The Eagles fall in Patriot League championship

A hard-fought battle goes down to the wire between the first and second seed teams

The Eagles fall in Patriot League championship
Defender Nicolas Blassou taking a header during the Patriot League Championship

The American University men’s soccer team couldn’t repeat their Patriot League championship status this season after losing 2-1 to Loyola.

The Eagles and Greyhounds fought tooth and talon all through the match, never slowing down for a moment. Loyola drew first blood, scoring a goal from forward Kelan Swales in the 14th minute off a corner by midfielder Justin Ingram. It wasn’t long before AU equalized with a goal in the 31st minute from senior forward David Coly off an assist by junior midfielder Jack Green

Green hit an exceptional cross in front of Coly on the left side of the box, and after battling a defender, Coly struck the ball between the legs of Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Chase Vosvick for both the Eagles final goal of the season and Coly’s final goal as a member of the team.

The first half did not have another goal for either team despite each battling hard for one. The second half remained a pitched melee, with each side aggressively going for that next crucial goal. Neither team budged until the last 10 minutes of the match when Loyola found the game-winning goal.

In the 82nd minute, a hand ball on sophomore midfielder Evan Schweickert five yards outside the top of the penalty box gave the Greyhounds a dangerous free-kick. Loyola’s Ingram took the shot from the spot and struck the ball into the open bottom right of the net to put the Greyhounds on top.

The Eagles did not back down despite having only eight minutes left to play, pressuring the Greyhounds all through the final minutes in their attempts to equalize the game. With only six seconds left, Schweickert nearly sent the match to overtime. Schweickert took a shot on goal to the lower left of the net that Vosvick saved with a desperation dive to end the Eagles season and send the Greyhounds to the NCAA tournament.

“The guys did their best, they tried their best and worked hard,” head coach Zach Samol said. “I think the energy was there, I think all that was there. … I think we struggled at times to just settle the game down and play and credit to Loyola for making it hard for us to do that with their pressure.”

Despite the tough loss, the Eagles proved their worth in the Patriot League by making the championship for the second time in a row with a young team. Samol said he knows that a lot can be learned from this one match.

“I do think there are things in the game that we can handle better, which probably has to do with us being young still,” Samol said. “Being in these big games and how to handle them, how to handle the crowd, how to handle the away game and being down a goal. … I certainly think there is a lot to talk about.”

lclarke@theeagleonline.com 

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