Women's Soccer Starts Conference Play Today Versus Iona

Oct. 3, 2008

Six weeks of preparation to begin the 2008 season has put the Loyola women's soccer team in great position to enter its most important five weeks of competition.

After seeing several bounces go the wrong way despite solid efforts, the team enters Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play today on the strength of two-straight wins to close non-conference play last weekend.

The Greyhounds defeated 28th-ranked Villanova, 2-1, last Friday and topped American, 1-0, on Sunday.

Today, Loyola opens MAAC competition at 4:30 p.m. against Iona. The Greyhounds then host Fairfield on Sunday at 1 p.m.

"This is the part of the schedule that we work very hard to prepare ourselves for," Head Coach Katherine Vettori said. "I like the momentum that we have going into MAAC games, but I am more pleased with the way that we have played in the last few weeks."

Last weekend, the Greyhounds needed a complete effort for the full 90 minutes to defeat Villanova.

Christina Gomez scored on a direct kick, and Kristina Balfoort knocked in a header off a Lina Staropoli corner kick to put Loyola ahead, 2-1, against the Wildcats. However, Villanova had a great opportunity with a hard shot from the top of the box with under five seconds remaining in the game.

Brittany Henderson made a diving save of the shot to preserve the victory.

On Sunday, center backs Sarra Moller and Heather Cooke led Loyola's defense to a 1-0 shutout of American, the Greyhounds first blanking of the season.

Theresa Ferraina bent in a corner kick in the first half to provide the only scoring for Loyola.

In addition to the excellent play of the Greyhounds midfield and backs, Henderson earned MAAC Defensive Player of the Week honors after the performance.

Through nine matches this season, Ferraina lead the Greyhounds with four goals and three assists for 11 total points. Balfoort has scored three goals, and Staropoli is tied with Staropoli for the team lead with three assists.

Iona (1-10) picked up its first victory of the season last Sunday, 2-1, over NJIT. The Gaels, however, has played a series of close matches that have gone the other way, including narrow a 2-1 loss to Hartford and a 1-0 defeat at Sacramento State.

Fairfield (7-2-2) lost its first game since August 22 on Tuesday, falling 1-0 at Princeton on a goal in the final 10 minutes of play.

The Stags posted two ties, 2-2 against Connecticut and 0-0 versus Harvard, prior to the match against the Tigers. Fairfield plays at Rider today prior to coming to Loyola.

Both matches will be played at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field, and admission to all Greyhounds women's soccer matches is free.