Loyola Phoenix

Men’s Soccer Heads Into Conference Play

Elliot Collier pushes the ball upfield, towards the opponents' net.

The Loyola men’s soccer team continues Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play against Drake University after its wins against Central Arkansas and DePaul University.

In their third MVC game, the Ramblers took on Central Arkansas who Loyola beat last season 3-0 and tied 1-1 during their 2014 season. Head coach Neil Jones said Loyola needed to match its energy because this was its first conference game at home. Junior midfielder Brody Kraussel, who is ranked No. 5 in the nation with seven assists, said he expected the Bears to give the Ramblers a hard time in the attack game because they have strong offensive players who are scoring more goals this season. The Central Arkansas men’s soccer team has already scored fourteen goals this season compared to last season’s total of fifteen goals.

The Ramblers swept the Bears in a 3-1 victory. Junior forward Elliot Collier scored two goals within the first 25 minutes of the game. He was assisted by sophomore forward Alec Lasinski and Kraussel, who currently leads the MVC in assists. In the second half, Kraussel scored Loyola’s third goal from thirty yards out in the 56 minute.

Loyola’s victory propels the program to a 3-0-0 MVC record.

The Loyola men’s soccer team faced DePaul University in nonconference play shortly after it returned from Arkansas. Loyola crushed DePaul in a 3-0 victory last season. Jones said his team looks forward to this game because the players are familiar with one another and the winner holds the bragging rights for the best team in Chicago. Kraussel said he believed they would be looking for revenge especially since DePaul was hosting Loyola on their home field. Co-captain redshirt senior Ryan Howe expected the game to be a fight.

“It’s going be a grind of a game; a battle,” said midfielder Howe. “Whoever wants it more that day is going to take it.”

Loyola defeated DePaul 2-0, earning its the bragging rights in the Red Line Rivalry. Sophomore forward Connor Stevenson scored the Rambler’s first goal in the 42 minute. Lasinski scored Loyola’s second goal assisted by junior forward Elliot Collier shortly into the second half.

The Ramblers take on Drake University for the second time this season due to the change in the MVC schedule which requires eight conference games per season instead of six; Loyola faces Drake and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville twice. Jones said the schedule changed in hopes more than one team in the MVC would advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.

After defeating Drake 1-0 on their home field for the first time, the Loyola men’s soccer team looks forward to bringing them to Loyola Soccer Park where they hold a twenty-three game winning streak. Jones said Drake’s home field is grass which can be uneven and bouncy. Loyola’s home field is turf which Jones said better suits the team’s style of play and ball movement. Kraussel said already playing Drake on their home field serves as an advantage for the Ramblers.

Howe looks forward to showing the MVC the power Loyola can bring to the conference.

“It’s hard to beat us at home,” said Howe. “If we get good results against [Drake] both times, we are a team to beat and a good team in this conference.”

The Ramblers face Drake University at Loyola Soccer Park on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

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