Loyola advances in tourney, 1-0 Briles' goal ousts James Madison

Dave Briles scored the game's only goal early in the first half and Loyola's defense hunkered down behind Billy Harte and goalkeeper Zach Thornton, as the Greyhounds eliminated James Madison, 1-0, in a first-round NCAA tournament soccer game before 2,293 yesterday at Curley Field.

The victory sends the Greyhounds (19-2-1) into the round of 16 next week against two-time defending national champion Virginia, a 2-1 winner over William & Mary yesterday. The Cavaliers have won the national title three of the past four seasons.


The Greyhounds won behind a superb defensive effort, particularly from Harte and Thornton.

Harte, assigned to check leading scorer Brent Bennett, harassed him all day and did not allow him to take a shot.


Thornton, the top-ranked goalkeeper in the country, stepped up to make seven saves and record his school-record 17th shutout.

Briles put the Greyhounds over the top on an unusual play 3:18 into the game.

His throw-in triggered a shot that goalkeeper Brian Bailey (four saves) deflected. Briles followed up with a shot that bounced off Bailey and rolled into the right corner of the net.

"I threw it in and it ricocheted around and it popped back to out to me. I just wanted to drive in a little cross, hoping for a deflection from one of our players, but their goalie cut it off and it rebounded off of him and trickled into the goal," Briles said. "It was a bit of a lucky goal, but I'll take it as I get it."

After that fortuitous bounce, the Greyhounds pulled back into a defensive mode.

Thornton, sprawled on the turf, made back-to-back saves with 13 minutes left in the first half to preserve the lead.

In the second half, with the Greyhounds sagging around their goal, James Madison turned up the offensive heat.

The Dukes (19-2-1) had several good opportunities, but Thornton kept getting in the way.


Each team took 11 shots, and James Madison had seven corner-kick chances to none for the Greyhounds.

Harte's play set the tone for Loyola's defense.

Early in the first half, his relentless pressure prompted several complaints from Bennett to the officials. By the second half, Bennett was reduced to a passer.

"My job was not to allow this guy [Bennett] to do anything. He seemed to be their main guy the whole year," Harte said. "I just didn't let him do anything, and he got frustrated. But it was a total team effort. Our defense has really come through this year."

By the second half, the atmosphere on the field had become a tad nasty. Three yellow cards were levied. And with 10:32 left in the game, several players from each team engaged in a brief shoving match in front of the Dukes' goal, after Loyola's Tim Shields was tackled on a breakaway as he was preparing to shoot.

Bailey made two saves in the final seven minutes to keep the Dukes close, but James Madison could not crack the Greyhounds' defense.


"We had our chances, and to Loyola's credit, they got the early one and were able to put it away," James Madison coach Tom Martin said. "After they scored, they dropped back and defended in their half very well. When you play a team like that, how do you get behind them? Loyola takes away the space on the field very well."

Loyola coach Bill Sento said: "I was impressed with the way our players stayed with our plan. James Madison is an excellent club, and their forte is swarming in the midfield, winning balls and going forward. We were able to negate that by going in the air as often as possible and utilizing our strength, which is our defense.

"It may not have been a thing of beauty, but we went according to the plan. As usual, Zach cleaned everything up."

The Greyhounds, who have not lost at home in 27 games dating to 1991, probably will have to travel to Virginia. The site and time of next week's game will be determined today.

James Madison 0 0 -- 0

Loyola .. ... 1 0 -- 1


Goal: L--Briles. Saves: JM--Bailey 4; L--Thornton 7.