Welcome to another edition of the Inside Lacrosse live chat on ESPN. Today, we've got special guests Eric Lusby and Sean O'Sullivan from the undefeated Loyola Greyhounds on board. The Greyhounds have a huge ECAC contest this weekend vs. Denver. Can the Hounds winning ways continue against a high-powered Pioneers team?
They'll be starting to answer in just a moment.
Congratulations on the great season so far! In past years, the Hounds have struggling playing games at altitude. The match-up against a tough Denver team in CO presents a challenge. Are you doing anything in terms of conditioning or otherwise to contend with the altitude?
We are trying to hydrate as much as possible. The coaches are letting us prepare like any other week. The altitude has given us problem in the past, but we are not concentrating on that. We are thinking about ourselves as a team and not letting it get in the way of the game plan
I've never played at altitude before. Coach (Toomey) said yesterday that we need to keep hydrating. The conditioning has been the same. We practice there tomorrow, so we'll get a feel.
Sean, I love how you bring the heat! Do you have any tips for shooting as hard as you do? Thanks!
I think that stringing is really important. You have to get someone you like to string your stick. You have to find a happy medium between passing and shooting in your stick. If you have no whip, you'll have a smooth pass, but no speed. It's also getting out there and shooting before and after every practice. It's getting your hands extended back as far as you can.
I have admired Charley Toomey for a long time, first as a player and now as a coach. I know that he is firey, like a lot of lacrosse coaches on the sidelines, but I have also heard he cared tremendously for his guys. What is it like to play for him?
It is awesome, just what he brings to the table experience-wise and coaching. From a goalie standpoint, he lets Coach Chemotti take control of the offense, but he still has his input.
It is really cool that he played here because he cares way more about the program than what some coaches might because he's been a part of it. He is a very knowledgable coach. I like how he's an animal during the games. He really turns it on.
What have been your keys to success on offense?
Playing fast, pushing the ball when we have opportunities from defense to offense. We want to take avantage of defenses being unorganized. Also, ball movement and balanced dodging from the midfield to the offense.
We get keys to the offense every week, and they change depending on who we are playing and how we did last week. We change things up for the upcoming opponent.
Sean, How has your Army training helped you be successful in the lacrosse game?
It toughened me up, mentally and physically. You go through some rigorous physical training and mental stuff through the school year. It helped me become a tougher player, and it has changed the way I mentally prepare for games and practice. It was a very physical mindset at West Point that I like to bring here.
How do you feel about your incoming class and the future of the program?
I heard that we have a strong group of players, some Canadians and guys from around here. They can really help the offense.
With the good start that we've had, I would think it's going to help recruiting classes because kids are going to see us as one of the top teams this year.
What's the secret behind the dominance in the second half of games? Is it a result of adjustments made at halftime?
I think that we've been in a lot of close games when we go in at halftime. We know that we have to dominate the first five minutes of the third quarter. Everything has been clicking from an offensive standpoint, and defensively, guys are going after their guys and getting the ball back for the offense.
We have a really smart defense. They are able to talk through things at halftime that they can't necessarily do on the field. I think that the offense kind of relaxes and gets more focused.
What do you think are the biggest strengths and weaknesses' of Long Island vs. Maryland Lax?
Long Island guys like to talk a lot, but seriously, they're great players in their right. They like to live up to being tough players on the field.
With such a stellar season thus far, curious how you are feeling about 4/28 Hopkins matchup. Big North Charles rivalry. Loyola is finally getting greater national attention - well deserved for you guys and Coach Toomey. Being a 1991 Loyola alum I am quite proud for you guys. Watched you defeat Duke in March (with my 11 year old son beside me - huge Duke fan) and I could only imagine the excitement around campus. Years ago that was an unimaginable feat. While my son was upset, I was elated. Just want to say congrats on such a great season already.... will be there to see you take the Jays.
First things first, we have Denver, so all of our focus is on that game, and then we go to play Hobart. It's a huge rivalry with Hopkins, but it should be a lot of fun when we play.
Hopkins-Loyola has been a rivalry as long as I've been here, and we've come close to beating them. But, Denver and Hobart are conference rivals too. After those games, we are going to put together the same amount of intensity and focus in practice, and we'll put our best foot forward against the Blue Jays down the street.
Whats the face off competition like during practice between J.P. Dalton and Brendan Donovan?
It's been a good competition thus far in the season, and it's given J.P. a lot of competition against someone in practice who is tough.
Donno is a great face-off guy, and he helps us prepare for the upcoming opponent.
Eric, your post-goal celebrations in the past seem to be sub-par. Can we expect anything in the future similar to TO or Ochocinco?
I like to keep a quiet confidence. I don't need to run around the field hooting-and-hollering. Maybe I'll have something thought up for an overtime game-winner later this year.
How important have GBs been to your success on the lacrosse field?
It's been a huge factor allowing us to have more offensive possessions and giving us more opportunities to score. During practice, we pride ourselves on ground ball drills and picking it up the first time, get it off the field and get it up the field.
It's really unsettled because everyone is going after the ground ball, so it turns into a good opportunity to score. As soon as we pick it up, we try to turn it in to an opportunity to score.
Watching you guys this year It seems like with the exception of the last few games the offense has been close to un stoppable with you two and mike sawyer leading the way. I was wondering if your teams great defense has helped spark the offense in any way
Absolutely. They don't get enough credit. Dylan Grimm, Joe Fletcher and Reid Acton are a very poised defense. They take away the other offense's best players. When they do that, they make it so much tougher to get into sets. They've been a huge factor in how many opportunities the offense gets each game.
I also agree they don't get enough credit. I can't say that too many of the goals we've give up have come in 6-on-6 settled sets. The last three games, they have carried us in a lot of ways.
Sean, is it true you like to suplex your teammates before the games to get "pumped up"?
Yes, it's true. I suplex people in the locker room to get myself pumped up. Whoever gets suplexed also gets jacked up. I have been known to break many things.
Good Luck Hounds! Pulling for you here in Denver!
Thanks, see you there.
This question is for Eric Lusby. I am one of your biggest fans! You are a hometown hero at Severna Park and I strive to get a shot like yours...My question is - how fast is your shot and what is your secret to shooting that fast??!
I don't know exactly how fast my shot is right now, but I have hit triple digits in the past, but that was pre-ACL injury. My secret is practice and full extension on my shot.
What's the teams goal for the season?
One game at a time and play as many games as possible into May.
Hey Sean? Who was your favorite college laxer growing up?
My dad. He played at Army and graduated in 1985. I used to watch his games all the time, and he played a lot of club, too. He coached me my entire life and coached me on every team I was on until college.
Eric, is it true you were donned the nicknames Papa, Slugsby, and Howitzer, while an undergrad at Loyola?
Yes, it's true. Some of the nicknames stuck a little more than the other ones.
Some people call me Howitzer, but I'm also known as Mini-Dozer
Sean ... What's it like playing with a dynamic force like Mike Sawyer?And with your NOVA back ground (VA - Westfield HS) how do feel NOVA Lacrosse is being represented in college lacrosse?P.S. Shout-out to your NOVA teammates at Loyola ... Dylan Grimm - Oakton, Thomas Robinson - Langley, & Derek Zook - Loudoun Valley
It's been really fun so far, playing with Mike. We have a good connection on the field, maybe because we're roommates. It's nice to play with guys from NOVA. We're representing well here. It's good to see the South playing big in the North.
Josh Hawkins brings a lot of energy to the game and is a play maker. What is it like to play with him? Does he change the tone of the game when he's out there?
I feel like during the games, he has another level that not many people can get to. When he picks up the ball on the wing or on the defensive end of the field, he runs by people who had a 10-yard head start. He makes good decisions with the ball when he brings it up, either finding the open guy or taking his own shot.
He's very explosive in the transition game. He has great breakaway speed to create man-up opportunities. He is changing the definition of flow.
Do you think you aren't getting enough respect in the polls with a team with a loss ahead of you and UMass who has an awful SOS?
Regardless of UMass' strength of schedule, they are still undefeated like us.
For us being in the top five for the first time in a while, it's great, but we need to continue to focus on the tasks at hand, and we'll prove that we deserve to be here.
It fired us up, and we used it as a motivator that we weren't in the Top 20 in the preseason. It was our fuel the entire fall. Now that we are in the Top 5, we have to keep working to stay there; we can't settle.
Who is the strongest guy on the team?
Reid Acton is Big. Strong. Canadian. I also give a lot of credit to Mike Sawyer. He works tremendously hard in the lifts.
It's a toss up between Brendan Donovan and Alex Yackery.
How did you get the name Big City Lus?
My roommate used to work at Inside Lacrosse as an intern (Skip), and he got a Big City Classic t-shirt. He knows that I am trying to look for employment in New York City after school, so he decided to staple that t-shirt up to my door.
Do you see any of your Freshman playing a big roll in your NCAA title run?
I see on offense Nikko Pontrello has been a huge help this year. He's been the fourth attacker rolling in. He comes in to the midfield, and he creates matchup problems. He is so fast and quick that he draws slides and keeps the offense flowing.
what kind of off season work outs do D1 players like yourselves do to get stronger?
Medicine Ball slams, rope slams, sleds. I try to run as much as I can so I don't get out of shape for the fall workouts.
Bicep curls, a lot of body weight stuff for high endurance.
This question is directed towards Jr. Sean O'Sullivan on his experiences at West Point. Sean, I believe that you were a member of TOD in fact, you were the honor graduate. Can you speak upon your experiences at this table and how you developed the other cadets into young warriors. Also, can you expand on how and if you've brought a similar tradition along with you to the Greyhounds.
At West Point, the lacrosse team sits together at lunch with the entire school. One of the tables was nicknamed 'Table of Death.' It was kind of a seniority thing where the freshmen hand out the food to the upperclassmen. Every Thursday, they had to read off movie quotes, and we tried to guess them. It toughens you up.
How does Coach Chemotti keep his hair looking so spectacular?
Coconut shampoo and a massive amount of styling gel. He combs it in his office for minutes at a time.
And the last question today. What are your predictions for the big game against Denver?
It's going to close, well fought. We all have it in our minds that we have to win, both teams I'm sure. We want to keep our momentum moving in to the following week.
I think it will be a battle. The atmosphere there is going to be insane because it's already sold out, but to go along with what Sean said, we want to keep in our mind that we are going to win this game to keep progressing into the team we want to be by the end of the year.
Thank you, Eric and Sean. It's a big game on Saturday night, so make sure to follow along on InsideLacrosse.com. Also, check out Denver's website for a broadcast of the game, for a small fee. Big weekend of lacrosse.