Nov. 16, 2008
Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - The sixth-ranked Loyola men's soccer team suffered its first defeat of the season in a 1-nil setback against Fairfield on Sunday in the MAAC Championship at Leonidoff Field.
Fairfield's Jack Burridge scored the game's only goal in the 26th minute on a header from six-yards out.
The loss snaps Loyola's national-best 27-game unbeaten streak, and prevents the Greyhounds (18-1-1 overall, 9-0 MAAC season) from becoming the first team in the 26-year history of the MAAC to go undefeated in the entire regular season and then win the conference tournament.
The third-seeded Stags (11-7 overall, 6-3 MAAC season) scored the match's only goal at the 25:03 mark of the first period on Burridge's game-winner. Fairfield's Todd Rutledge dribbled to the right-side of the box, and then played a short cross into Burridge at the six-yard mark, who headed the attempt past goalkeeper Milos Kocic. Kocic got a hand on the shot but couldn't prevent the ball from going in.
The top-seeded Greyhounds had numerous chances to get the equalizer, none better than in the 61st minute. Midfielder Daniel Ankrah slid a pass across the box to forward Phil Bannister at the six-yard mark. Bannister put his shot on frame, but Stags' keeper Justin Burse made a nice sliding block of the attempt.
Loyola's Eddie Dines, playing in his first match in over a three weeks, had another good opportunity at the 71st minute to put his team on the board. He had a ball played into him in a crowded Fairfield box. He found enough space though to make a nice turnaround shot, but the attempt was blocked by Burse.
At the 78th minute, Loyola earned a corner kick. Charlie Hutton's service was played into the box, which resulted in a mad scramble. The ball found an open Tennant McVea, whose shot sailed over the crossbar.
McVea had another shot with three minutes remaining off a cross into a very congested box, but his attempt was pushed wide left.
Fairfield Matthew Uy nearly doubled his team's lead with two minutes remaining on a breakaway chance, but the shot sailed high and left.
Loyola's final gasp came with twenty seconds remaining. Hutton played a ball into the box, but Burse grabbed the service and ran out the clock, earning the Stags the MAAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Greyhounds outshot Fairfield, 11-8, for the match. Kocic had three saves.
Named to the All-Tournament team from Loyola was McVea, Bannister and sophomore midfielder Mike Deasel.
Loyola will now wait until Monday night to find out its draw in the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds, coaches, students and administrators will be hosting an NCAA College Cup viewing party. In the mold of an NCAA March Madness party, the event will take place tomorrow at 5 o'clock p.m. at McGuire Hall on Loyola's campus. The selection show is broadcast on ESPNews at 6 p.m.