Oct. 27, 2004
Baltimore, Md. - The Loyola College women's soccer team finishes its regular season schedule at home this coming weekend by hosting Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents Niagara on October 29 and Canisius on October 31. The Greyhounds are currently on a nine-game winning streak and are undefeated in MAAC play as they look to claim the conference title for the fifth straight year.
"We have had a great run over the past few weeks," head coach Joe Mallia said. "It is attributed to the quality of our play and our player's ability to focus game in and game out on getting the job done."
Loyola started the season with a 3-3 record with wins over competitive teams William & Mary, Texas State and Saint Joseph's. The Greyhounds losses came at the hands of teams that were among the nation's leaders with #22 Villanova, #13 Texas and #3 Washington.
"Early on our schedule was very challenging and I believe it helps prepare us for the month of October and the all important tournaments at the end of the season," Mallia said.
With a 3-2 overtime win over James Madison on September 25, the Greyhounds started on the path to their current 12-3-0 record and their nine-game winning streak. The Loyola defense has shutout seven of those nine opponents and has allowed just three goals to their own 27 in those nine games. Over the entire 2004 season, Loyola has allowed just 13 goals to its own 45. Sophomore Kate Gilfillan has started in goal in the last nine games and posts a season goals against average of 0.33. She currently ranks sixth in the nation in that category. Gilfillan has a core of defensive support with veterans Lindsey Tracey, Ellen Sroka and Lisa Jaffa playing back.
"Recently we have played very well in the back and throughout the field defensively," Mallia said. "I would also attribute some of our defensive success to our ability to possess the ball."
Leading the way on offense for Loyola is junior Ali Andrzejewski with a total of 12 goals and six assists this season. She is followed by sophomore Carolyn Kennington with eight goals and six assists and junior Naomi Daniels with eight goals and five assists. All three already rank among Loyola's all-time leaders early in their careers. Kennington is currently fourth in overall scoring (50 points), third in goals (19) and tied for eighth in assists (12). Daniels is tied for ninth in scoring (42 points), is eighth in goals (15) and tied with Kennington at eighth in assists (12). Andrzejewski, after just 15 games with the Greyhounds, is tied for ninth in all-time goals with 12.
"This is by far the most balanced attack we have ever had in our program's history and it is a great comfort and something we cannot take for granted," Mallia said. "Again it comes from the focus and hardwork that everyone is putting in. As a program we are continuing to move towards the vision we have set for ourselves of national exposure and competing at a national level. Having said that there is nothing more important than what lies ahead for us over the next two weekends in our final two games of the season and our MAAC Championships."
Loyola has been consistently ranked in the top ten of the regional polls this season by Soccer Buzz and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. This week, the Greyhounds moved up from ninth place to eighth in the NSCAA poll and are ranked seventh by Soccer Buzz.
The Greyhounds wrap up the regular season at home this weekend, facing Niagara on Friday, October 29 at 3:00 on Geppi-Aikens Field and Sunday, October 31 at 1:00 on Alumnae Field. Sunday's game will be the last home contest for seniors Leigh Ann Mastrini, Jeannetta McGettigan, Erica Niemann, Ellen Sroka and Lindsay Tracey.