I think we’re going to be awesome," he said. "We’re clicking really well."
The Loyola men aren’t the only ones with a tough one at the Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday.
The No. 4 Greyhound women open their season hosting No. 3 Syracuse.
"Very, very strong team. They are going to be a tough opponent," said Loyola Head Coach Jen Adams. "But, I think the bigger picture for us here is just, it’s a game."
And a season unlike any other as Adams begins her 13th year a Hounds head coach.
"I’m not sure there has ever been a time... we talk a lot as a coaching staff or as coaches to our players about taking nothing for granted and playing in the moment and I’m not sure there’s ever a time where we can put more truth into that or invest more into that than now," she said.
Senior midfielder Sam Fielder is preseason All-Patriot League. She feels the same way as game one of this unique season approaches.
"We’re just really excited. It kind of feels not even real," said the Reisterstown native. "We’re still a very exciting and fast team and we’re also very creative."
That creativity gets put to the test for the women Saturday at Noon. The men are scheduled for a 5:00 p.m. face-off.