Dec. 3, 2008
BALTIMORE - After a spectacular campaign last year, expectations were high for the 2008 Loyola men's soccer team. The Greyhounds showed they were certainly up to the challenge though, going 18-2-1 and earning their second consecutive trip to the NCAA College Cup.
With the second-best scoring offense in the country and a stingy defensive unit, the Greyhounds went undefeated during the regular season for the first time since 1986 and stayed in the national top ten for six consecutive weeks in the NSCAA/adidas poll, jumping as high as No. 6. After winning the MAAC regular season and advancing to the Tournament Championship, the Greyhounds were rewarded with a No. 9 overall seed in the NCAA College Cup and a home game in the second round of the tournament.
Loyola got the '08 campaign underway at the Black and Decker Soccer Classic in Baltimore, posting a pair of 2-0 wins over Fordham and Hartwick. Junior forward Jamie Darvill scored three of his team's four goals en route to earning the Classic's Most Valuable Player award.
Heading on to the road to face their cross-town rival, Loyola earned a 2-1 win at Towson behind a pair of Phil Bannister goals. Back at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field the next match, the Greyhounds spelled Campbell, 1-nil, on an Eddie Dines goal in the 53rd minute, to push to 4-0
Leaving the metro Baltimore area didn't faze the 23rd ranked Greyhounds against George Washington, as the team traveled to the nation's capital and took care of the Colonials, 3-1, with three different players finding the net.
Neither Loyola nor William and Mary could dent the scoreboard in the next match, as the teams played to a 0-0 scoreless tie. Keeper Milos Kocic had three saves.
In celebration of the 1,000th match in the 66-year history of Loyola soccer, the team acknowledged the undefeated 1971 team prior to the Quinnipiac game. The Greyhounds and the Bobcats put on quite a show for the audience. Freshman Mark Jaskolski scored the game-winner with 31 seconds remaining to thwart a furious Quinnipiac comeback to give Loyola a 5-4 non-conference victory.
Midfielder Daniel Ankrah scored the only goal of the game against Niagara with 79 seconds remaining to give the defending MAAC champions a successful start to the conference season.
After cracking the Top Ten, the eight-ranked Greyhounds justified their latest bump with a pair of sizeable home wins. Loyola beat Marist, 4-1, behind two Bannister goals and dropped Siena, 3-1, courtesy of a Tennant McVea putaway and two goals by Daniel Ankrah.
In their next match, Loyola scored two goals in a span of five minutes in the second half to overturn a 2-1 deficit and take a 4-2 road win over Iona behind five points from Bannister.
In their final regular-season games in Baltimore, Loyola found that there is no place quite like home, clipping Saint Peter's 1-0 and Manhattan 3-0 over Halloween weekend. In Sunday's 3-nil match, Darvill scored all three of his team's goals. It was the first hat trick from a Loyola player in five seasons.
Holding a 16-0-1 record heading into the regular season finale at Rider, Loyola capped off a perfect campaign with a big 5-nil victory, with all of the goals coming in the first half. The win gave Loyola its second straight MAAC season title and sixth under Head Coach Mark Mettrick. It also put the finishing touches on the first Loyola undefeated regular season since 1986.
The Greyhounds earned the No. 1 seed in the MAAC Tournament in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and faced Niagara in the Semifinals. Loyola used three second-half goals to drop the Purple Eagles, 3-nil. Bannister scored a goal and added two assists in the match.
In the Championship match, Fairfield handed Loyola its first loss of the season, a 1-nil setback. The loss denied the Greyhounds from becoming the first team in the history of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to go undefeated in regular season and tournament play.
Loyola was rewarded with a No. 9 seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA College Cup. The Greyhounds hosted UNC Greensboro in Baltimore in the second round of the tounrmaent. Bannister scored an early goal and Loyola held an 11-1 shot advantage at halftime. But the Greyhounds couldn't sustain the momentum in the second half and fell in overtime, 2-1, ending a spectacular season.
Below are few of the accomplishments that the 2008 team was able to achieve:
-Loyola advanced to the second round of the NCAA College Cup for the second consecutive season, the first time since 1986-87-- when the Greyhounds advanced to consecutive quarterfinals appearances--that the feat has occurred.
-Loyola ended the regular season No. 10 in the final NSCAA/adidas regular season poll and spend six consecutive weeks in the Top Ten. Loyola also ended the season No. 1 in the final North Atlantic national rankings for the second consecutive season, going wire-to-wire atop the poll and never relinquishing the spot.
-With 19 wins in 2007 and 18 in 2008, the Greyhounds' 37 victories over the two-year stretch are the most in program history.
-Loyola ended the year ranked second nationally in scoring offense (2.33 goals a game). Junior Jamie Darvill, who was named to the top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Year, ranked eighth in points per game (1.86) and 17th in goals a game (0.67). Phil Bannister was 10th in points a game (1.86) and 16th in goals a game (0.86).
-Loyola went 9-1-1 at Diane Geppi Aikens Field this season. The team is now 19-1-1 in its last two seasons at Evergreen. Loyola ended the year ranked 10th nationally in shutout percentage (0.59) while goalkeeper Milos Kocic ranked 13th in save percentage (0.867).
-Loyola landed nine players on the All-MAAC Teams, with Mark Mettrick being named Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and fifth time in his career. Tennant McVea was selected MAAC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and Jamie Darvill was tabbed MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. Five Greyhounds earned spots on the First Team- Darvill, McVea, Bannister, Daniel Ankrah and Milos Kocic Steven Bantock and Mike Deasel earned second team selections and Ben Hanson and Mark Jaskolski were named to the rookie teams.
-The Greyhounds boasted a team GPA better than 3.0 while Phil Bannister was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All American Team for holding a 3.67 GP in accounting.
-The Greyhounds accumulated a national-best 27-match unbeaten streak during the season, combining with last season.
-Loyola earned a first round bye in the NCAA College Cup and hosted a tournament game for the second consecutive year.
- Loyola finished the regular season at 17-0-1, tied with top-ranked Wake Forest for the best record in the country.