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Hounds earn three top Patriot League awards

Senior goalkeeper Matt Sanchez

Senior goalkeeper Matt Sanchez

Freshman striker Brian Saramago

Freshman striker Brian Saramago

The turnaround the Loyola men’s soccer team has made in just one season has been beyond remarkable. The Greyhounds came into the season picked in a tie for eighth place out of 10 teams in the preseason polls following a year in which they had only one point in conference play.

Shows what they know.

The Greyhounds finished second in the Patriot league this season. After starting their conference slate unbeaten through six games (4-0-2), they suffered just one loss and finished with a 6-1-2 Patriot League record. For leading that incredible turnaround, head coach Steve Nichols earned his first Coach of the Year accolade. And along with him, Senior Matt Sanchez was named the Patriot League’s Goalkeeper of the Year and freshman striker Brian Saramago was picked as the league’s Rookie of the Year while a total of five players were put on an All-Patriot League Team.

Sanchez ranked second in the conference with a .606 goals-against averaged, a .875 save-percentage and a 4.38 saves per game average. In his third year starting for the Greyhounds since transferring from Old Dominion, Sanchez posted five shutouts and recorded 56 saves. He is the first Greyhound to garner a player of the year award since Reb Beatty was the MAAC Defender of the Year in 2002, and first all-league goalkeeper since Milos Kocic earned the honors in 2008 when Loyola was still part of the MAAC.

Saramago was also picked to the All-Patriot League first team after a fantastic rookie season. He led the Patriot lead with 36 shots, seven goals, three game-winning goals and 16 points in conference play. He was a two-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and two-time Rookie of the Week this year. After netting a hat trick against Boston University, Saramago was named the NCAA and NSCAA Player of the Week and picked to the College Soccer News Team of the Week. As the 26th-ranked recruit in the country, he was the highest-ranked player to come into Loyola. He was the first Greyhound to be named Rookie of the Year since Phil Bannister took the MAAC award in 2007.

Senior defender Ryan Tuck, sophomore midfielder Gabriel Carlsson and freshman midfielder Barry Sharifi also received postseason recognition as all-conference second team picks.

Tuck anchored a defense that ranked second in the Patriot League with just 0.844 goals allowed per game. The senior return from an injury that kept him out all of last season and logged more minutes than any other Greyhound this season.

Carlsson was a newcomer to Loyola after transferring from South Florida. In his first season with Loyola he played in all 17 games and was named the Patriot League Midfielder of the Week after scoring the tying goal in the 88th minute at Army West Point to keep the Greyhounds unbeaten at the time. He also tied the NCAA’s 15th-fasted response goal against St. Johns with a goal just 18 seconds after a Red Storm score. Carlson is third on Loyola with three goals, three assists and nine goals.

Sharifi was the Patriot League’s top rookie midfielder and finished second in the league with five assists in conference games. He is also tied for seventh in the Patriot League with seven points in conference games. He was twice named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week. He ranked second on the team with 13 points on four goals and five assists.

Loyola’s stunning season will continue in the Patriot League tournament. They earned a first round bye and will open play on Friday at 1:30 pm in the semifinal round. The tournament is being held at American. They await finding out their opponent, pending results of Tuesday’s quarterfinal matches.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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