Sept. 11, 2003
BALTIMORE, MD - The Loyola College women's soccer team has returned home after spending a stretch that had them on the road for 12 of 14 days. In that period, the 'Hounds spent eight days in South Florida and four in Baton Rouge, LA. Although they came away with 1-3 record over four games, the staff and players are optimistic about what the future holds for the program.
"We played very well in all of four of our games thus far this year," head coach Joe Mallia said. "Against Miami and LSU, we played some of the best soccer we've played in two years and dominated both teams for large stretches of those games. Credit to them because they found a way to win in both instances and that is the ingredient we need to find in our team."
The Greyhounds started their season off at Florida Atlantic University's Kickoff Classic, first meeting FAU and then facing Miami. Loyola took FAU into overtime but ultimately fell 2-1 to the host. The Hurricanes went on to defeat Loyola 2-0 in the next game but Mallia was upbeat from the get-go about him program. "I feel if we continue to play the way we played this weekend, with a tremendous amount of heart and drive, we will have a very successful season ahead of us," Mallia said.
In their trip to Baton Rouge, Loyola earned its first victory of the 2003 season with a win over McNeese State, 5-0 and Greyhounds then looked forward to facing the tournament's host, LSU in their next game. The two teams held each other scoreless for more than 85 minutes before the Tigers snuck two quick goals past Loyola's keeper Erica Niemann. Mallia was still confident by his young teams play. "We really worked hard today, a similar effort to our Miami game. We had opportunities to score but just failed to hit the back of the net," Mallia said.
"I believe Joe is one of the top coaches in the country right now and has proven that year in and year out," LSU's head women's soccer coach George Fotopoulous said. "Once again he has put together a fantastic team. As the coach of LSU, I was extremely impressed with the caliber and style of play with which the Greyhounds played against us. I felt fortunate to get away with a win after playing such a talented team."
"I am extremely proud of our play so far but what we need to do is finish the numerous quality chances we are creating and cut down on some of the goals we are giving away," Mallia said of his teams performance.
In the next two weeks, the Greyhounds will face several local opponents. Loyola travels to American Sat., Sept 13 and will then take part in the Maryland/adidas Classic with contests against Maryland and William & Mary.
Loyola is currently led by freshman Carolyn Kennington, who has scored three goals already in her first four collegiate appearances. Kennington has already gained recognition from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) by being named the Rookie of the Week on September 8. Kennington has played a large part in the opportunities Loyola has had to score in their first four games, taking 16 shots so far this season with 13 of those shots on goal.
Junior Ellen Sroka has also gained some early conference recognition by being named the MAAC Offensive Player of the Week. Sroka is second on the team in scoring with two goals and an assist.
"I am not excited about our record but I am excited by the potential we have," Mallia said. "We've talked about being able to compete and get results on any given day against nationally competitive opponents. Against Miami and LSU, we proved that we are capable of competing at that level. Now we need to find that way to win. We set a vision to compete at a national level, to accomplish this goal we must challenge ourselves with games against nationally competitive programs. Our next four games are an opportunity for us to grow. We are going to grow as individuals, a team and a program."