Men's Soccer Drops Heartbreaker To No. 5 Santa Clara

Sept. 12, 2004

Box Score

Fairfax, Va. - Senior Jay Joyce gave Loyola a one-goal lead with 12 minutes left in regulation, but No. 5 Santa Clara responded with two goals inside the final nine minutes of play to defeat the `Hounds 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in Fairfax, Va.

"We were 10 minutes away from defeating No. 5 Santa Clara," says Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick. "I give them a lot of credit. They are a good team and had to score a couple of tough goals to win."

A very well played first half featured a strong defensive effort from Loyola. Highlighted by the play of goalkeeper Greg Peters, the `Hounds weathered an early offensive push from Santa Clara to gain some confidence against the 2003 Final Four participant. An excellent save in the 14th minute and good defensive play from freshman Ray Hassett, who made his first collegiate start, kept the game scoreless the entire half.

"The defense in front of me was awesome," says Peters. "Coach Mettrick had us in a perfect match-up man defense, the midfield was going crazy and all I had to do was control the box."

The Greyhounds settled in on the offensive side in the 25th minute and nearly scored when sophomore Danny Wheelan sent a cross to a diving Kevin Nash. The header attempt just missed, but minutes later, Wheelan found sophomore Omar Alfonso, who took Loyola's first shot of the game. The shot sailed left of the goal, but the momentum was no longer with the Broncos.

Santa Clara began the second half as the aggressor, but Peters' sixth, seventh and eighth saves gave the Greyhounds an opportunity to take the lead late in regulation. It was in the 77th minute that senior Chase Franklin led senior Jay Joyce with a cross in front of the goal. In full stride, Joyce beat Bronco keeper Kent Harkness, becoming the first person to score on Santa Clara in four games this season.

"Chase [Franklin] and me practice that play all the time," says Joyce. "Once it went in, I really thought we were going to beat Santa Clara. We were all feeling very good."

The Broncos dampened Loyola's spirits four minutes later with Peter Lowry cleaning up a loose ball just inside the 18. A deflated Loyola squad would, which played solid all day, found itself trailing for the first time at 85:22 when Jeff Scott converted his shot from the same spot as Lowry's goal in the 82nd minute.

Santa Clara won the stat battle with 16 shots and five corner kicks and most importantly improve to 4-0 this season. The Greyhounds are now 2-2 and face another Top-5 team this Wednesday when they face Maryland at College Park.

"This was obviously a disappointing result," says Peters. "But if nothing else, it shows us that we can play with anybody."