Junior Sienna Cruz
found the back of the net on two separate occasions to help push the Loyola University Chicago women's soccer team to a 4-2 season-opening win over visiting UMass Lowell this evening at Loyola Soccer Park. With the win, the Ramblers improve to 1-0, while the River Hawks slip to 0-1.
Coach Bimbi's Thoughts…
"This is a new group of girls and I thought we really did well in the first 10 to 15 minutes of applying some pressure and creating some really good chances before finding our rhythm as the game wore on."
How It Happened
Loyola controlled possession early on a pleasant summer evening in Rogers Park. Cruz nearly put the Ramblers on the board in the ninth minute, only to see her attempt cleared off the line by a River Hawk defender. The Cottage Grove, Wis. native would not be denied in the 17th
minute when she headed home a free kick from fellow junior Madison Laudeman
to put Loyola in front, 1-0.
Shortly after Dunja Mostarac's try hit the crossbar for the visitors, senior Jenna Szczesny
doubled the lead just in front of the half-hour mark as she ripped a one-timer off of a feed from freshman Abby Swanson
to make it 2-0. Preseason All-America East honoree Rachel Morrier trimmed the margin to 2-1 just under eight minutes later as she unleashed a free-kick blast from the edge of the 18-yard box to send the two teams into the intermission separated by only a goal.
The senior pairing of Szczesny and Madison Kimball
wasted little time in reestablishing a two-goal edge for the Maroon & Gold. Szczesny saw her try from 12 yards parried away by UMass Lowell netminder Julia Schneider but Kimball was there to clean up the rebound into an open net to stretch the lead to 3-1 in the 51st
minute. That scoreline would hold until the 66th
minute when Morrier cashed in on another free kick to again put the River Hawks back within one, 3-2.
Cruz put away any hopes of a comeback for the visitors in the 79th
minute. The junior sliced a feed from Szczesny off a defender and in at the near post to again up the lead to two goals, 4-2. Junior goalkeeper Kate Moran
, who made her first career start this evening, added a pair of saves in the final 10 minutes as the Maroon & Gold closed out a win in the 2018 home opener.
Looking At The Numbers
- Cruz paced the Loyola attack with the third two-goal performance of her career.
- Szczesny added a goal and two assists, while Kimball notched her fourth collegiate tally.
- Moran turned away four shots to lead the Loyola defensive unit.
- The game quickly took on a physical tone, with the two teams combining for 21 fouls and four yellow cards.
Loyola heads to Notre Dame, Ind. on Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. (CT) clash with No. 14/19 Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium.