The Loyola men's soccer team absorbed its first loss of the season Saturday night when UMBC secured a 3-1 victory at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore.
It was a disappointing result, but it doesn't dilute the the Greyhounds's 5-1-1 start.
"I think if you look to the start of our season, you've got to say that it's been a very good start," coach Mark Mettrick said Monday. "We're 5-1-1. We played some away games in very difficult places. So, I'm pleased with the start.
"I think, overall, it's been a good beginning of the season for us. We realize now that it's all about the Patriot League and getting ready for our conference games. I think that was always going to be the best route to get to the national tournament. So we're hopeful. That's why the UMBC game was good for us, so that we could learn a lot about ourselves against a quality opponent."
The Greyhounds won't play an opponent until Saturday afternoon when Holy Cross (2-3-1) visits Ridley Athletic Complex in what will be the conference opener for both teams.
While there is something to the idea of playing soon after a loss to wipe away that memory, Mettrick said the time off will be more beneficial for senior forward Stephen Dooley and other teammates who are dealing with various bumps and bruises.
Loyola's upcoming schedule is also packed; they play Holy Cross on Saturday, James Madison next Wednesday and then travel to Colgate in upstate New York next Saturday.
"I think it's a good thing right now," Mettrick said of the week off. "We've played a lot of games in a short period of time. These seven matches, we were traveling up and down the East Coast to play some of these games at Connecticut and Philadelphia and the like. So I think it comes at a good time.
"Conference play is different. Everybody is up for it. It's like a new season. So we can get a little bit rested up for the next part of the season, which is pretty hectic, too. We're playing two games a week. ... So I think it's a good time for us to recuperate a little bit and get healthy and refocused."