Sept. 22, 2012
CHICAGO - Loyola University Chicago men's soccer played to a scoreless draw in double overtime against conference foe Valparaiso on Saturday night at Brown Field. Playing in their first meeting since Loyola won the 2011 Horizon League Championship, the Ramblers and the Crusaders put on a thrilling match, battling hard for a game-winning opportunity.
The Ramblers opened the game with their backline holding firm against a relentless Valparaiso offense as senior goalkeeper Peter McKeown worked to provide support in goal. The Crusaders earned a 7-0 edge in shots heading into the break, leaving Loyola looking to regroup.
"We weren't good enough in the first half," said assistant coach Stan Anderson. "Valparaiso moved the ball quickly and we adjusted, but at times they caught us. All the credit to the Crusaders, they had the better play in the first half. At the end of the day Peter [McKeown] kept a clean sheet in the first half, organizing and solving enough problems to get us to the intermission. From there, things changed a lot for us."
And a lot did change for the Ramblers as freshman Daniel Hare took the first shot of the night for Loyola in the 50th minute, with Valparaiso goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck making the save. Ten minutes later, freshmen Dane Bergstrom and Jake Savino posted back-to-back shots on goal. Savino's shot was enough to earn a corner kick after being deflected by the Crusaders' backline. Sophomore Brian Bement took the kick, sending the ball to freshman Richard Lenke who powered a shot to the Valparaiso goalkeeper in the 61st minute.
The offensive opportunities developed during the second half were not enough to get a goal on the board for the Ramblers, however, and with the game scoreless, the teams entered into overtime.
Loyola earned two corner kicks at the start of the first overtime, creating chances up top for the Ramblers. Sophomore Andrew Raymonds took a hard shot on goal in the 94th minute, but Valparaiso was there for the block. Bergstrom was up next, launching a shot on goal to no avail as the Crusaders' goalkeeper made the save.
It was in the 104th minute that Loyola had the biggest opportunity of the game. Countering a Valparaiso set piece, Lenke took possession for the Ramblers, sending a ball down the field to Bement on a breakaway. Bement drew the Valparaiso goalkeeper 25 yards out, chipping the ball towards an open net, but the shot fell just wide of the post.
"Unfortunately we didn't finish a few opportunities, but we were much more dangerous, keeping the ball more and creating more in the second half," said Coach Anderson. "We're getting better and developing more looks at goal. We're looking forward to being back home on Saturday and excited at the opportunity to have a lot of student support out at Hoyne."
Loyola returns home to prepare for its next match against Horizon League opponent Milwaukee on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Loyola Soccer Park. The Ramblers will host the Panthers at 7 p.m.