Men's Soccer Opens Season Saturday At Saint Francis (Pa.)

Aug. 22, 2012

Game Information
Opponent Saint Francis (Pa.)
Date Saturday, August 25, 2012
Time 2 p.m.
Location Loretto, Pennsylvania | Stokes Soccerplex
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Quick Kicks
• The Greyhounds will begin their 70th season on Saturday at Saint Francis (Pa.).

Season Openers
• Loyola is 44-21-4 in season openers and 20-11-2 since joining Division I in 1979.
• Under head coach Mark Mettrick, the Greyhounds are 7-4-1 in openers.
• In last year’s opener, the Greyhounds downed Adelphi, 1-0, on the road.
• This marks the third-straight season Loyola has opened the year away from home.

Loyola Greyhounds
• Loyola is coming off a season in which it finished the MAAC play in third place with a 5-3-1 record. The Greyhounds compiled a 10-6-2 overall record though, knocking off in-state rivals Towson and UMBC at Ridley Athletic Complex.
• This season, the Greyhounds were picked to finish third in the MAAC, while Gerwyn Jones and Stephen Dooley were selected to the Preseason All-MAAC Team.
• Dooley and Connor Thompson will be the teams top returning scorers, while Loyola’s entire back line - Jones, Kevin Curran, Jamie Libby and Jamie Tweddell - all return to the starting lineup.
• The Greyhounds also welcome six newcomers to the roster - Jordan DiLapo, Kieran Ensor, Andri Freysson, Dominic Marshall, Max Moog and Larry Ndjock.

Saint Francis (Pa.) Red Flash
• Saint Francis (Pa.) was picked to finish third in the Northeast Conference preseason coaches poll. Defending champion Monmouth enters the year as the heavy favorite to capture the title again, while Fairleigh Dickinson garnered two first-place votes and is slated to be season’s runner-up. The Red Flash and Sacred Heart each picked up one first-place vote and come into the poll ranked third and fourth, respectively.
• SFU finished 2011 with six conference wins and in fifth place.
• Seven starters return from last year, including All-NEC selection James Price and the team’s leading goal scorer Pablo Medina.

Up Next
• Loyola will return to Baltimore for its home opening weekend. The Greyhounds will host La Salle as a part of a doubleheader with Loyola’s women’s soccer team Friday night. The Greyhounds will face the Explorers at 6 p.m., before facing on Cal State Northridge on Sunday at 1 p.m.

MAAC Preseason Poll
• The Greyhounds were picked to finish third in the annual preseason coaches poll.
• Fairfield was chosen as the favorite to win the 2012 MAAC men’s soccer title, collecting seven first-place votes and 96 points. Iona nabbed three first-place votes and is predicted to finish second with 92 points, while the Greyhounds earned 82 points.
• Marist was selected fourth with 57 points, followed by Siena (53), Niagara (52), Manhattan (38), Canisius (31), Saint Peter’s (27) and Rider (22).

Preseason All-MAAC Team
• Senior Gerwyn Jones and junior Stephen Dooley - first-team All-MAAC selections a year ago - were both named to the 2012 Preseason All-MAAC Team.
• Jones, a back, is earning his second-straight preseason all-conference honor. A two-time All-MAAC First Team honoree earned second-team All-North Atlantic Region honors last year. He started and played in 16 games, scoring the game-winning goal against Towson. He also had a header to tie the game against Iona.
• Dooley, a forward, is the team’s top returning scorer from a year ago. A first-team All-MAAC honoree, Dooley was also named to the MAAC All-Academic Team after finishing second on the team with six goals and 16 points. The Portstewart, Northern Ireland native shared the team lead with four assists and had at least one point in six of the Greyhounds’ eight conference games. He scored his first career goal at Navy and notched the game-winning goal at Siena, while also converting three penalty kicks.

Team Captains
• Seniors Kevin Curran and Gerwyn Jones will return as starting members of Loyola’s back line and will both serve as team captains this season.
• Curran, a team captain a year ago, has been a starter all three years as a Greyhound and has notched one goal in three seasons, while tallying 11 assists.
• Over the summer, Curran returned to New Jersey to play with the Ocean City Nor’easters in the United States Premier Development League for a fourth-straight off-season. Curran helped the defense break a club record in conceding only 13 goals in 16 games, en route to a 13-3-0 record. The squad won the PDL Mid-Atlantic Division for the third time in franchise history and claimed the Eastern Conference regular-season title. The purpose of the league - the top amateur league in North America - is to put players in a professionalized environment and help them progress to the next level.
• Jones, a two-time All-MAAC First Team honoree is the squad’s top returner. The Caernarfon, Wales native earned NSCAA All-North Atlantic Region honors last year and was included on the Preseason All-MAAC Team this year.
• This summer, Jones had an opportunity to visit, practice and train with Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. Sporting KC’s head coach, Peter Vermes, played one season for the Greyhounds in 1984.

Key Returners
• The Greyhounds return all four starters on defense - seniors Kevin Curran, Gerwyn Jones and Zach Tweddell, in addition to junior Jamie Libby. The defense combined to post eight shutouts last year, tying for the most in the MAAC. The Greyhounds also finished the season tied for second in the league with an 0.94 goals-against average.
• Offensively, the Greyhounds return two of their top three goal scorers in junior Stephen Dooley and sophomore Connor Thompson

• The Greyhounds welcome six newcomers to the squad this year - Jordan DiLapo (Orchard Park, N.Y.), Kieran Ensor (Emerson, N.J.), Andri Freysson (Njarðvík, Iceland), Dominic Marshall (Hartlepool, England), Max Moog (Morristown, N.J.) and Larry Ndjock (Berlin, Germany).

Diversity On The Roster
• While eight Greyhounds hail from the state of Maryland, Loyola is also represented by six other states (New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Missouri, Rhode Island, Virginia), in addition to having at least one player from England, Germany, Iceland, North Ireland and Wales.
• The Greyhounds’ coaching staff also features diversity, as head coach Mark Mettrick comes from Manchester, England. Assistant coach Matt Dwyer is also from the UK, hailing from Foulridge, Lancashire, while assistant coach Bryan Harkin is a native of Northern Ireland.
• Volunteer assistant coach Zach Thornton is a Maryland native.

Thornton Returns As Volunteer Assistant
• Former Greyhound All-American Zach Thornton has joined the program as the volunteer goalkeeping coach for the 2012 season.
• Thornton was a two-time Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year and former national team member. The Baltimore native was named to the MLS All-Star team six times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2009) throughout his career.
• He also won four U.S. Open Cups with the Chicago Fire (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006) and played in three MLS finals, winning the MLS Cup in 1998.
• In 2009, he was named Chivas USA’s Team MVP, MLS Best XI, MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
• As a Greyhound, Thornton earned dual NSCAA All-America honors, including a first-team nod in 1993, after transferring from Essex Community College. He was also an All-American midfielder for Loyola’s lacrosse team and was inducted into the Loyola Hall of Fame in 2003.

MAAC Championships
• The 2012 MAAC Championships will return to Loyola’s Ridley Athletic Complex for the second time in three years on Thursday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 10.
• The three-year old venue is a 6,000-seat stadium that will host the top four teams during the MAAC regular season for the semifinals on Thursday. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday. Times will be announced at a later date.
• Loyola has appeared in the MAAC Championships in each of the last 23 years since joining the conference in 1989, and the Greyhounds have reached the Championship Game 16 times, winning 12. The 2012 Championships will mark the eighth time Loyola has hosted the MAAC Men’s Soccer Championships.