Duo poised for NCAA run

Loyola's McVea, Darvill to lead way vs. visiting UNC Greensboro

November 25, 2008|By Patrick Gutierrez | Patrick Gutierrez,patrick.gutierrez@baltsun.com

When Loyola teammates Tennant McVea and Jamie Darvill first met in early 2006, they were sitting in a London airport waiting for their flight to the United States. McVea, from Northern Ireland, and Darvill, from England, had each agreed to play for the Greyhounds, part of an incoming freshman class coach Mark Mettrick hoped would propel the team to new heights.

Nearly three years later, the duo, roommates who are friends off the field, has Loyola poised to make a run in the NCAA College Cup. The action continues today when the ninth-seeded Greyhounds (18-1-1) host North Carolina-Greensboro (9-11-2) in a second-round match at 6 p.m. at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. No. 2 Maryland welcomes George Mason to Ludwig Field at 7 p.m. in another second-round match.

"It was good for them to be around each other," Mettrick said. "It really helped their transition to university life and living in Baltimore."

For a Loyola squad that returned eight starters from last year's team, which lost to the Terps in the second round of the tournament, McVea and Darvill's extra year of playing together has made all the difference.

"Last year we were a young team," said Darvill, who led the Greyhounds with 14 goals and 10 assists en route to capturing Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. "That year of experience is certainly very evident in our performance this year."

McVea, who also won his second straight MAAC Defensive Player of the Year award, added that while the team is more confident this season, the Greyhounds' approach will be the same as it has been all year.

"We had a good season, but it's back to 0-0," he said.

On paper, the Greyhounds appeared to catch a break when their opponent went into Duke and upset the Blue Devils, 2-0, in the first round. But a look at recent College Cup history reveals a UNC Greensboro team that knows how to survive. With a resume that boasts three Sweet 16 appearances in the past five years, the Spartans are no one to be looked past, despite their losing record.

Adding to the challenge is that the Greyhounds will be without senior Josh Taylor (Archbishop Curley), who tore a knee ligament during their loss to Fairfield in last week's conference title game.

Maryland (18-3), on the other hand, is riding an 11-game winning streak into the tournament after capturing its third Atlantic Coast Conference title by defeating Virginia, 1-0. The Terps are led by junior Jeremy Hall, who was named ACC tournament Most Valuable Player and has 13 goals and five assists for the year.

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