Nov. 5, 2008
Baltimore, Md. - The sixth-ranked Loyola men's soccer looks to cap off an unbeaten regular season on Saturday as the Greyhounds head to Lawrenceville, N.J., to face Rider for a 2 o'clock start.
The Greyhounds, who clinched the MAAC regular-season title last weekend, hope to finish off the program's first unbeaten regular season since 1986. That year the Greyhounds-coached by Bill Sento- went 15-0-4 in the regular season before falling to Duke in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola (16-0-1 overall, 8-0-0 MAAC) carries a national-best 25 match unbeaten streak into Saturday's match. That mark is five wins shy of the program's all-time record of 30, which the '85-86 teams also set, respectively.
The Greyhounds moved up to No. 6 in three national polls on Tuesday and are only one of two remaining unbeatens in the country, with the other being top-ranked Wake Forest. With a win on Saturday, Loyola will go undefeated in MAAC season play for the fifth time under Head Coach Mark Mettrick (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008) and the tenth time since joining the MAAC in 1989.
The team is coming off a 3-nil victory over Manhattan on Sunday. Junior forward Jamie Darvill found the net three times for Loyola en route to the program's first hat trick since the 2003 season. He converted a penalty kick early in the match and doubled up minutes later on a rebound effort. The elusive hat trick came in the 52nd minute on a breakaway effort assisted by Mike Deasel.
Darvill again proved to be the difference in the team's 1-nil decision over Saint Peter's on Friday, as he scored the lone goal in a very competitive matchup. He received plenty of acclaim this week for his efforts. College Soccer News selected him as a National Team Selection of the Week while Top Drawer Soccer named him National Player of the Week. He was also honored as the ECAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week and the MAAC Offensive Player of the Week. Defender Josh Taylor was also selected by the MAAC as Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
Using statistics as a barometer, the Greyhounds occupy both a national Top-Ten offense and defense. The Greyhounds rank third in scoring offense with 2.35 goals-a-game. Darvill spearheads the unit with 2.12 points a game (fifth nationally), while sophomore forward Phil Bannister stands 17th with 1.73. Along with Darvill (36) and Bannister (26), both sophomores Glenn Leitch (11) and Daniel Ankrah (10) have cracked double digits in points.
With 10 clean sheets, the Greyhounds' defensive unit ranks eighth in shutout percentage (0.59) and 14th in goals-against-average (0.64). Goalkeeper Milos Kocic stands eleventh in save percentage (.0866).
Rider ( 2-14-2 overall, 1-7 MAAC ) is on a four-game slide, losing to Saint Peter's, 1-nil, and Manhattan, 3-2, in its last two games. Both Andrew Cotes and Nico Tramontana lead the Broncos with nine points each on the season.
Match time between the teams is scheduled for 2 o'clock Saturday at Rider Campus Field.