Men’s Soccer Falls to Dayton On Penalty Kicks in A-10 Quarterfinal

The game came down to a decisive penalty shootout.

The Loyola men’s soccer team fell short against the University of Dayton on penalty kicks 5-4 in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic-10 Men’s Soccer Championships. 

The two teams couldn’t settle the score as they were left knotted at 2-2 after playing all of regular time and two ten-minute overtime periods, setting up the decisive penalty-kick shootout. 

In the shootout, each of the 10 players who had the opportunity to shoot found the back of the net except for graduate midfielder Marc Torrellas who beat the Flyer goalkeeper but struck the post and bounced away, prematurely ending the Ramblers’ season in heartbreaking fashion.

After the game, head coach Steve Bode said he was proud of how his team competed and said the game could’ve been the championship as both Dayton and his side were some of the best the A-10 had to offer.

“Back and forth, we made plays, they made plays and obviously it comes down to [penalty kicks] at the end,” he said. “Which, as we say as soccer people, ‘Flip the coin and see who wins the game.’ And that’s what it was today.”

Loyola entered the game the third seed after finishing their regular season 8-2-5, going 4-1-3 in A-10 play. Dayton earned the sixth seed after going 6-6-6 overall and 3-1-4 in conference. 

The stands at Loyola Soccer Park were packed full as the 438 people in attendance made their presence known throughout the game. Out of the gates in the first half, both sides showed early defensive prowess as neither side managed a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes. 

Third-year forward John Gates got the ball rolling for Loyola in the 11th minute when he broke past a Flyer defender and launched a shot on target, forcing fourth-year Flyer goalkeeper Dario Caetano to make a diving save and bat the ball out of bounds.

The Ramblers had another opportunity two minutes later when Torrellas nearly headed a corner kick into the net, but it was stopped by a Dayton defender. Loyola managed two more shots on goal over the next five minutes, both of which were saved by Caetono who finished with seven saves. 

Gates came up big on defense, drawing fouls in the 24th and 28th minutes which stopped promising Dayton opportunities in their tracks. Loyola kicked off the scoring in the 30th minute when Torrellas connected with a corner kick from graduate midfielder Markus Mauer, heading it into the net to pick up his third goal of the season. 

Dayton nearly tied it in the 35th minute when graduate forward Manny Day got a shot past first-year Rambler goalkeeper Aidan Crawford but it rolled just wide left of the net. The Flyers continued to pressure Crawford and Loyola’s backline but couldn’t score before the halftime break. 

Dayton came out of the break swinging. In the 47th minute, second-year forward Sidike Jabateh nearly scored the tying goal but missed just over the net. They continued to push Loyola until the 52nd minute when Jabateh made it work and got one past Crawford, tying the match at 1-1. Day was credited with an assist on the play. 

It didn’t take long for the Ramblers to respond — fourth-year defender Julian Cisneros gave Loyola the lead right back in the 54th minute. After receiving a pass from first-year forward Petar Janjic, Cisneros drove to the right side of the goal and snuck a shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

Bode said he thought the near immediate response was a big moment in the game and he was proud the team was able to stay focused after getting scored on.

“We actually talk about how important it is after you get scored on, that next two to five minutes we try to really ramp up the energy because you’re vulnerable in those times and we caught Dayton vulnerable and punched right back,” he said.

However, The Flyers struck back when in the 59th minute, graduate defender Logan Brown launched a free kick that spanned more than half the field. Day received the ball right in front of the goal and beat Crawford to score the third goal in less than seven minutes.

Neither team managed to set-up dangerous opportunities in the minutes following the action-packed stretch, but the game grew physical and chippy. Cisneros was charged a yellow card in the 59th minute after an altercation with second-year Flyer defender Casper Svendby, who would go on to have a yellow called on him in the 84rd minute. 

Meanwhile, Dayton’s third-year defender Paul Yeboah and graduate midfielder Hjalti Sigurdsson were hit with yellows in the 54rd and 89th minutes. At the end of the match, Dayton had been whistled for fouls 16 times while Loyola finished with seven.

The Ramblers came close to scoring for a third time in the 72nd minute when, in a moment of confusion, the ball found itself lying mere feet from the goal line but Caetono pounced on it before Loyola could capitalize. 

In the 84th minute, fourth-year forward Oscar Dueso put on a show on a fast break downfield where he kicked the ball into the air multiple times as he outwitted two defenders before he was fouled by Svendby just outside the goal box. 

Dueso used his free kick opportunity to attempt a shot which was too strong and flew above the net on a line drive. Loyola set up a few more corner kicks in the final five minutes but couldn’t convert, setting up overtime to decide who would move on to the next round.

The first 10-minute overtime began with a Torrellas shot on goal which was straight to Caetano in the 92nd minute. Four minutes later, Maurer blasted a hard-kicked shot which was deflected by a Dayton defender. 

Jabateh helped shift momentum back to the Flyers in the 97th minute, but his shot was saved by Crawford, who made a diving save just a minute later on a shot by fourth-year forward Kenji Mboma Dem. Neither team could score in the first overtime, which set up one more period before the game would move to penalty kicks.

Bode said the extra time in addition to the temperature which was dropping as the game proceeded had a big effect on the play of both teams.

“I mean, you saw guys cramping on both sides, so now it’s just more of trying to persevere through,” he said. “Which I thought we did. The overtimes were very even both ways, and we did persevere through and push through.”

Neither team could get much of anything going during the second overtime. Torrellas got his head on a corner kick in the 107th minute, but it was stopped by a defender before reaching the net. 

A cross in the 109th minute by first-year Flyer midfielder Braden Seel looked dangerous before Crawford managed to deflect it with his leg. A shot from well outside of the box by fourth-year Dayton forward Ousseynou Cisse in the next minute was wide left.

Dueso got off one more shot in the final 10 seconds of play but it was saved by Caetano. With no winner, the two teams set up at midfield for the shootout. 

Maurer kicked first and made his shot to put the Ramblers up 1-0. Caetano gave himself some help and netted his shot to tie it at 1-1. Dueso was next up and he netted his shot, but Cisse kept it tied after he beat Crawford. 

The Ramblers caught a break when Caetano got his hands on Cisneros’ shot but it bounced off of him and into the goal. Once again, Jabateh kept pace for Dayton and tied it back up at 3-3. 

Next up was Torrellas, he fooled Caetano who dove right as he kicked left but the ball struck the post and bounced off. First-year midfielder Adam Zenzen capitalized on the Ramblers misfortune and put the Flyers up 4-3. 

The final Rambler to shoot was second-year midfielder Quinten Blaire who found the back of the net to tie it at 4-4, but it was left up to Brown who was on deck for the final shot to decide the match.

Brown’s shot was out of Crawford’s reach and struck the crossbar. It bounced straight down into the goal, giving the Flyers the win. Dayton’s bench flooded onto the field and began celebrating their victory while the Ramblers were left silenced and stunned. 

Reflecting on the season as a whole, Bode said he was proud of his team and proud of how tight knit they became as a group as the season went on.

“I think that’s what the best college teams are like — they’re bought in, they’re fighting for each other, they love being around each other,” he said. “That’s what we’re all about, that’s what our program is and that’s why it hurts when you lose like this.”

Featured image by Holden Green | The Phoenix

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger