Dec. 16, 2003
Baltimore, Md. - Two Final Four teams from this season and an Opening Day match with Princeton University highlight the 2004 Loyola College men's soccer schedule. The Greyhounds, who won the regular season conference title, yet failed to advance to the NCAA tournament, have once again improved their strength of schedule and will face the nation's top teams this coming season.
"Our goal is to compete in the national tournament and against national caliber programs," says Loyola Head Coach Mark Mettrick. "This means we need a very competitive schedule. I think the schedule is designed to give us as many opportunities as we can to qualify for the NCAA postseason in 2004."
The Greyhounds open the year with Princeton at home on Friday, September 3. They host George Mason two days later and then travel to Fairfax for George Mason's tournament. With 2004 being Loyola's season to sit out at the Battle of Baltimore, the Greyhounds replace the likes of UMBC and Towson with Santa Clara, a Final Four team this season, and play them at the GMU Tournament. Santa Clara finished the year with a No. 4 ranking in the national polls.
A few days after facing Santa Clara, the 'Hounds play their second Final Four team in three days when they go to College Park for a mid-September showdown with national-power Maryland. The Terrapins ended the season with a No. 3 national ranking after holding the No. 1 spot for most of the year. After playing Maryland, Loyola returns home for a match with a strong William & Mary team and ends the month with Ivy power Pennsylvania before diving into conference play.
"We essentially have two schedules," says Mettrick. "Our conference and non-conference schedules. We obviously want to win both and get to the playoffs."
Last season, Loyola won the regular season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship, but fell to St. Peter's in the MAAC Final. The Greyhounds finished with an 11-7-3 overall record and did not make the NCAA tournament. St. Peter's went on to defeat Brown before falling to Michigan in the second round.
Loyola will host St. Peter's, Manhattan, Marist and Siena this season and also faces non-conference powers like American, an NCAA tournament team in two of the past three seasons, and Robert Morris, a Northeast Conference playoff team.
"I'm very happy with this schedule," says Mettrick. "I'm really looking forward to some good matches."
2004 Loyola Men's Soccer ScheduleSept. 3PRINCETONSept. 5GEORGE MASONSept. 10vs. Robert Morris (at GMU Tournament)Sept. 12vs. Santa Clara (at GMU Tournament)Sept. 15at MarylandSept. 18WILLIAM & MARYSept. 25at RiderSept. 29PENNSYLVANIAOct. 8at IonaOct. 10at FairfieldOct. 15ST. PETER'SOct. 17MANHATTANOct. 20at AmericanOct. 23PHILADELPHIAOct. 29at NiagaraOct. 31at CanisiusNov. 5MARISTNov. 7SIENANov. 12-14MAAC Championships