Hot off a dominant victory against DePaul University Sept. 9, the Loyola men’s soccer team (4-0-2) beat Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) 2-0 at Loyola Soccer Park Sept. 13. Loyola was led to victory thanks to goals by senior midfielders Oscar Dueso and Jason Ybarra. In a physical game totaling 26 fouls and five yellow cards, the Ramblers fought through the contact to secure a win.
Early in the first half, Loyola maintained possession at midfield, passing the ball between its defensive line. Minutes later, the Jaguars turned the ball over and helped the Ramblers mount an attack and earn two corner kicks. However, nothing came of the chances as redshirt senior forward Billy Hency lost possession after contact in the box after the team’s second corner kick.
Loyola was gifted free kicks in the first half to keep possessions alive thanks to IUPUI’s hardened defense which earned 11 fouls in the half. IUPUI’s Gavin O’Shea quickly earned two fouls and was given a yellow card for unsporting behavior in the 7th minute.
Moments later, Loyola rushed into the Jaguars’ end for a scoring chance, weaving passes through the defense’s holes while cruising past defenders with precise footwork. A through pass in the box found Hency with only the goalkeeper to beat, but his shot sailed just left of the goal post.
With a minute left in the first half, the Ramblers made another charge to earn a lead before halftime. Sophomore midfielder Brody Phan sent a cross into the packed box which found Dueso in stride for a header into the bottom right corner of the goal, giving Loyola a 1-0 lead at the half while scoring the only goal of the half for either team.
To start the second half, IUPUI pushed the ball into Loyola’s end but was unable to record a shot. Not long after, the Ramblers passed the ball into the Jaguars’ territory, earning a free kick just outside the box. Loyola sent the ball near the goal, but IUPUI goalkeeper Lucas Morefield made a diving save to keep the deficit at one.
Loyola sophomore defender Benni Hofmann left the match in the 54th minute after an apparent injury resulting from a tackle by a Jaguar defender. The Ramblers suffered another blow when sophomore midfielder Quinten Blair was given a yellow card for unsporting behavior in the 66th minute.
In a stretch of two minutes, both teams were given a pair of yellow cards for unsporting behavior due to excessive physical contact, raising each team’s total to two yellow cards. IUPUI’s Edgar Correia was booked in the 68th minute while Loyola junior defender Lukas Ender was given a yellow card in the 70th minute.
Gaining momentum after a Jaguars’ handball violation, the Ramblers found late-game energy to increase their lead. Hency dribbled the ball into the box and delivered a pass to Ybarra, who struck a powerful shot into the bottom left corner of the goal, delivering Loyola a 2-0 victory.
The match was a physical battle characterized by players shoving each other and making late tackle attempts, as IUPUI received 18 fouls while Loyola picked up eight. The Jaguars also were given three yellow cards, allowing Loyola to set up scoring chances with rehearsed plays on free kicks.
Loyola Head Coach Steve Bode said physical play is to be expected in college soccer, adding that most fouls and yellow cards are due to accidents on tackles and challenges.
“I think that’s something that’s been occurring over the last three games,” Bode said. “I think in the college season fatigue sets in with teams. Some guys [are] over aggressive, but that’s just fatigue when you’re tired.”
Up next, the Ramblers are set to travel to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne University Sept. 17 for the program’s first ever Atlantic-10 (A-10) conference match. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game is set to be broadcast on ESPN+.