The Loyola Greyhounds were on familiar ground yesterday, in more ways than one.
Not only were the Greyhounds playing on Curley Field, but they also were back in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament final for the fifth consecutive year.
They looked right at home on both counts.
Goals by senior midfielder Cara Mooney and freshman forward Alison Yankanich hoisted third seed Loyola over No. 4 Siena, 1-0, for its second league title in the program's five-year history.
Loyola (13-5-1), unbeaten in 11 of its last 12 games, positioned itself for yesterday's win by upsetting No. 2 Fairfield, 1-0, in the semifinals. That avenged last year's championship loss to the Stags on penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation.
"The Fairfield game was big for us. We knew if we could get by them, we were where we wanted to be," said coach Dave Gerrity.
"Then, we'd take care of business."
That meant taking care of Siena (7-11-1), which is 0-5-2 in its series with Loyola. Last month, the Greyhounds received goals from three different players in a 3-0 win at Albany, N.Y. Last year, they defeated the Saints on penalty kicks in the MAAC semifinals.
In both instances, Erin Gilroy was a major factor in Loyola's success, but the conference's Goalkeeper of the Year was more spectator than spectacular yesterday until making two diving saves midway through the second half. She was replaced by senior Mary Clark with about four minutes remaining.
Gilroy, a junior from Melville, N.Y., whose 21 career shutouts -- including 10 this season -- are a school record, was given the lead at 31: 32. Mooney took a throw-in from sophomore Jaime DeSoto and blasted a shot from about 22 yards into the upper right corner of the net, where Siena goalkeeper Maria Theodorou had no chance.
The Saints, who had upset top seed St. Peter's in the semifinals, failed to become the first team to defeat Loyola at Curley Field this season. The Greyhounds were 9-0-1 at home.
Pub Date: 11/11/96