Loyola downs Liberty in 1st round of NCAAs

The Baltimore Sun

The NCAA men's soccer tournament first-round matchup between Liberty and Loyola was delayed briefly yesterday because the Flames couldn't find their jerseys.

When the game started, Liberty, like most of the Greyhounds' opponents this season, couldn't find the back of the net as host Loyola prevailed, 2-0, at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.

It was the Greyhounds' 16th shutout in 22 games this season, and they remain No. 1 in the nation in team shutout percentage.

Loyola coach Mark Mettrick reminded his team during the week about the "giant-killers" in every NCAA tournament and that there is no reason the Greyhounds couldn't adopt that role. Loyola (19-3) will get its chance against one of the Goliath programs in college soccer Wednesday when it travels to College Park for a second-round game against Maryland.

"I was very pleased to get the result and very pleased about the program getting a home game," Mettrick said. "Our defense has stood tall all season, and it came through again today. I thought we won the game in the first half."

Loyola midfielder Julian Cantillo set up the first goal off a corner kick when he drove the ball into a crowd of players inside the penalty area. The ball found Eddie Dines on the near post, and he scored on a header with 22:05 left in the half.

The Greyhounds extended their lead when Phil Bannister scored on a rebound from about 3 yards after a shot by Camilo Correa was saved by Flames goalkeeper Paul Gilbert with less than four minutes left in the half.

Liberty (13-5-2) pushed forward in the second half and got several opportunities but had trouble putting the ball on goal. Liberty forward Joshua Boateng, who was the Most Valuable Player of the Big South Conference tournament, had his best opportunity with 8:40 left in the game when he collected a loose ball inside the penalty area, but his shot from about 8 yards out was stopped by a diving Milos Kocic (five saves).

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