Eagles advance to Patriot League championship for the first time since 2016
A late goal in the final 10 minutes push the Eagles over the Greyhounds
After being picked to finish ninth in the Patriot League preseason poll, American University men’s soccer (3-1-2) defeated the Loyola Greyhounds (3-2-1) 3-2 Wednesday to advance to the Patriot League championship game. The game came down to the final minutes after the Greyhounds equalized in the second half, but the Eagles bounced back with a goal in the 81st minute.
The Eagles ended a five-year championship appearance drought with this win, with this appearance as the first for the Eagles under second-year coach Zach Samol.
“What I have been trying to say to these guys is to enjoy these moments,” Samol said postgame. “And know there’s pressure, and tension, and nerves, but these are the games you want to play in. These are the games you work so hard to play in.”
The Eagles came out early with offensive pressure in the first half, scoring two goals. Senior forward Jerry Zouantcha scored the first goal of the game in the 33rd minute, assisted by freshman midfielder Jason Bouregy and junior midfielder Viggo Sjoberg. Redshirt junior defender Nicolas Blassou followed it up with a goal in the 38th minute off another assist by Sjoberg.
“I’m really happy for Jerry to get the goal there,” Samol said. “That was great to have the contribution from him, very excited about that. We’ve been harping on him, seeing if he can be more dangerous. Then Nicolas Blassou off the corner kick, he’s been scoring some of those in training, so it’s not a shock to see him get it.”
The Greyhounds equalized the match in the second half with goals in the 50th and 72nd minutes, but junior forward David Coly scored his fourth goal of the season and put the Eagles back on top to win the game in the 81st minute. Senior forward Al-Ameen Salako got the ball to senior midfielder Kyle Hellmann, who sent the ball a short distance to Coly as he rushed past the Greyhounds back four to draw out and go one on one with the goalkeeper before he swiftly struck the ball past the keeper.
The Eagles will look to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2004 with a win against the Lafayette Leopards on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lafayette.