May 28, 2012
An interview with: LOYOLA
THE MODERATOR: Welcome Loyola Maryland. Coach Toomey, Scott Ratliff, and Jack Runkel and Eric Lusby, the NCAA Tournament record holder for goals in a tournament with 17, and tournament most outstanding player. Coach, an opening statement.COACH TOOMEY: Thought Saturday was a pretty cool day for the Greyhounds. Today is special. For our alumni, for our past president, for our current president, for Joe Boylan, Jim Paquette, Dr. Susan Donovan, the people that have supported us for so many years to allow this team to be what it is, I'm just so happy for those people. My hat's off.It's bittersweet for me. My close friend is in that other locker room. And I've been in that other locker room before. I want to give Maryland a lot of credit for a well played game, and obviously a terrific season.Again, when I look at my locker room, I'm just so proud of them. They've handled every situation with dignity and class this year. Coming back on short preparation to play a tough Maryland team, a physical Maryland team. They responded in a very big way to give Loyola our first National Championship.
Q. Eric, pretty hot. How do you explain the last couple games?Eric Lusby: It's pretty hard to explain. I just got hot at the right time. I knew going into the tournament, my shot was a little off. I kept missing the cage, so I knew I wanted to shoot for net. But I have to give credit to all the other guys in the offense. From the middies to Davis Butts, and Pat Byrnes and all those guys. They were dodging hard all weekend, and drawing slides and giving me the opportunities I had. And Mike Sawyer drawing all the attention on his side of the field. When I had the opportunity to shoot and score, I wanted to make sure I made it count.
Q. For and you (Eric) and Scott, what does it mean for you guys for your coach, knowing what he's been through and what Loyola means to him?Eric Lusby: It's unbelievable. Like Coach said, for the alumni, for him playing in a National Championship, and losing and then coming here with this team. All of these guys in this locker room. We knew what we had in our locker room the whole year. It's been an unbelievable journey, and I wouldn't want to be doing it with anybody else besides Coach Toomey.Scott Ratliff: Yeah, I agree. We talk a lot about returning this program to its glory days when coach was playing here. He's like a second dad to all of us. He really sets the tone for the team every game. He gets our minds ready. He was more ready to go than anybody else today. Wouldn't rather play for anybody else.
Q. Eric, did anybody give you an idea as you were approaching the record? What was the tone on the sideline? Was there any nervousness or were you going about business as usual?Eric Lusby: People were saying stuff about it throughout the game. But it wasn't a goal. We wanted to win a National Championship, and if I had to score however many goals to get that done, I was going to do it. Regardless, we won the National Championship. Obviously, it means something right now. But the goal is to win a National Championship.
Q. Coach Toomey, if you wouldn't mind, without giving out too many personal details, your relationship with Coach Tillman? He talked about some holidays spent together is and the reciprocal relationship that you guys have. If it makes it a little more special that it came against him?COACH TOOMEY: Doesn't make it special at all. We talked at the 50 yard line before the game, and it was going to be a bittersweet game for both of us. With a win, you're so excited, but you also feel for the guy in that other locker room. I know John's excited for me. He came up and gave me a big hug and said I'm so proud it's you.Again, one of my closest friends in the game of Lacrosse, a family friend, and not just a coach's alliance. He's a guy I'll probably be in the car with tomorrow driving to go Long Island to start recruiting.Again, he's just a special human being. The way he goes about his business with his program, the way he talks to his athletes. Those kids play awful hard for John. I think you see that on the sidelines and you see that on the field for sure. We've talked a lot about how we talk to our teams and we want them to play hard for the coaches. We want them to play hard for the University. Nobody does it better than John Tillman.
Q. Charley, you talked about being in the other locker room as a player. How much were you motivated, if at all, by that loss in 1990, coming back here, first time back?COACH TOOMEY: This is a special group of guys. Having the opportunity to go on the road and stay in a room with Coach Vaikness who was a teammate of mine. We may talk about those things on the bus ride over or in the rooms on the road.But these guys to a man would tell you, we don't bring up the 1990 team. We don't bring up past history. This is our team. This is a special group of young men that fought through a lot of things this year to put themselves in this position, and they stood tall on the biggest day.
Q. Jack, if we went back to the fall or even to the start of winter practice and said Loyola was going to win a National Championship and, oh, by the way, they're going to pull the goalie and pull the back up a couple minutes left in the game, where would you have thought you'd be in that order, and is this beyond your wildest dreams?Jack Runkel: It's a dream come true. But honestly, if you told me that at the beginning of the year, I wouldn't have an answer for you who would have been starting. The outcome of this year would have been the same if Boni was playing. He's just as good a goalie as I am, and credit to him he pushes me in practice and makes me who I am.
Q. Jack, talk about the close defense that you've been working with. They've been on fire, and I would imagine have helped you play fantastic through the NCAA Tournament. That group today had a great game plan. What's it been like working with those guys and a real Top 10 defensive unit this year?Jack Runkel: It's been awesome. A dream come true to play with these guys. They give me shots that I want to see. I'm a lot better up top seeing shots and saving them. Definitely credit to them. They gave me shots I wanted to see, and they played well. They've been playing well for the past five, six games, and it's been awesome.
Q. Jack and Scott, either or, statistics wise, I think Loyola won four face offs in the last two days, yet you guys did such a great job of getting possessions back anyway. From the defensive perspective, can you talk about the work that you did to prevent all those face offs from going against you?Jack Runkel: Well in the beginning of the game our game plan wasn't necessarily to win face offs. Our game plan was to win the ground ball battle and outhustle Maryland as best we could.So from there, we weren't concerned with how J.P. would do at the `x'. We knew he was going to battle and he was going to do well. So we have two great waves, Scott and Hawk and Davis when they go on the field. They really poured their hearts out on the field and did a good job scooping up ground balls.Scott Ratliff: Yeah, I would agree. We've won games this is season without winning face offs. The first time we won against Denver, what jumps out for me when we won 4 out of 25 face offs and we were still able to get the win. So we knew it wasn't an absolute must to win the game. Their face off guy did a great job.But what is key is to not let those face-off losses turn into quick goals, and that's what we were able to do. J.P. was able to get in, stop the break, and Joe Fletcher was playing the point and baiting the guy. Not letting him get a four on-three type break and making them settle into their 6 on 3 offense, where we feel like we match up with anybody pretty well.
Q. What does it mean to go from where you were at the start of the season, running wind sprints for every team that was ahead of you in the pole, and celebrating with the trophy on the field? As a player, what's it mean to have the season go that way for you guys?Scott Ratliff: It's special. That is the day that sticks out in your mind. When that first ranking came out in the beginning of the season, we all felt disrespected. We play with each other every day. We see Runkel make these saves every day, and we see Lusby every day.We kind of all knew we had a special team, not just because of the talent and athleticism, but because of how close we were, and how much of a family we really are. These are my 45 best friends, and my brothers. So we definitely felt disrespected and credit to the coaches for doing that, because that motivated us. It was something we kept in the back of our minds all season.
Q. Coach, Eric compared to some of the other guys you've seen over the years in shooting and finishing, and rate him with some of the other guys, being specific?COACH TOOMEY: The guys that I think about that have been great shooters at our university would be guys like Gewas Schindler, Tim O'Shea, guys like Mark Frye. All guys that could stretch it. All guys that shot with great velocity. And guys like Gewas Schindler without having Tim O'Shea on the other side and guys on the other side probably wouldn't have been as good as he was.So when I look at Eric Lusby, he's very fortunate to have a guy like Michael Sawyer on the other side. When we're at our best, those guys are dodging with our middies. They're being unselfish, and they're getting those guys the ball in spots where they can be successful. That, in my opinion, was what the 1998 team did well at Loyola University, and that's what this team did.
Q. Coach, if you could talk about the performance that Davis Butts gave today?COACH TOOMEY: Davis is a kid that's blessed with athleticism. We know he's going to draw the pole just about every Saturday, but we're not going to bury Davis on the crease and attack short sticks. We're going to start our offense with Davis whether or not he's got a pole or shorty.Davis is a tough, tough individual. His effort on the field is every bit of what you see in practice each day. He doesn't take a rep off. He doesn't take a quarter off in a game.Whether or not it's running from defense to offense, which every once in a while we'll ask Davis to take a defensive shift, not so much today, but, again, he makes this team along with some others, the team that we want to be. That is a team that plays fast and a team that runs.Davis had a heck of a match up with Bernhardt out there, and I thought he handled it with composure.
Q. No kid made a bigger name for himself this weekend than Josh Hawkins. Could you talk about his performance?COACH TOOMEY: Two young men from mid Massachusetts coming home. So proud of Josh because when the ball hit the ground, Josh had an IV in his arm last night. He was dehydrated from the day before. So I think he was scared to death because Dr. Howard had just finished with another young man, maybe Scott Ratliff. He comes over to Josh, and his hands were full of blood, and he said, "You're next". And Josh was like, oh, my gosh. What is this about?Josh dug in for us like nobody's business today. When the ball hit the ground on the offensive end, I kept looking to the sideline and knowing. He kept looking at me like I'm ready, I'm ready.A tremendous athlete, but more than that, just a tremendous kid. I'm so proud of Josh to play his biggest games on this type of stage, because he missed the first four games of the season with injury, and I think that maybe with four more games under his belt, he could have been a little bit better. But luckily we got a couple of guys coming back, and Josh is one of them.
Q. Considering the circumstances, greatest defensive game you've ever been a part of? Three goals in 40 minutes?COACH TOOMEY: Absolutely. Absolutely a team win. Whether or not they were in a man or in zone, they protected each other. When, like I said, there was a letdown, Jack Runkel stood as tall as I've ever seen him. They took care of clearing the ball first time and getting it back to our offense.I thought that our offensive game plan was terrific by Coach Chemotti, because he took pressure off of the defense when he needed to. We didn't play as fast in some cases as we usually do. We knew it was hot. We knew we had short sticks that were facing a little adversity from playing the game on Saturday. And I thought that Coach Chemotti helped us with our defensive game plan the way we played offense today. FastScripts by ASAP Sports