Nov. 5, 2004
Junior Nate Lyden scored two goals and Loyola claimed its sixth consecutive regular season MAAC championship by defeated Marist 2-0 on Friday afternoon at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. The Greyhounds improve to 8-0 in the conference and reach the 10-win plateau for the sixth straight year.
"A 10-win season is something you cannot take for granted at the Division I level," says Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick. "We played very well today and came away with the result we wanted."
Lyden scored the game's first goal and his first goal of the season after a shot from sophomore Danny Wheelan set up a Loyola corner kick. Wheelan took the corner and Lyden controlled the ball at the six before shooting far post. The goal, scored at 26:18, gave the Greyhounds a 1-0 lead they would take into halftime.
Loyola, which outshot Marist 6-4 in the first half, stepped up its offensive intensity in the second half, outshooting the Red Foxes 12-4 in the final 45-minute stanza. Lyden missed a golden opportunity less than four minutes into the period after his windy 20-yard dribble resulted in an open look. His shot missed near post, but the Greyhounds were just getting started.
Junior Vinnie Piscopo looked like he would double Loyola's lead in the 66th minute when he broke away from the Marist defense. One-on-one with goalkeeper Mike Valenti, Piscopo shot wide of the cage. Sophomore Omar Alfonso, in similar fashion, had an open look directly in front of the cage, but his wind-aided shot sailed left of the goal.
Senior Kevin Nash came even closer to scoring when freshman Camilo Correa sent a cross that Nash nailed off the post in the 70th minute. It would be Lyden, however, who made the play of the day, beating two Marist defenders and lobbing a shot over Valenti's head.
"It wasn't a high-percentage shot," says Lyden. "But sometimes those go in."
The Greyhound defense made sure Lyden's two goals would stand, registering their third shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Justin Chelland finished with three saves and drops his goals-against average to 0.97. Lyden, who has eight career goals, had never scored more than one goal in a game entering Friday's match.
"It feels great to contribute," says Lyden. "I lost my starting job before the season started but have really worked hard to get another chance. I think the whole team is working hard and I like where we're going."
Loyola is now 10-5-1 on the season after winning seven of its last eight games. The Greyhounds close the regular season on Sunday when they host Siena at Alumnae Field. Loyola already owns the No. 1 seed in next weekend's MAAC tournament, but can finish 9-0 in the conference for the first time since 2001 - the year Loyola advanced to the NCAA Round of 16.