Nov. 2, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A strong team effort on both sides of the ball helped Navy defeat Loyola, 2-1, on Saturday at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. The Mids clinch their first Patriot League Regular-Season title since 1991.
"Despite us clinching the No. 1 seed, it doesn't mean much at this point and work still needs to be done," said head coach Dave Brandt. "We will decide how it feels (to win the regular-season title) when the smoke clears."
With the win, Navy will be the No. 1 seed and host the Patriot League Tournament semifinals (Nov. 15) and championship game (Nov. 17). Army locked up the No. 2 seed and will join Navy with a first-round bye.
Navy (12-3-2, 8-0 Patriot League) drew first blood in the 41st minute of the match after a constant battle at midfield in the beginning of the game. Following Joseph Greenspan's block shot that rolled toward the corner, Alex Evans gained control at the edge of the 18-yard box before it went out of bounds. Evans drew two defenders into the box and found a charging Martin Sanchez at the top of the 18. Sanchez controlled the pass and chipped a high shot that snuck underneath the crossbar.
The Mids carried their momentum right into the second half. Navy took advantage of a Loyola (6-8-2, 1-6-1 Patriot League) foul in the 48th minute. Sanchez, parallel from the goal-line, lobbed a pass into the box. Jamie Dubyoski directed the pass off his head and towards the front of the net. Teammate Derek Vogel used all 6-foot-4 of his height to outjump a Greyhound defender and extend Navy's lead to two, 2-0, with his second goal of the season.
"I thought we played well on offense, being dangerous early and putting pressure often in Loyola's defensive third," said Brandt. "We should have had a third and it would not have been as close as it was. This team needs to learn to do a better job of closing teams out and that is what will we work on moving forward."
It was not until the 87th minute that Loyola was able to cut the deficit to one, 2-1. Dominic Marshall led a streaking Larry Ndjock into the 18-yard box. Ndjock dribbled once and rifled a shot to the far post for his 11th goal of the season.
However, Navy's defense held strong in the final minutes of the contest to keep its Patriot League record unblemished at 8-0, while Loyola fell to 1-6-1. Navy goalkeeper Gavin Snyder remained unbeaten between the pipes (11-0), tallying four saves on five chances. Loyola goalkeeper Zach Kane allowed two goals on eight chances in the loss.
Navy outshot Loyola, 21-12, and held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks. With the win, Navy extends its winning streak to 12 and remains as the longest such streak in the nation this season.
The Mids will conclude the 2013 regular-season against archrival Army in the Army-Navy Cup II at PPL Park in Chester, Pa on Friday, Nov. 8. Match is slated for 7 p.m.