Nov. 19, 2007
Baltimore, Md. - Loyola College's men's soccer team was one of 16 nationally picked to host a NCAA College Cup First Round match.
The Greyhounds (18-3) earned the automatic bid from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship yesterday with a 1-0 decision over Saint Peter's.
Loyola will host Liberty University on Saturday, November 24, in a 1 p.m. match on Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. The winner of the match will face the College Cup's No. 13 seed, Maryland, on Wednesday, November 28, at 5 p.m. in College Park, Md.
"We are very pleased, number one, to be in the tournament," Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick said. "Also, it is great for our program to host the first round game. We hope for good support, and this is a great opportunity for us."
Loyola last hosted a NCAA Tournament match in 1993 when the Greyhounds beat James Madison in the first round and lost to Virginia in the second.
"This is our first time hosting since '93 so it speaks to the quality of this team and the season we have had," said Director of Athletics Joe Boylan. "We deserve to host after the season we have had, and we look forward to the opportunity to hosting on a national stage."
Loyola's 18 wins are the most the program has had since that 1993 squad finished with a 19-3-1 record. The Greyhounds will play in their 14th NCAA Tournament, and their seventh at the NCAA Division I level.
"This is great for the young guys on our team," said Tennant McVea, the team's co-captain and the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year. "It is great to see the buzz that everyone has from the win yesterday.
"We are enjoying ourselves. Now we can just concentrate on winning games and going as far as we can in this tournament."
Liberty (13-4-2) advanced to the College Cup for the first time in school history by virtue of winning its first Big South Conference Tournament title. The Flames, who entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, defeated fourth-seeded Radford, 2-1, yesterday.
The Greyhounds were the preseason No. 2 pick in the MAAC, but a youthful squad finished its conference regular season with an 8-1 mark, and then did not allow a goal in the conference championships.
"It is remarkable that we had so many young players contribute this year," Mettrick said. "I have said before it doesn't matter how old you are; it's about how good you are. They have played very well, and now they will have the test of the tournament."
McVea added, "Coming into the season, we viewed it as a building year, but the boys have worked very hard, and we deserve this."
In addition to McVea's honor as the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Phil Bannister was named MAAC Rookie of the Year, and Mettrick garnered MAAC Coach of the Year honors.
McVea was joined on the All-MAAC First Team by goalkeeper Milos Kocic, who played every minute in goal this season and recorded 13 shutouts. Bannister, Eddie Dines, Camilo Correa and Josh Taylor earned All-MAAC Second Team laurels.
Kocic was tabbed as the tournament's MVP after not allowing a goal in the three wins. He was joined on the all-tournament team McVea, Dines, Bannister and Janson Blake, who scored the game-winner in the championship game.