Loyola and Towson University hadn't played each other in men's soccer since 1990, but the Greyhounds picked up where they left off by beating the Tigers yesterday in the inaugural round of the Mason-Dixon Soccer Cup, 3-0.
Loyola (1-1-1), coming off a 2-2 tie against 11th-ranked Cal-State Fullerton, dominated almost every facet of the game and will meet the other semifinal winner, Mount St. Mary's, at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Towson University for the championship. The Mount (2-1-0) came from behind to tie Navy (2-1-0) in regulation at 1-1 and then won a shootout, 5-4.
The Greyhounds' zone defense of Mike Nelson, Arturo Lopez, Bobby von Bremen and Niall Lepper shut down Towson's three forwards, Machel Millwood, Todd Lauber and Alfonso DeMares, by giving them no space to turn, constantly winning balls, and then quickly igniting counterattacks. Towson, which kept backing up all game, was outshot by Loyola, 13-3.
Loyola's central midfielders, A. J. Oglivie and Juliano Adriano de Oliveira, displayed excellent ball control, quickness and ability to read the field.
"They controlled the midfield on us," Towson coach Frank Olszewski said. "They made the transitions and got behind us and were getting the ball in position to do damage. Our services were not what they should have been - either at the knees or forcing our guys to look over their shoulders."
De Oliveira scored the first goal in the sixth minute on a right-footed putback from 2 yards near the right post after a shot by Peter Kebis bounced off Towson goalkeeper Andy Hick's hand.
Towson (2-1-0) nearly tied it in the 16th minute, but DeMares' severe right-angle shot to an open goal skimmed off the crossbar at the far post.
"Them scoring that early goal was a factor," Olszewski said.
Loyola made it 2-0 on a picture-perfect play - a long cross by Nelson that Kevin Nash headed into the upper-left corner. And they added a third goal late in the game on a play down the middle from Mike Lynam to Jim Gottermeyer.
Loyola attacked down the middle the entire game and didn't get a corner kick until the final minutes.
"Our guys up top made good runs, found the seams, and gave them problems. Our defenders made good communication with us, and everyone just put it together tonight," said Oglivie, who injured a knee earlier this week but toughed out the game.
Loyola, defending Metro Atlantic Conference champ, was concerned about Towson's set plays, because the Tigers had a significant height advantage.
"But our goalkeeper, Reb Beatty, had a great game coming off the line to collect balls," Loyola coach Mark Mettrick said. "We knew they have explosive forwards, and we wanted to nullify their space."