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Women's Soccer Wins MAAC Title, Caps 2007 Season With Sixth NCAA Trip
Dec. 11, 2007
The Loyola College women's soccer team entered the 2007 season with one major goal, win the MAAC Championship and earn the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup.
After a pair of 2-0 victories in the MAAC Tournament: Mission Accomplished.
Loyola defeated Fairfield in the MAAC Semifinals, then downed Marist by the same score in the Championship Game on the Red Foxes' home pitch, sending the Greyhounds back to the NCAA College Cup.
The NCAA appearance was Loyola's sixth all-time and first since the 2004 season.
A NCAA College Cup First Round date with the University of Virginia was next on the Greyhounds' calendar. Loyola held the Cavaliers scoreless for the first 50 minutes of the game, then tied the score at 1-1 on a junior midfielder Theresa Ferraina goal in the 53rd minute.
Virginia, however, scored the final three goals of the season, ending Loyola's season with a 4-1 loss. The Greyhounds finished with a 10-6-6 record.
Loyola was rewarded for their solid play throughout the season, earning several individual honors from national outlets, as well as the MAAC.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Henderson earned MAAC Defensive Player of the Year honors after finishing the season with a MAAC-best 0.97 goals against average. She allowed just 20 goals in 20 games played and recorded eight solo shutouts, along with two shared shutouts.
Henderson was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week four times during the season and earned SoccerBuzz Magazine Elite Team of the Week laurels on September 10 after she helped the Greyhounds defeat then No. 24 Wake Forest and tie Virginia Tech.
Sophomore forward Christina Gomez was named to the SoccerBuzz Magazine Elite Team of the Week on November 12 after scoring two goals and adding an assist in the MAAC Championships.
Freshman midfielder Lina Staropoli and freshman forward Kelly Farrell were each named the MAAC Rookie of the Week on an occasion, as well.
The trio was part of a defensive unit that allowed just 22 goals over the span of the season and had the best goals against average, 0.99, of any team in the conference. The Greyhounds posted a conference-best 10 shutouts.
Two other Loyola players - junior midfielder Lea Day and junior back Heather Cooke - were named to the All-MAAC Second Team, while three Greyhounds earned MAAC All-Rookie Team honors - freshman back Kelly Thomas, Staropoli and Farrell.
Henderson also picked up the MAAC Championships MVP award and was one of five Greyhounds on the MAAC All-Tournament Team. She was joined by Gomez, Day, McGrath and Moller.
Loyola demonstrated that it has achieved considerable success in the classroom, as well as on the field. Ten players earned MAAC All-Academic honors: Day, Ferraina, Gomez, McGrath, Moller, sophomore midfielder Colleen Kinealy, senior midfielder Brittany Marano, sophomore back Amanda Meehan, sophomore forward Rachel Shuck and sophomore midfielder Andrea Toro.
As a result of excellent team defense, the Greyhounds did not allow a goal for the entire month of October and held opponents scoreless for a stretch of 766 minutes from September 30-November 2.
The team's seven shutouts in a row was the third-longest in program history, four fewer of the school-record of 11 in 2000 and one less than the eight posted by the 2004 team.
With only two seniors from this year's MAAC Champions leaving the program - McGrath and Marano - Head Coach John Byford will have a solid core of players on the field for another run at the NCAA College Cup in 2008.