Nov. 6, 2003
ORLANDO, FL - First-half goals by senior Jay Joyce and sophomore Nate Lyden proved to be all the offense Loyola would need in its 2-1 win over Iona at the 2003 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Quarterfinal on Thursday. Loyola, the regular season conference champion and No. 1 seed, advances to play Marist in the MAAC Semifinals on Saturday morning.
Playing through wet conditions at Disney's Wide World Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., the game turned into one of the most physical battles of the year. The Greyhounds came out strong and made every shot count, connecting on both of their shots in the first half.
The first shot and score was set up by junior Kevin Nash and Nate Lyden. Two passes found Joyce in front of the cage. The Loyola senior controlled the ball for half a second before turning around and firing a shot into the upper right corner of the cage.
"It was an even game from the beginning," says Joyce. "I really felt like that goal turned the momentum our way. It definitely settled us down and helped us focus on the game."
Twenty minutes after Joyce's goal, the Greyhounds struck again with Lyden taking a beautiful feed from freshman Omar Alfonso in the 33rd minute.
"Omar [Alfonso] made a nice move," says Lyden. "Two guys collapsed on him and when my guy left me, he slipped the ball through and I had the breakaway."
Loyola's 2-0 edge was challenged, but freshman Justin Chelland played a spectacular game in goal. Chelland made 10 saves, including six in the second half.
"He [Chelland] had a couple of difficult shots on this slippery surface," says Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick. "He managed to keep hold of the ball and not let any rebounds. Justin did very well today."
Iona shot 14 times and scored on a penalty kick in the game's 67th minute. The Gaels end their season with an overall record of 6-11-3. The Greyhounds improve to 10-6-3 on the season and will Marist, the No. 5 seed at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Marist defeated No. 4 Siena by a 3-0 score today. The Greyhounds and Saints are joined by No. 3 St. Peter's and No. 10 Rider in the semifinal bracket.
"That was a real battle," says Mettrick. "I'm proud of our guys for getting through it. Iona gave us a good contest and a day off will help us. Right now, we're happy to have advanced."