Since 1984, the Loyola College mens soccer team has been undefeated against every in-state rival except the University of Maryland.
That trend continued yesterday when the No. 13 Greyhounds got energized in the second half and bested Towson, 2-0, to win the Battle of Baltimore Tournament before 600 sun-splashed spectators at UMBC.
Going into this, the expectations were not so great for our team, said Loyola goalkeeper Reb Beatty (Archbishop Spalding), who was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player. We lost six starters and the other three teams thought our No. 13 ranking might have been a little high. So, it was important to win it.
The Greyhounds (3-0) proved they still have plenty of talent and moxie after a sluggish first half. Forty-five minutes after the kickoff, the scoreboard showed no goals and no shots on goal for either team.
But at the 52:17 mark, Greyhounds freshman Scott Barnett served a cross-field pass to Fridays hero, co-captain Miguel Abreu, who nudged the ball in for the first goal.
We were just trying to crash, Abreu said. Somebody played the ball over top and it hit off my chest, and I just sort of chipped it.
Almost exactly 20 minutes later, John Dalziel scored on a direct free kick to ice Loyolas second straight title in the local tournament. The team won it last year when the event was named the Mason-Dixon Tournament. Towson fell to 2-2.
We had a good result Friday [a 3-2 overtime win over UMBC], but it wasnt the best of performances, said Loyola coach Mark Mettrick, whose team is 32-3-3 in its past 38 matches. Today, we were a lot more composed. We want to be the best team in Baltimore every year, start locally and build outward.
Loyolas defense clamped down on the Tigers biggest offensive threat, Machel Millwood, who was rationed to one of the teams five shots.
Our next one is to be the best team in Maryland, said Abreu, who was chosen for the all-tournament team with teammates Barnett, Bill Law and John Alecci (Loyola). The Greyhounds will get their shot Wednesday when they visit the Terps.
They played hard and were very persistent in taking the initiative, said Tigers coach Frank Olszewski. They pushed us back on our hands and continued until we broke. It wasnt one of those games where you wonder what happened. They deserved it.
In the consolation game, Navy (3-1) scored twice within the final two minutes to break a 1-1 tie and defeat UMBC, 3-1.
Dan Montgomery put the Midshipmen ahead at 88:12 after a nifty centering pass from Ryan Peters, and Matt Sanchezs second goal of the game put it away at 89:30.
UMBC (1-3) missed numerous scoring chances, outshooting Navy 17-6 until Derek McElligott (Greater Grace Christian) connected unassisted from 18 yards away.
Navy leads the series 15-3-1.