Despite creating the majority of chances at the beginning of the game, the Greyhounds gave up two unlucky goals in just over a three-minute span to fall behind early.
Saint Francis struck first in the 15th minute when the Greyhounds were unable to keep Francis de Vries’ header off Pablo Medina’s corner from crossing the line, instead sending it into the top netting of the goal.
The Red Flash then added to their lead in the 19th minute when they capitalized on a defensive miscue. In the Greyhounds’ clear attempt, Ryan Byers intercepted a pass back to goalkeeper Matt Sanchez, who scrambled to keep the ball from Byers. Byers was able to get the ball loose though and snuck it into the back of the net for a 2-0 Red Flash advantage.
Loyola had an opportunity to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute, but sophomore Jake Heroux’s header hit off the crossbar. Sophomore Ryan Tuck tried to turn the rebound and put it into the back of the net, but de Vries came up with the defensive save for the Red Flash, keeping the game scoreless at the time.
Tuck also had two solid scoring chances late in the game, but both of his headers just missed the net. In the 83rd minute, his header off a cross from senior Connor Thompson hit the post and then in the 87th minute, junior Dominic Marshall chipped a ball from the left side across the face of the goal, but Tuck’s diving header just missed striking the far left post.
Marshall continued the Greyhounds’ pressure into the 88th minute, sailing a ball to the top left corner from about 20-yards out, but SFU goalkeeper Andrew Garcia made the leaping save to preserve the shutout.
Throughout the contest, Saint Francis held a 12-9 advantage in shots, while Sanchez had six saves and Garcia came up with four.
Loyola had five players make their debuts as Greyhounds in the game; sophomore Dylan Engel, sophomore transfer Dolu Oyewole, sophomore transfer Matt Sanchez, sophomore John Toher and freshman Brad Warenicz. The game was also the first for Steve Nichols as Loyola’s head coach.
The Greyhounds will return to action on Tuesday when they host Howard in their home opener. Game time is slated for 7 p.m., at Ridley Athletic Complex.