By halftime of Loyola's 5-1 soccer victory over Iona at Curley Field yesterday, there really was only one question to be answered:
Would visiting coach Bob Herodes get his second yellow card for misconduct and be ejected for the second time this season?
With Loyola (15-5) holding a 3-1 halftime lead, everything else seemed decided.
The top-seeded Greyhounds looked to be on their way to their seventh straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship as well as a spot in an NCAA tournament play-in against the Patriot League champion.
Lafayette, a 3-2 winner over Navy yesterday, will play host to Loyola in the play-in Sunday in Easton, Pa., tentatively at 1 p.m. The winner will go on to the 32-team NCAA tournament field.
But yesterday, Herodes, Coach of the Year in the MAAC, was at odds with the officials after his Gaels lost a 1-0 lead and watched Loyola go ahead 3-1 with three goals within 3:10.
Referee Paul Tamberino finally decided he had heard enough from Herodes. He flashed the yellow card to the coach.
"Nice color," snapped Herodes.
But from that point, the Iona coach confined his complaints mostly to inaudible grumbling from his seat on the bench. He survived the rest of the game.
"Loyola has a good team," Herodes said afterward, "but we let this one get away.
"We're a good team, too, when we come to play, but we only played for 30 minutes today. Our kids are young. They haven't learned yet what it takes to win at this level."
Iona, which was seeded second, ends its season with a 10-10 record and an 0-10 mark in the series with Loyola.
Bill Sento was pleased with the way his Greyhounds handled themselves after they fell behind early.
"The kids kept their composure," Sento said. "They played hard, especially starting with that three-goal explosion. We got excellent games from some of our seniors like Mike Barger, Dave Briles and Chris Doyle."
Marc Harrison, Loyola senior midfielder, had one assist to tie Stan Koziol for the school career record for assists with 29.
Iona's goal was scored 4:38 into the game by Stefan Miglioranzi.
Loyola's Briles, Barger and Bill Heiser then scored three goals in rapid-fire fashion. Barger's two second-half goals were the only scoring in the final 45 minutes.
After 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, Loyola and Fairfield were in a scoreless tie in the MAAC women's tournament championship game at Curley Field.
Next step: penalty kicks.
PKs, as soccer coaches and players call them, are hardly the most satisfying way to decide a championship.
But for the team that wins, PKs are a lot better than being declared co-champion, and the MAAC has ruled that they are better than sudden death.
Yesterday, Fairfield made its first three penalty kicks.
Loyola's first three PKs were saved by Fairfield goalie Christin Veach, who was the tournament MVP. That left Loyola with two remaining shots, so the visitors from Connecticut were declared 1995 MAAC champions.
"It's a shame to determine a championship that way," said Fairfield coach Dave Tanner, "but that's a tournament environment."
For Loyola, which has had a women's team for only four years, the loss was its third on penalty kicks in a championship game.
The Greyhounds, who won the title last year, lost on penalty kicks in 1992 to Iona and in '93 to Fairfield.
"That's been the story of our season," said Loyola coach Dave Gerrity. "We don't have a true goal-scorer on our squad.
"It's a letdown to lose on PKs, but we can't complain. We won on PKs Saturday against Siena to get to the championship game.
"Anyway, we won 10 games this year [10-7-3], and this was the fourth straight year we've been in the championship game."
Fairfield's goals were scored by Erin Caven, Mary Ann Sadowski and Heather Knight.
Veach saved the penalty kicks attempted by Melissa Martenak, Jaime DeSoto and Erin Wylde.