Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action gets underway on Friday night when the Loyola University Maryland women's soccer team hosts Canisius at 7 p.m. on Awalt Field at Ridley Athletic Complex. Loyola opens MAAC play on a three-game unbeaten streak.
Loyola hosts a full weekend of soccer action at Ridley with the men's team taking on Adelphi at 2 p.m. on Saturday and the women's team wrapping up a MAAC weekend with a 12 p.m. match on Sunday against Niagara.
Canisius and Loyola will meet for the 21st time in school history and fifth time in the last three years; the Greyhounds and Golden Griffins have met in each of the last two MAAC Championships, in addition to their normal dates during the regular-season. Loyola has won each of the previous 20 meetings between the programs.
Sunday's game between Loyola and the Purple Eagles is a rematch of the 2009 MAAC Championship Game in which the Greyhounds rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Niagara, 3-2, and advance to the NCAA College Cup for the seventh time. Loyola holds a 19-0-1 all-time record against Niagara.
Last Time Out
For the second time in as many games, Nichole Schiro scored in overtime to lift Loyola to a non-conference victory last Friday night against Mount St. Mary's. The sophomore forward scored 3:12 into the extra period, giving the Greyhounds a 1-0 victory in their final regular season non-conference match of 2010.
Joie McLaughlin floated a pass from to the top right of the 18, which Taylor Bryant flicked right-to-left to Maggie Ebner. Ebner found Schiro at the top of the 18, and she took one touch to her right, eluding a defender, and shot from 16 yards out, sending a low one-hopper into the goal.
Loyola has played six-straight overtime matches, the longest streak of extra time games in school history. The Greyhounds are 3-1-2 in that stretch, and three of the contests have gone to double overtime.
The Greyhounds have played an extra 62 minutes, 54 seconds over the last six games.
Schiro Keeps Scoring
Nichole Schiro scored all three Loyola goals last week in a pair of Greyhounds victories against UMBC and Mount St. Mary's, boosting her 2010 season total to eight through 11 games.
Currently, she leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in goals scored and is one goal shy of tying her total of nine from her freshman season last year.
In just 1 1/2 years at Loyola, Schiro has scored 17 goals, tying her for 11th all-time with Lea Day (2005-08) and Linda Loshen (1992-1993) in career goals scored. Schiro has three multi-goal games (Towson, Missouri, UMBC) this season and three game-winning goals (Towson, UMBC, Mount St. Mary's).
Sophomore goalkeeper Danielle Ippolito earned MAAC Defensive Player of the Week honors on September 13 after making 19 saves against George Washington and La Salle. Ippolito saved 10 shots against Missouri and made four saves versus Saint Louis. The shutout against the Billikens was her second of the season.
Ippolito's 19 saves against La Salle and George Washington were the most over a two-game stretch by a Loyola goalkeeper since August 2008. Brittany Henderson made 19 saves versus Virginia and Old Dominion on August 22 and 31, but she also allowed seven goals in those games, while Ippolito gave up just one.
Ippolito posted her third collegiate shutout last Friday, making four saves in a 93-plus minute overtime victory against Mount St. Mary's.
Taylor Tacks On Assist
After missing the first seven games of the 2010 season with an illness, freshman Taylor Bryant has stepped in to the rotation for Head Coach Katherine Vettori. She has seen significant time in the midfield for the Greyhounds over the last four contests and recorded her first assist on Friday night.
Bryant collected a ball that was headed out of the 18 by a Mount St. Mary's defender and flicked it right-to-left to Maggie Ebner, setting up Nichole Schiro's game-winning goal.
Lina Staropoli has been named one of 30 candidates nationally for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award honors seniors who show exemplary merit in the classroom, competition, character and community.
Staropoli, a 2010 Preseason All-MAAC team member, assisted on Loyola's first goal of the season, a Kelly Farrell score in the 34th minute versus Towson. She also recorded an assist on a Nichole Schiro goal in the first half at Missouri. That assist was the 17th of Staropoli's career, moving her into a three-way tie for fourth all-time at Loyola with Ashley Kramer and Katie Elliott.
Staropoli needs one more assist to move into a tie for third at Loyola and two to tie for second.
In The Coaches Box
Katherine Remy Vettori starts her third season as the head coach of the Greyhounds, bringing a 29-16-9 career record to the sidelines at the start of the season. Vettori, who led Loyola to the MAAC regular-season and tournament titles last year, was named Anaconda Sports MAAC Coach of the Year in 2009.