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May 27, 2012

Josh Hawkins

Eric Lusby

Charley Toomey


THE MODERATOR:  We're here with Loyola Maryland.  To my right we have head coach Charley Toomey, Eric Lusby, and Josh Hawkins.  Coach, an opening statement, please.
COACH TOOMEY:  Loyola's excited to be here.  I guess I want to start by congratulating my close friend John Tillman and his staff, Kevin Warne, Brian Phipps, and Ryan Moran and his incredible season and advancing to Memorial Day.
Again, it's a great opportunity for Loyola student‑athletes, and we're looking forward to taking the field tomorrow.

Q.  Eric and Josh, can you talk about, I guess, there's been a sentiment that you guys are on the precipice of an accomplishment that you weren't expected to do.  With that in mind, do you guys feel like you have nothing to lose heading into this game?
ERIC LUSBY:  I feel like we're going to go into it with everything to lose because it's a National Championship and everyone wants to win.  But coming in this year and being unranked and everything, we had a motivation and chip on our shoulder that we knew what we had in our locker room, and we wanted to prove that we could make it all the way here.
With that in mind, we wanted to take it like we've done all year, make it about ourselves, and take it one game at a time.
JOSH HAWKINS:  I agree with Eric.  We've been playing with a chip on our shoulder all season.  Even being No. 1 seed in the tournament, we've had doubters and haven't been expected to win the games that we have.
I think going into Monday doesn't really matter.  We're just here to win a National Championship.  That's what we came here for.

Q.  Coach, can you describe your relationship with Coach Tillman and how far back that goes?  The second is an unranked team in the preseason and seeded team in the tournament.  What's that say about the National Championship game and the rankings?
COACH TOOMEY:  John and I are very close.  We've been best friends for many years.  We both had a commonality.  We both coached at the United States Naval Academy at different times.  He took the position when I left.  When I first went back into coaching up at Loyola University I was about 40 minutes away from Annapolis.
I can remember one year my Christmas tree fell down.  My wife's first phone call went to John Tillman, and he was at our house picking up the balls and rectifying that situation for me.
We own camps together.  We pal around in the summer together.  He's a guy that maybe right now I wish I had game planned with throughout the season and talked about opponents because I think he knows us as well as we know him, certainly from a riding and clearing standpoint.
But we all have those guys that we consider as coaches in your corner, and John Tillman is one of those coaches I know is in my corner.  Not on Monday.  Just looking to have a little fun with him on the other side of the field.
I gave him a little razzing today because he's never wanted to schedule Loyola because he doesn't want to play a friend, and this is what he gets.  We're going to have some fun on Monday.
As for our student‑athletes, it's a great opportunity.  They've practiced the same way they're talking to you up here.  They just come to practice with a great attitude.  Similar to when I was a player, they buy in.  We believed that every game our game plan was good enough that we were going to win.
And Coach Chemotti and Coach Dwan have done a terrific job for me.  These guys on Saturday really buy into our plan.  Whether or not it's playing with a chip on your shoulder, that's the physical side of it.
But the mental side of it, they're prepared.  They believe in each other and we talked a lot about trust this last week.  They trust each other to make the right plays, and I think they share the ball as well as anybody in the country.
We're hoping we can play our best Lacrosse on Monday.

Q.  Josh, I wanted to ask how you feel your style of play fits in with how you guys like to get up and down.  Just how much fun was it getting that goal yesterday, and what were you thinking throughout those ten or 15 seconds or so?
JOSH HAWKINS:  I like to get up and down in between the lines, use my speed and athleticism to get the ball from the defense to the offense.  Scoring yesterday was pretty special.  I haven't put one in for a while.  It was overdue, and it came in at the right time.  I'm just happy it came at the time it did and gave us a spark going into the third square.

Q.  Josh and Eric, can you go back to your only loss?  And Eric, if you could relive that painful moment.  You're a pipe away from being undefeated in that overtime shot that you just missed.  Talk about how this team gather it's self after a pretty devastating loss, had to get on a plane two days later, go to Denver, middle of final exams and all that, and how you responded to that week and since?  How does that define what this team is about?
ERIC LUSBY:  The loss from Hopkins was a learning experience from our team.  We had to learn from our mistakes, and playing for that atmosphere got us ready for the ECAC Tournament and leading into this tournament because there were 6,000 plus fans there, it was electrifying.
It was loud just using that, and what we learned from that game and relating it to practice and in the playoffs and making this run has been great.  I feel like it definitely helped us get the monkey off our back from going undefeated.  You don't have to worry about being an undefeated team.  In that aspect, it was nice to get that loss out of the way.
JOSH HAWKINS:  I'll just add to that that it was never our goal to beat Johns Hopkins.  So after that loss, which was definitely a learning experience, it was easy to forget about that and get our minds on the ECAC Tournament and get out to Denver and complete our goal which was the conference championship which would lead us into this tournament.
Again, it was never our goal, but it was definitely a huge learning experience for us going into the ECAC Championship.

Q.  Josh and Charley, Eric has been doing it all year, but 18 points in three tournament games is another level.  What have you seen and what has been the difference?
COACH TOOMEY:  I say all the time, but I see the guy practicing.  We've always felt like we've been dangerous on both sides of the field.  I think Eric will be the first one to give our midfielders credit and getting the ball in those areas.
The one thing I believe in Eric's case is the game has slowed down to the point where he sees that approach and he's going to try to attack it.  When he sees net, he's going to try to shoot for it.
Whether or not it's the game slowing down for Eric or Coach Chemotti continuing to tinker with his stick, right now the things are working and hopefully we'll see that kid again on Monday.
JOSH HAWKINS:  I think his game has become effortless and smooth, especially with that one move he made yesterday with that toe drag.  I was impressed.  I hadn't seen that before.  To be able to pull that out of nowhere was really impressive.
But 18 goals in the last two tournament games is pretty absurd.  He's just feeling it right now, and he's rolling.

Q.  Because the game is tomorrow, what kind of adjustments do you have to make in terms of a scouting report?  Do you compile one on Maryland or focus more on what Loyola does?
COACH TOOMEY:  Coaches were up last night watching some film.  We're a team that really prides itself on preparation, so we'll have something in their hands post practice today.  We'll do something today.  We have really smart young men.
But I believe getting that report into their hands is going to be really important.  We're a team that has to understand tendencies and match‑ups and be extremely organized.
That's where playing in an ECAC Tournament for the first time is going to help us.  Playing Michigan on a Wednesday, and coming back and trying to prepare to play a Duke team on Saturday, I think we're going to draw on those experiences as coaches certainly trying to be smart with their legs but also as players in terms of preparation time and going and letting it all hang out.

Q.  Charley, you said after the game what you saw of Josh yesterday is what you see every day.  Can you go into specifically the sorts of things that you see on a regular basis?  Kind of what attracted you to bringing him to Loyola?
COACH TOOMEY:  Well, the question was asked of me earlier about John Tillman.  John Tillman used to be the head coach at Harvard, and Josh had an opportunity to play a summer league game up at Harvard.  I don't know that Josh wanted to go to Harvard.  My close friend called me and said you've got to see this kid.  He's as athletic as anybody I've seen on our field.
Again, he reached out to me, and we made sure that we got a chance to watch Josh play in the summer, and it was everything that John talked about.  So we were very fortunate that at that time we won a recruiting battle with the University of Maryland and my old coach, Dave Cottle.
But, again, I think you see what is on the field there, just incredible athleticism.  As Josh would tell you, he's probably at his best in open space.  If he pulled his shirt up right now, he'd show you two tattoos of wings.  He is a ball hawk on the ground.  He flies around the field, and I think he's tenacious.  We're just so fortunate that he's in our locker room.
But I think he would also be the first to tell that you he's better because of who he's flanked by.  Pat Laconi is playing at a high level, so is Scott Ratliff.  And those three are as impressive as a rope unit as I've seen in the country.

Q.  For the players, the first half of the season, you were doubling up opponents.  It was almost like just wait for it, the big second half run, you win by six, seven, eight goals, and everything's gotten compressed in the last month starting with Hopkins.  Lot of tight games right up until yesterday.  Can you talk about how you've adapted and you've become that team that can be okay with a one goal lead forever in the second half?
ERIC LUSBY:  I think that just goes to the competition we're playing.  They saw a lot of our film.  They see how we like to push the ball.  So teams weren't running off the field, and kind of limiting our transition opportunities where we get a lot of our runs from.  Just everyone maturing throughout the year and defensively having guys step up when we are in a tight game and make those stops, getting to the offensive ball.
So I think everybody has just raised their game toward the end of the year when you need to.
JOSH HAWKINS:  Yeah, definitely in late April and May everyone turns up their game and become more competitive.  Everyone's playing to be where we are now.  So you get those one‑goal games.
With our offense, we're pretty confident that we'll be able to get that shot that we need to at the end of the game.  Lusby and Sawyer and Ward are just really calm with the ball toward the end of the game in the last few minutes and can get those shots and get their hands free.  If they do, it's going to go in, so we've been confident with that game all year.

Q.  Josh, how close did you come to going to Maryland if Cottle was involved in that recruiting battle?
JOSH HAWKINS:  It did come down to Maryland and Loyola.  I definitely enjoyed my visit at Loyola more.  It really didn't come down to even making a huge decision.  I enjoyed Loyola and loved Coach Toomey, so it was a pretty easy decision.

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