Greyhounds Travel to Hawthorne Suites Hokie Invitational

Sept. 4, 2007

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Take Two: Loyola takes to the road for the second week of its season, as it travels to Blacksburg, Va., for the Hawthorne Suites Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech. The Greyhounds play two teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference at the event, kicking things off with a neutral-site contest against Wake Forest on Friday, September 7, at 12:30 p.m. They then play the host Hokies on September 9 at 4 p.m. The matches will be played at the Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium.

The Last Time: Friday's game will be the second all-time between Wake Forest and Loyola. The Demon Deacons shutout the Greyhounds, 4-0, on September 14, 2007, at the University of Maryland Soccer Classic. Virginia Tech and Loyola will also play for the second time ever this weekend. The Hokies got the better of the Greyhounds in a 2-0 decision in 2002.

The Demon Deacons: Wake Forest split a pair of games last weekend at the University of San Diego Tournament. The Demon Deacons, who entered the season ranked 19th in the NSCAA/Adidas Top-25, lost their opener to San Diego, 2-1. Wake Forest rebounded, however, to beat Pepperdine, 2-0, in the tournament finale. Sophomores Caitlin Farrell and Allie Sadow scored in the team's win over the Waves, while Amy Smerdzinski tallied a goal against the Torreos.

The Hokies: Virginia Tech also split two contests on the opening weekend of the season, defeating Radford, 3-0, before falling to James Madison, 2-0. Marika Gray scored twice, and Heather Hallberg added another, for the Hokies in the shutout of Radford. Ashley Owens finished with five saves against the Highlanders. Virginia Tech then continued its road-trip with a 2-0 loss to the Dukes, who also beat Loyola in the Greyhounds season-opener. Gray led the Hokies with four shots, but none found the goal.

Fresh Faces: Two newcomers saw considerable playing time for the Greyhounds in the first two games of the season. Freshmen Kelly Thomas and Lina Staropoli both started and played the majority of both matches. Thomas was a key part of Loyola's defense, while Staropoli took a shot in the James Madison match from her spot in the midfield. Loyola's lineup was dominated by underclassmen in both matches. The Greyhounds started five sophomores and two freshmen in both games, along with three juniors and a senior.

Fast Ferraina Facts: Junior Theresa Ferraina led Loyola in shots during the first weekend of the season and scored the Greyhounds lone goal against Old Dominion. Ferraina used her speed to setup five total shots, three against the Monarchs.

Rewind: Loyola lost two close matches on the first weekend of the season, a 1-0 decision at home to James Madison and a 2-1 game at Old Dominion. The Greyhounds and their opponents were even on shots in both games, but James Madison found the goal in the 54th minute, and the Monarchs scored the winner in the 71st minute. Theresa Ferraina scored for Loyola in the 24th minute against Old Dominion on an unassisted goal.

All The Buzz: Loyola opened the 2007 season ranked 15th in the Mid-Atlantic Region by SoccerBuzz Magazine, but the Greyhounds fell out of the rankings after going 0-2 on the opening weeked of the season. Loyola is no "Receiving Votes" in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Greyhounds are slated to play five teams this year also regionally ranked by the publication in its preseason poll, including both this weekend. James Madison is picked 12th in the Mid-Atlantic Region, while Old Dominion checks in at 10th. Virginia Tech is ranked ninth in the region, while Wake Forest is seventh in the Southeast Region. Colorado College is 10th in the Central, and Fairfield, the only other MAAC team to be regionally ranked is 13th in the Northeast.

Preseason Picks: The Greyhounds were picked by MAAC coaches to win the conference title this year. Loyola received 93 votes, while Niagara and Fairfield were close behind with 87 and 86, respectively. Three Loyola players were named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team, backs Brynn McGrath and Sarra Moller and midfielder Lea Day.

Looking Back: Loyola finished the 2007 season with a 10-7-2 record and regular-season Metro Atlantic Conference crown. The Greyhounds, however, lost in the MAAC Semifinals to Siena, 1-0. Carolyn Kennington led the Loyola offense with 17 total points (6 goals, 5 assists), while Courtney Arikian had seven goals and two assists. Christina Gomez scored six goals and had four assists during her freshman season. Head Coach John Byford was named MAAC Coach of the Year, and 11 players earned postseason recognition from the conference. Arikian and Sarra Moller were named to the All-MAAC First Team.

Head Coach John Byford: The 2007 season will be John Byford's third as head women's soccer coach at Loyola. He has compiled a 25-14-2 record since taking over as head coach and is 17-1 in MAAC competition, winning conference regular-season crowns in each of the last two years. In 2006, Byford was honored by his peers as the MAAC Coach of the Year. Prior to his role as head coach, Byford was an assistant coach at Loyola for two seasons.