Sept. 2, 2005
Princeton, N.J. - After seeing its one-goal lead disappear in the 80th minute of regulation, senior Brian O'Connor skidded the game-winning goal past goalie Bobby Guelich to lift Loyola past Princeton in the season-opener for both sides.
"This was a fabulous win for our team," says Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick. "It was a very gutsy performance."
The Greyhounds, who hadn't beaten Princeton since 1996, were anxious to start their season and it showed with their aggressive play from the opening whistle. Three minutes into the match, Gabriel Ortega split two defenders and sent a pass to Ray Hassett for the `Hounds first good look of the night.
With the ball in Loyola's offensive end for much of the first half, senior Vinnie Piscopo was bound to break loose for his first goal of the year. Two good looks in the 18th minute went wide of the cage and the game remained scoreless with Loyola taking the first four shots.
Princeton tallied its first shot in the 30th minute, but Loyola quickly countered with a beautiful score from Piscopo at the 38-minute mark. Set up by Ortega, who lofted a perfect pass from midfield, Piscopo played the ball over his right shoulder going away from the cage. He spun and fired a laser into the upper right corner of the net and the `Hounds led 1-nil at the break.
Princeton would get its shots in the second half, but the Greyhound defense remained firm and despite allowing seven second-half shots, allowed very few good looks. Tiger senior Darren Spicer, last season's leading scorer, took a direct kick in the 53rd minute that was saved by the outstretched hand of Loyola goalkeeper Justin Chelland, who played very well in the cage.
"The defense made my job very easy," says Chelland. "They won the game for us."
Back in the offensive end, the Greyhounds missed a golden opportunity to double its lead in the 75th minute with Danny Wheelan missing a cross in front of the cage. Princeton took advantage and evened the game with a header from senior Adrian Melville at 79:05.
It didn't take long, however, for O'Connor to answer. Dribbling the ball across the top of the box, O'Connor saw an opening and placed a low shot that slipped past Princeton keeper Bobby Guelich.
"I saw a line and fired," says O'Connor. "The ball skipped across the ground and I knew it had a good chance."
The Greyhounds finished the game with eight shots with three from O'Connor. Chelland and Guelich each picked up two saves as Loyola starts its season 1-0. The `Hounds now travel to Syracuse to for a Sunday night match with the Orange. Game time is 7 p.m.