Oct. 28, 2009
After completing the regular season with a 13-4-2 record and a perfect 9-0-0 mark in conference play, the Loyola Greyhounds are poised to continue their success in the upcoming MAAC Championship and advance to their seventh NCAA College Cup. The Greyhounds finished the regular season unbeaten in its last 11 games (10-0-1), the third-longest undefeated streak in program history.
There is no doubt this team has separated itself from previous Greyhounds teams in years past - and with three straight victories at the conference championships - a 14 game-unbeaten streak will be the longest in Loyola history.
Loyola is once again the top seed this year after winning the MAAC regular season title last season with a 7-0-2 record. After defeating Canisius in the semifinals the Greyhounds fell 3-0 to Fairfield in the Championship game. The defeat helped Loyola learn what it has to do differently to make up for last year's disappointment.
The Greyhounds will have the added benefit of being a veteran group with eight seniors, including co-captain Theresa Ferraina, a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalist . Ferraina is second on the team in both points (15) and goals (6) this season and ranks third and fourth all-time in those categories at Loyola. Ferraina is also the only current player at Loyola to score in the NCAA Tournament with a game-tying score at Virginia in 2007.
Despite a league and career-high nine shutouts recorded by senior goalkeeper Brittany Henderson this season - six of which have come in conference play - Henderson is not alone in the backfield. A stellar starting backfield of seniors Heather Cooke and Amanda Meehan, juniors Lina Staropoli and Kelly Thomas and freshman Lauren Norcia have held MAAC opponents to just 3.33 shots on goal per game.
Another reason the Greyhounds have been so successful this season and look to improve in the future is the solid play of the freshman class, including high-scoring forward Nichole Schiro. In her first season on campus, Schiro sits atop the MAAC in points (16), goals (6) and game-winners (4) in conference play.
After earning the top seed in the MAAC Championships, Loyola has an opening-round bye and will face Manhattan at 1:45 p.m. The Jaspers shutout Rider, 1-0 Thursday to advance to the quarterfinal match. Friday at the Disney Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Rider was victorious against Manhattan in the schools' regular-season matchup.