Oct. 30, 2011
BALTIMORE, Md. - Junior forward Nichole Schiro scored late in the first overtime, giving the Loyola University Maryland women's soccer team a dramatic, 1-0, win over Saint Peter's on Sunday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex and sending the Greyhounds to the 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Championship.
The victory moved the Greyhounds to 7-11-1 overall and 5-3-1 in the MAAC, giving them a total of 16 points and the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament that begins Friday, November 4 at Ridley. Loyola will play the No. 2 seed Niagara at 7 p.m.
With Fairfield and Niagara tying in the early game on Sunday, the Greyhounds needed a victory in order to qualify for their 17th MAAC Championship appearance and did it in thrilling fashion with their first overtime win of the year.
Neither side was able to get on the board during regulation, despite the Greyhounds outshooting the visiting Peahens 23-0 during the first 90 minutes of action.
The Greyhound defense was outstanding, not allowing a single shot throughout the game and allowing very few scoring opportunities. The back four of Kelsey Rene, Kelly Santangelo, Jenny Thornton and Joie McLaughlin anchored the defensive effort, while Didi Haracic and Danielle Ippolito combined for the fourth team shutout of the season.
McLaughlin, along with managers Maggie Ebner and Kim Byrnes were honored in a pregame ceremony as Loyola honored the seniors after four years with the program.
Offensively, Loyola controlled the game, generating numerous opportunities throughout regulation but were not able to beat Saint Peter's keeper Caitlin Hoffer.
Hoffer made seven saves in the game and was helped once by a teammate and once by the post to send the game into an extra session.
Rene, Tessa McLenahan and Schiro each had quality chances in the first half, but were not able to capitalize. Rene had a header on a corner kick go off the crossbar in the 26th minute, while McLenahan had a shot of her own stopped by a Peahen defender just moments later.
Schiro had the best opportunity of the first half, breaking down the left sideline late in the frame and taking a shot from eight-yards out that was denied by a diving Hoffer.
Saint Peter's played strong defense throughout the contest and was forced to play a player down for most of the second half and overtime after Maria Tommasini was sent off in the 49th minute with a red card.
Loyola continued to control the game with the player advantage, but was unable to get on the board in the second half while taking seven shots and putting two on net.
The game would head to overtime, sending the Greyhounds into an extra session for the fourth time in the last five games.
After recording a hat-trick and breaking the Loyola career goals record on Friday night against Manhattan, Schiro played hero once again for the Greyhounds as she has done so often in her two-plus seasons in Baltimore.
Katelyn McFadden started the play, sending a ball down the left sideline to a sprinting Gigi Mangione. Mangione sent a cross with her left foot into the penalty area that was touched into the net by Schiro for her 11th goal of the season and second game-winner in the 97th minute of play.
The 11 goals are the fourth-most in a single season in Loyola program history and gives the junior 35 for her career.
The win sends the Greyhounds to their 17th MAAC Championship that will be hosted at Ridley Athletic Complex beginning on Friday, November 4. No. 1 seed Marist will play No. 4 seed Fairfield at 4 p.m., followed by Greyhounds and No. 2 seed Niagara at 7 p.m.