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Bison snap Hounds 8-game unbeaten streak

By: Desmond Boyle

Loyola out-shot Bucknell 17-7 but were unable to finish any of their attempts as they suffered their first loss September 17.

Loyola out-shot Bucknell 17-7 but were unable to finish any of their attempts as they suffered their first loss September 17.

The chance of the Loyola men’s soccer team winning the Patriot League was dealt a major blow on Wednesday night as they lose to a resilient Bucknell side, 1-0.

Loyola maintained possession well in the early exchanges, but struggled to penetrate an organized and compact Bison defense. Any time the ball got close to the 18 yard box, Bucknell was quick to close down and pressure the ball.

The Greyhounds’ leading goal scorer, freshman strikers Brian Saramago, registered the first shot of the game, but his curling effort was blocked before being saved. Loyola had a scare moment when he hurt his ankle after a challenge 12 minutes into the game. However, he quickly returned to the field and shot a long-range effort just four minutes later. Saramago received the ball on the left wing and tried to lob a shot over Bucknell’s sophomore stopper Ryan Ott.

Loyola’s next chance came on the counter as senior forward Laurin Vogel made a run towards the edge of the area and ripped a shot that narrowly missed wide.

After that, freshman forward Nico Brown then earned a one-game suspension after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season for a late challenge in the midfield. That was also the moment the game started to open up for both teams to find space and create chances.

The Bison’s best chance of the half came after a mistake from Greyhound defender Mickey Watson, who sent a poor pass back to goalie Matt Sanchez. The senior goalkeeper came off his line quickly and smothered the ball before freshman Bernie Wright could get a clean shot away.

Loyola them put together two solid chances as Vogel sent a cross into Brennan Goldsmith, who flicked a shot on target that Ott saved. Freshman forward Josh Fowale then made an impressive run past the Bison defense and shot past Ott, but his slow shot was cleared off the line by the Bucknell defense.

Despite the action picking up as the half wore on, neither team could get on the scoreboard and the half ended at 0-0.

Vogel had a highlight reel run to open the second half, flicking the ball over a defender before dribbling into space before blazing a shot over the net.

Soon after that Bucknell got down the field, only to watch Sanchez make his third save of the game. Bison midfielder Andrew Leischner ripped a volley across the goal, but Sanchez managed to paw it away.

Loyola continued to press the action more and created more chances, but couldn’t quite manage to put many shots on target. The Greyhounds played most of the second half in the Bison’s final third, but Bucknell put nine men behind the ball and continued to smother most Loyola attacks.

“That’s a team that just wanted more than we did and that’s not acceptable,” Loyola head coach Steve Nichols said. “We’re fighting for a league championship, so to put that effort out is not good.”

As Loyola pushed to take the lead, the Bison did manage to counter attack several times, but could not get past Sanchez.

The Greyhounds then created the best chance of the first 70 minute after sustained pressure before Saramago blasted the underside of a crossbar after senior Brennan Goldsmith sent in a low serve from near the line. However, the ball bounced out of the goal.

The Bison took advantage of Loyola’s missed opportunity as Wright led a counter attack down the right wing and drove in a low cross, which junior midfielder Sebastiaan Blickman flicked into the net.

For the next 15 minutes, the Bison put all 11 men behind the ball and focused on not letting Loyola equalize. Even when the Greyhounds could manage to get a shot away, it would rarely make it to the net with any pace as Bison defenders threw themselves in the way to block shots.

Saramago shot Loyola’s just wide after hitting a lot drive from the edge of the area on the half volley. With three minutes to go, midfielder Sam Carter headed a cross from a corner on goal, but the Bison cleared it off the line.

Bucknell managed to hold onto the win after that chance and handed Loyola the upset.

The Greyhounds will remain home and will take on Colgate on Sunday at 1 pm.

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Desmond Boyle

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