Nov. 4, 2012
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Loyola University Maryland's women's soccer team took a 2-0 lead midway through the second half and held off a late rally by host Marist College to defeat the top-seeded Red Foxes, 2-1, and win the program's 10th Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon.
The title secured the third-seeded Greyhounds (12-5-4 overall) a spot in the NCAA Women's College Cup for the eighth time.
Gigi Mangionewas named the MAAC Championships Most Valuable Player for the second time in her career -- she also earned the honor in 2009 after Loyola won the title -- after converting on a first-half penalty kick and assisting on the game-winning goal.
Schiro scored what would hold up as the eventual game-winner in the 72nd minute of the match.
"We came out ready to play in the first half, but finished it out with fouls," said head coach Katherine Remy Vettori. "In the second half we weathered the storm, and made the play from Gigi Mangione to Nichole Schiro."
Mangione set up the goal by taking a defender into the right corner before cross a pass back into the box where Schiro finished it from eight yards out to push the Greyhounds up, 2-0.
Marist (15-7) made it a one-goal game exactly three minutes later when it scored on an own goal as the ball crossed the line off a Loyola defender.
"A one goal lead was no cushion, in a matchup like this," said Vettori. "We had to play hard the last fifteen minutes to maintain our lead."
With seven minutes to go, the Greyhounds dodged a potential game-tying goal when an apparent Marist score was called back due to a Red Foxes' handball.
Mangione staked the Greyhounds to a 1-0 lead midway into the first period, converting on a penalty kick at 22:02.
Haracic made five saves in goal for the Greyhounds, helping the Greyhounds overcome a 19-7 shot differential.
"I'm so excited to be back at practice tomorrow, and find out who we will be paired with," said Vettori. "Our goal is to win the next game, and continue playing in the following week."
Loyola will find out its NCAA First Round opponent and location of the game on Monday, November 5, during the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Selection Show at 4:30 p.m. (EST). Click here to watch a live stream of the selection show.