Baltimore, Md. - The Loyola men's soccer team completed a truly brilliant season with 19 wins and 17 shutouts and their 14th trip to the NCAA postseason. The Greyhounds, who captured both the regular season and MAAC tournament titles, also hosted their first NCAA Tournament game since 1993 with a number of talented youth and one of the nation's strongest defenses.
Loyola started the season on the road with wins at Princeton and Fordham, before returning home to host the Black and Decker Soccer Classic in early September. The Greyhounds won their tournament with two shutouts, most impressive, however was a 3-nil victory over Charles Street rival Towson in the tournament finale.
A third straight home victory over George Washington, highlighted by Jamie Darvill's game-winner in the 87th minute, got the year off to a 5-0 start. The Greyhounds would then depart for three straight road games, which commenced with a 1-0 win at Hofstra, but turned into a pair of tough one-goal losses to Gonzaga and Oregon State in the Oregon State Soccer Tournament.
Loyola returned to the East Coast with confidence, however, and ran off six straight shutout victories - the first of which came against UMBC. The Greyhounds were on a roll, outscoring opponents 11-0 during the six-game win streak. A loss at Saint Peter's in late October, however, refocused Loyola's effort for the remainder of the season.
The Greyhounds took pride in working hard and came to practice each day with that mentality. Following their loss to league foe Saint Peter's, the Greyhounds would play more determined than ever - and would not lose again.
Not only would the Greyhounds not lose in the final month of the season, they would also not surrender a single goal. A pair of 3-nil victories over Rider and Canisius got Loyola back on the winning track and a 1-nil win over Niagara closed out the regular season with Loyola earning the conference's regular season crown.
The `Hounds traveled to Florida for the MAAC Championship Tournament. As the No. 1 seed, Loyola drew Siena in the first round and won 2-nil. They played Canisius in the semifinals, and just like they had done in the regular season, Loyola managed a 3-0 victory to set up a re-match with Saint Peter's in the MAAC Championship Game.
Loyola avenged their only conference defeat of the season by winning the MAAC Tournament with a 1-0 win over the Peacocks. Head Coach Mark Mettrick was named MAAC Coach of the Year, while sophomore co-captain Tennant McVea was the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year.
The Greyhounds, ranked first in the North Atlantic Region, earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup. Saint Peter's, showing the league's strength in 2007, also earned a bid as an at-large team.
Loyola's opponent in the first round was Liberty, and more importantly, the Greyhounds would host for the first time since 1993. True to their regular-season form, the Greyhounds shut out Liberty behind five saves from sophomore goalkeeper Milos Kocic, and advanced to face Maryland in the second round at College Park.
The second-round match turned out to be a classic. The Greyhounds and Terrapins battled back and forth with Loyola having the better of the scoring opportunities, but unlucky bounces kept the teams scoreless after regulation and two overtime periods. A penalty-kick shootout, however, awarded Maryland the ability to advance and ended Loyola's season with a 19-3-1 overall record.
Here are some of the accomplishments of the Greyhounds in 2007
Loyola ended the year ranked No.1 in the country in team shutout percentage (.740) and team goals against average (0.47).
Goalkeeper Milos Kocic ended the season ranked as the country's top goalkeeper in goals-against average (0.47), and second in the nation in save percentage (.889).
Freshman Phil Bannister ended the season as the nation's top freshman scorer. Bannister scored 13 goals and registered 33 points in his first season of college soccer.
Goalkeeper Milos Kocic and the Greyhounds tied the school record for most shutouts in a season with 17. The record tied Zach Thornton and the 1993 Loyola squad.
Loyola's 19 wins also tied the 1993 team for most school wins as a Division I program.
The Greyhounds hosted their first NCAA Tournament game since 1993. Both years, Loyola came away with shutout victories.
The NCAA Tournament appearance was Loyola's 14th as a program and sixth in Division I. Three of those six appearances have come under Head Coach Mark Mettrick's tenure at Loyola. His teams have advanced to the second round twice and the Round of 16 one time.
Mark Mettrick was named MAAC Coach of the Year for the fourth time after leading the Greyhounds to their sixth regular season MAAC title in eight seasons.
The Greyhounds ended the season ranked No. 1 in the North Atlantic Region. Loyola also finished ranked No. 28 in the CollegeSoccerNews poll and received votes in the NSCAA Coaches poll.
Loyola was also 10-0 at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field with nine shutouts on their home turf.
Sophomore goalkeeper Milos Kocic also earned first-team All-MAAC honors. Senior Camilo Correa, junior Josh Taylor and freshmen Phil Bannister and Eddie Dines were second-team honorees. Freshman Glenn Leitch was named to the MAAC All-Rookie squad, while Greg Howard was named Academic All-MAAC.