Oct. 22, 2008
After two weekends of road Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action, the Loyola women's soccer team returns to the friendly confines of Diane Geppi-Aikens Field Friday on a season-high eight-game unbeaten streak.
The Greyhounds host Niagara on Friday at 4 p.m. and Canisius on Sunday at 1 p.m.
At 3-0-2 in MAAC play, Loyola remains the only unbeaten team in the conference. The conference, however, remains tightly packed. The top four teams in the regular season - standings are determined by points with three awarded for a MAAC win and one for a tie - will advance to the MAAC Championships next month.
Siena, Fairfield, Canisius and Niagara are tied with 12 points, while Loyola stands a point back.
"Every game during the MAAC season, from the first to the last, is like a playoff game," Head Coach Katherine Vettori said. "There is no room for letdowns in this conference."
The team went 1-0-2 in its recent three-game road trip and is now 5-0-3 in its last eight.
Last Saturday, Loyola posted a 0-0 tie at Rider in a match that the Greyhounds had several unlucky breaks.
The team posted 23 shots against the Broncs -- 10 of them were on goal -- but none were converted to goals. Loyola hit four crossbars, and one goal was called back after a foul.
Loyola has upped its defensive prowess since conference play commenced, allowing only one goal in five conference matches for a 0.20 goals-against average. The Greyhounds' five shutouts are tied for third in the MAAC.
Niagara (11-4-1, 2-0 MAAC) comes to Evergreen on a three-game winning streak after a 2-0 homestand. The Purple Eagles blanked Manhattan, 2-0, and disposed of Saint Peter's, 4-1, last weekend. Forward Chiara Greco netted six points in the two victories on her way to earning conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The Purple Eagles boast an explosive offensive, ranked second in the league in goals-a-game (1.94; 31 goals in 16 games). Three of Niagara's players rank among the top-10 in conference goal scorers.
Canisius (9-3-3, 4-2-0 MAAC split a pair of contests last weekend, blanking Saint Peter's, 4-nil, while falling to Manhattan, 2-1. The Golden Griffins, who head to Rider on Friday, are tied for second in the MAAC in goals allowed-a -game (0.87) and third in goals scored-a-game (1.93).
"Our seniors have been a huge part of this program," Vettori said. "They are tremendous, not only as players, but as leaders and people. Their time at Loyola is winding down, but they are going to be women who make a difference in no matter what they do in life."
Game times are scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.