WASHINGTON, D.C. - Freshman Shane Kastl became the first Patriot League player to score against preseason favorite American University Wednesday afternoon, securing the Loyola University Maryland men’s soccer team a 1-0 win over the Eagles at Reeves Field. With the win, the Greyhounds move into sole possession of first place in the Patriot League.
“We knew we were young and talented coming into the year and now we’re finally starting to show it,” head coach Steve Nichols said. “Since we’re not giving up goals anymore and we’re starting to score good goals, we’ve been able to turn a 1-5 record into a 5-5 record.”
The Greyhounds’ four-game win streak is their longest since 2013, while their 3-0-0 start to Patriot League play is their best start to conference play since they won three-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games in 2009.
Loyola (5-5-0, 3-0-0 Patriot League) started pressing early on and nearly had an early goal, as freshman Josh Fawole centered a cross into the six-yard box, but the Eagles (5-4-3, 2-1-0) were able to clear it from danger.
Sophomore Gabriel Carlsson then sent a cross in to Fawole in the 12th minute and freshman Nico Brown shook a defender before sending a shot at goal in the 16th minute, but American goalkeeper Lucas Belanger was there to make both saves.
Brown had another great chance on a counter attack in the 29th minute, following a strong defensive stance that saw senior Matt Sanchez make a nice reaction save on the Eagles’ diving header, but Brown was once again denied by Belanger.
Loyola finally broke through in the 32nd though, as freshmen Barry Sharifi and Brian Saramago played a game of give-and-go before Sharifi tapped a ball to Kastl to finish from inside the box for his first career goal.
The Greyhounds continued to create chances throughout the second half, but Belanger turned away shots from Brown, senior Brennan Goldsmith and Carlsson, before Saramago’s goal in the 89th minute was called off due to a yellow card being awarded to the Eagles.
In goal for Loyola, Sanchez finished with four saves and his third clean sheet of the season.
The Greyhounds will return to action on Saturday when they host Boston University at 1 p.m.