Aug. 20, 2008
BALTIMORE - With preseason practice wrapping up, the Loyola women's soccer team has turned its focus to a familiar opponent, actually the last team that the Greyhounds faced during the 2007 season.
Sixth-ranked Virginia hosts Loyola in its season opener and the first regular-season game of Head Coach Katherine Vettori's tenure with the program.
"We are excited to start the season, especially since we're playing at Virginia," Vettori said. "We had a lot of positive experiences during the preseason, and we're ready to test ourselves against one of the top teams in the nation."
Loyola traveled to face the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Va., in the first round of last year's NCAA College Cup. The Greyhounds tied the game at 1-1 with less than 35 minutes remaining, but Virginia pulled away for a 4-1 victory.
"I think it is a good thing for us to go back to Virginia for the first game of the year," Vettori said. "That was the last place that Loyola played in the NCAA Tournament, and it reminds us that getting back there is one of our top goals for the season."
The Greyhounds played two exhibition matches against area schools during the preseason, defeating George Washington, 2-0, and George Mason, 1-0.
Loyola returns 10 of 11 starters from a team that finished 2007 with a 10-6-5 record. The Greyhounds went 5-0-4 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play during the regular-season, but they picked up a pair of 2-0 victories in the MAAC Championships over Fairfield and Marist to advance to the NCAA College Cup for the sixth time in school history.
The Cavaliers are tied for sixth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Preseason Poll. Virginia advanced to the Final 16 of the NCAA College Cup last season after defeating Loyola and William & Mary in the first two rounds.