Nov. 12, 2004
Lawrenceville, N.J. - Against all odds, the Loyola men's soccer team battled back with one-man down to tie Friday's MAAC Semifinal at Rider. In the end, however, the Broncs proved to be more advantageous and eliminated the `Hounds with a 3-1 upset.
Playing in putrid conditions, the muddy pitch would dictate play for the entire 90-minute match. The Greyhounds threatened early as senior Kevin Nash managed the game's first shot in the second minute of competition.
Nash, with virtually no footing beneath him, missed a golden opportunity in the 17th minute when sophomore Omar Alfonso skidded a nice pass to him from the top of the box. Nash shot high and the game remained scoreless.
Rider put the first points on the board when Sandro DeChristofaro knocked in a rebound at 22:15. Playing with a one-goal lead on its home surface, the Broncs packed in the defense led 1-0 at halftime.
The Greyhound rally looked even more improbable when a second yellow card sent off freshman Camilo Correa in the 62nd minute. The `Hounds responded in the most unlikely way, shifting the game's momentum in the 67th minute, when sophomore Rade Kokovic powered a direct kick past Rider keeper Daniel Riverso.
The Greyhounds regained control of the match, taking nine second-half shots to finish the game with 13 total shots and seven shots-on-goal. The Broncs, with their backs to the wall, used an opportunistic counterattack to take the lead at 74:30.
Despite taking only two second-half shots, DeChristofaro scored on both and accounted for all three of Rider's goals. The Greyhounds finished with a seven shot advantage and five more corner kicks, but ended their championship run on the muddy and barely playable Rider turf.
Loyola, which won its sixth straight regular season MAAC title, closes the season with an 11-6-1 overall record while Rider advances to Sunday's Championship Game against Marist with a 6-13 overall mark.
Kokovic ends his sophomore campaign as the team's leading scorer with five goals, nine assists and 19 points. Nash ends his collegiate career with 16 goals while seniors Chase Franklin, Jim Gottermeyer, Jay Joyce, Brian O'Connor and Greg Peters end a highly successful four-year run with a 52-20-9 record under Head Coach Mark Mettrick.