Men's Soccer Tops Rider In MAAC Opener

Sept. 25, 2004

Box Score

Lawrenceville, N.J. - Sophomore Rade Kokovic and junior Vinnie Piscopo scored first-half goals as Loyola earned a 2-1 victory at Rider on Saturday afternoon in Lawrenceville, N.J. The Greyhounds defeat the Broncs in the first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game of the year for both sides.

"We needed a win today," says Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick. "We were challenged today and I'm proud of the way our guys fought back."

Sophomore Omar Alfonso led the 'Hounds in their early charge, breaking away from the Rider defense for a shot-on-goal in the game's first minute. Jesse Forsythe made the save for Rider, but a penalty in the 18th minute set up a direct kick for the 'Hounds.

From about 19 yards out, Kokovic took the direct kick and fired a bullet to the left of the Rider wall, giving Forsythe no chance at the save.

"I knew I was going to score as soon as I saw the wall set up," says Kokovic. "It was a matter of finishing the shot, and boom, I scored."

The Greyhounds kept attacking the Broncs' cage, and despite being called for all eight of the game's offside penalties, doubled their lead in the 41st minute when freshman Camilo Correa sent a breakaway pass to a sprinting Piscopo.

Piscopo controlled the ball down the right side of the field and beat a prone Forsythe who dove left for the Piscopo shot. The 'Hounds had the 2-nil lead and owned a 5-2 edge on shots at halftime.

In the second half, Piscopo, Correa and Kokovic all missed on shots inside the period's first 10 minutes. After freshman Frank Spanos missed wide in the 68th minute, Rider countered with Lee Tomasso leading Adam Bailey to the goal. Bailey lofted the ball over the head Loyola keeper Greg Peters and the lead was cut in half.

Alfonso, however, stepped up his attack of the Rider cage and kept pressure on the Rider defense. He lead a Loyola front line that took 12 shots with four his own. The Broncs, who paid special attention to last year's MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, kept Alfonso off the board, but Loyola came away with its sixth straight victory over Rider.

The Greyhounds improve to 3-4 overall and are 1-0 in MAAC competition. They quickly return to non-conference action next Wednesday, hosting Pennsylvania at Alumnae Field in a 4 p.m. match.