Oct. 24, 2008
BALTIMORE - elly Farrell beat two Niagara defenders in the corner and sent a hard cross across the box where Lea Day put a head on the ball, driving it into the back of the net, and the Loyola women's soccer team beat the Purple Eagles, 2-1, less than three minutes into overtime in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game on Friday afternoon.
The Greyhounds (6-5-4 overall, 4-0-2 MAAC) maintained possession in the first few minutes of overtime, but Niagara (11-5-1, 4-3-0) had an opportunity to clear the ball to midfield.
Theresa Ferraina, however, stepped to the Purple Eagles' clear and held the ball in. After maneuvering free of a defender, she sent the ball to Farrell in the far right corner.
Niagara sisters Jennifer and Laura Kimoto pinned down Farrell, but she slipped one and then eluded the other. Dribbling along the endline, she struck a hard, waist-high pass across the box to a waiting Day.
Day's strong header went well past of a diving Ashleigh Bowers and into the right side of the net 2:56 into overtime.
"We had a great team effort on offense in overtime," Head Coach Katherine Vettori said. "We battled for balls, and then Kelly Farrell made a great play in the corner to get around two defenders and send a perfect cross to Lea. She made a great play to leave no doubt about her header going in."
Niagara put the Greyhounds at an early disadvantage, as Erin Baker served a long pass that went past the Loyola defense. Stephanie Gartley ran onto the ball and beat Loyola goalkeeper Brittany Henderson one-on-one with a shot into the upper right portion of the goal, giving the Purple Eagles a 1-0 lead 8:55 into the match.
Loyola responded, however, holding off further Niagara advances in the first half.
With under five minutes remaining before halftime, Ferraina played a ball down the left side of the 18-yard box only to have it knocked over the endline by a Niagara defender.
Ferraina took the corner kick and sent it just outside the six. Keri Iheagwara made a play on the ball for Loyola, but it was deflected out to the top of the 18 by a Purple Eagles' defender.
Kelly Thomas settled the ball and took two touches before blasting a shot on goal. Bowers got her fingers on the ball, but Thomas' shot was too hard, and it went into the top left-corner of the net, tying the match at 1-1 41:35 into the contest.
The goal was the first of Thomas' career.
" `K-Tom' played a great game today," Vettori said. "Not only with her goal, but she was outstanding on defense. Niagara's two forwards are very difficult to defend, but our defense did a good job of slowing them down."
After a Emily McElroy header off a Niagara corner kick went just over the goal and away from harm, Loyola began to take the majority of the opportunities in the second half.
Bowers made saves on shots by Thomas and Ferraina, and Farrell took a bending shot from the top of the 18 that Bowers slid right to stop.
McElroy had another chance for the Purple Eagles in the 77th minute, but her shot slid just left of the goal.
With under a minute to play in regulation, Loyola had one of its best offensive chances of the match.
Ferraina beat her defender and started in one-on-one against Bowers. Her touch slid just out of reach, and Bowers was able to make a sliding stop of the ball before Ferraina could take a shot.
Loyola outshot Niagara, 14-5, and the Greyhounds put nine on goal to the Purple Eagles' two. Henderson made one save, while Bowers had seven.
"Our offense played well today, keeping a fairly constant amount of pressure on Niagara, especially in the second half," Vettori said. "Rachel Shuck and `T' (Ferraina) did a good job up top of making things happen."
The Greyhounds continue MAAC play on Sunday when they host Canisius at 1 p.m. Loyola will also honor its Class of 2009 - Kristina Balfoort, Day, Ferraina, Ashley Lunemann, Sarra Moller and Amanda Piccirilli - prior to the match.