No. 1 Loyola finally wins more respect

April 11, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

For Loyola, the No. 1 ranking has just one meaning -- it is still undefeated.

The Greyhounds (7-0), the only undefeated Division I team, received 10 of 11 possible first-place votes to take over the top spot for only the second time in school history. Princeton, which held the top ranking for the previous three weeks, lost to Brown on Saturday, allowing Loyola to climb one spot.

"We're excited to be No. 1, but all it means is that we are still undefeated and everyone else has lost," Loyola coach Dave Cottle said. "It really means nothing except the worst we can finish now is 7-5."

The ranking might be considered meaningless with five games remaining, but it shows that the Greyhounds are gaining more respect. With the loss of three players that accounted for more than 50 percent of its offense, Loyola was not projected to be at the top of the rankings.

"We've beaten some quality opponents, but I don't think they thought we'd be this tough," said Loyola goalkeeper Tim McGeeney. "We've tried to stress that people think we're soft. But our coaching staff has made us more tough on defense."

Loyola was last ranked No. 1 in 1992 -- but not for long. On the day that the rankings were released, the No. 1 Greyhounds fell to Syracuse, 12-5, at the Fleet Tournament.

Hopkins' top scorer hurt

The Johns Hopkins' offense could be facing a serious problem.

While still having difficulties finishing their shots, the No. 6 Blue Jays' plight could be compounded with the possibility of losing leading scorer Terry Riordan (26 goals, six assists) for an extended period. The junior attackman left the first period with an injured thumb. It will be determined today whether the thumb is broken and how long Riordan will be sidelined.

In his absence, senior Casey Gordon (Gilman) had three goals and two assists in the Blue Jays' 15-8 win over Army on Saturday.

Schedule upends Princeton

The schedule could be Princeton's worst opponent this season.

The No. 3 Tigers opened the season with impressive wins over Johns Hopkins, North Carolina and Virginia, but needed to stay focused against the lesser Division I teams of the Ivy League. In the week it faced the most competitive teams in the league -- Yale and Brown -- Princeton players had their theses due.

"It just so happens to be a quirk with the schedule being that way," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney, whose Tigers lost to Brown, 7-6, on Saturday. "But no one should take anything away from Brown."

Virginia on a roll

No. 2 Virginia is off to its best start in three years and got one first-place vote yesterday.

The Cavaliers scored all six goals in the fourth quarter to defeat North Carolina, 16-6, on Saturday. It is the largest margin of victory for the Cavaliers over the Tar Heels in 12 years and ended North Carolina's 27-game home winning streak.

"We have exceeded my expectations," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "I wouldn't have been prepared to tell you that earlier this season."

One of the main reasons for Virginia's strong play is three-year starting goalie James Ireland.

"When I saw [Princeton goalie Scott] Bacigalupo, he impressed me," Starsia said. "But I haven't seen anyone, at any point this season, play as well as James is playing right now."

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