On Sept. 17, the women's soccer program at Loyola reached the pinnacle of its five-year existence, earning its first Mid-Atlantic regional ranking. That night, the Greyhounds suffered the second of three consecutive defeats, 3-1 at Navy, and tumbled from the poll.
They've picked themselves up, however, building a 9-4-1 record and seven-game unbeaten streak. The Greyhounds had four consecutive shutouts until Sunday's 7-1 rout of Iona, which improved their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference record to 4-0-1.
Though they've received votes, the Greyhounds haven't broken back into the rankings. But with two MAAC games remaining, they have a chance at the No. 1 seed in next month's conference tournament.
"We got in and out of the poll pretty quick, but it was exciting for us," said fifth-year coach Dave Gerrity (54-30-10). "It was a big deal."
Loyola's defense, which includes junior keeper Erin Gilroy, freshman sweeper Amy Goetzinger (John Carroll), senior Stephanie Roberts (Severna Park) and sophomore Meryl Friedermann, has been a big problem for opponents. The Greyhounds have eight shutouts and have allowed two goals in the past seven games.
Loyola is the host school for the MAAC tournament, and the Greyhounds will try to avenge last year's championship-game loss to Fairfield. They had won the regular-season title but fell to the Stags in the final on penalty kicks to finish 10-6-4 overall.
Goal One is NCAAs
Last fall, UMBC's volleyball team set one goal: winning the Big South Conference championship. But the Retrievers appeared to fall short when they trailed No. 1 seed and host North Carolina-Greensboro, 13-10, in the fifth and deciding game of the tournament final.
It looked so bleak that Greensboro's public-address announcer urged the fans to refrain from storming the court after the Spartans had won.
The crowd remained in the stands, then headed for the exits -- the picture of dejection after UMBC had run off five straight points to cap an improbable rally and claim the school's first Division I league title in any sport.
Afterward, UMBC's Catherine Lavery said winning the Big South championship was "the biggest thrill that I've had as a coach." But the Retrievers seem intent on topping it with something even bigger -- a berth in the NCAA tournament.
They were denied that last year after losing to Central Florida in the NCAA play-in match. But this season, in spite of a schedule that is the most challenging in the program's history, the Retrievers are rolling again.
Going into yesterday's match against Liberty, they were 20-4 overall and 6-1 in the conference, and ranked No. 10 in District III. They had won 19 of their last 20 matches, and nine in a row, one short of the school single-season record they set earlier this year.
In last week's five-game win over Towson State, sophomore setter LaNae Baker had 79 assists to break her school mark of 68, and had a school-record 25 in the first game. She ranks second in the Big South with 11.8 assists per game, first in hitting percentage at .366 and third in digs at 3.6.
Sophomore Lisa Cline leads the Big South with 3.81 kills a game and is third in hitting percentage at .331. Senior Dana Eberly is second in blocks at .94 and hitting percentage at .345.
Maryland junior defender Leo Cullen is among the 15 finalists for the Missouri Athletic Club Sports Foundation's Collegiate Soccer Player of the Year Award, to be presented Jan. 10. Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Kerrie Cathcart (10 goals, 24 points) broke her women's soccer single-season records for goals and points. Towson State's women's soccer team, at 8-5, broke the school record for victories in a season. At 9-2, Towson State's women's tennis team was four victories shy of tying the school single-season record going into this weekend's America East tournament. The Loyola women's volleyball team's 10 victories surpass its combined total of the past two seasons. The Greyhounds are closing in on their first MAAC tournament berth since 1992. Bowie State safety Ray Cannon had at least one interception in the last three games going into today's meeting with Fayetteville State, and five for the season. Johns Hopkins FTC senior lineman Jim Wilson has at least a half-sack in the past five games, and has 8.5 this season.
Pub Date: 10/26/96