In their first year in the conference, the Broncs capitalized on two defensive mishaps in overtime to upend eight-time defending league champion Loyola, 2-0, yesterday in the MAAC title game at Curley Field.
The Greyhounds (9-10-2) had won every MAAC tournament game -- a 17-game winning streak -- since joining the conference in 1989. Loyola also recorded its first losing season since 1980, coach Bill Sento's first year.
Rider (14-5-1), which was a member of the Northeast Conference last year, won its ninth consecutive game in advancing to face Dayton in an NCAA tournament play-in game Saturday.
"It hasn't hit yet," Sento said. "It's going to really hurt when I start thinking about it the next few days."
After 92 minutes of scoreless play, the Greyhounds faltered. Trying to push the ball out of its defensive end, a Loyola back misplayed the ball in the air to Rider forward Mark Bennett, who volleyed it into the goal from 20 yards out 2: 42 into overtime.
Rider sealed the game 20 minutes later when Bennett slipped wide open into the box, settled a deflected ball and scored on an 8-yard shot.
"Both times they scored were both times we didn't have them marked up," Loyola goalkeeper Dave Frieder said. "A good team scores on those."
The game turned for Loyola a minute into overtime, when Broncs goalkeeper Keith Richardson made a diving save. It appeared the ball slipped from Richardson's grasp and Loyola midfielder Kevin Alvero slammed in the loose ball for the game's first goal.
But the referee ruled that Richardson still had his hands on the ball when Alvero kicked it, negating the goal. Less than two minutes later, Bennett scored the game-winner.
"I didn't think he had it," Alvero said. "I think it changed the rhythm of the game to their side."
North Carolina 4, Maryland 0: Top-ranked North Carolina won its ninth straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title, getting two goals from Tiffany Roberts to beat Maryland at Wake Forest's Spry Soccer Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The dominating Tar Heels (22-0-1) outshot Maryland (12-8-3), 20-1, while recording their 18th shutout of the year. Robin Confer and Cindy Parlow each added a second-half goal to complete the scoring.
Roberts scored the only goal North Carolina would need at the 22nd minute from 7 yards out following assists from Confer and Parlow.
Hartford 8, Towson 0: Stine Bohle scored three goals and Maria Kun added two, as the 11th-ranked Hawks (18-1-1) extended their 12-game winning streak by pounding the Tigers (14-6-1) in the American East tournament championship in Burlington, Vt.
Pub Date: 11/10/97