BALTIMORE, NOV. 22 -- University of Virginia Coach Bruce Arena couldn't quite put a finger on what style of play Loyola College used to upset his third-ranked team, 1-0, in today's South Atlantic Region soccer final.
"I don't know what you want to call it," he said. "They play a rush, bang, Ping-Pong type of game. Technically, they're an average team. But whatever their style is, they're the best at it."
Best in the region, at least. Junior Joe Barger scored with 13:34 left in the first half and the Greyhounds held on to upset the Cavaliers before 2,500 at Curley Field. With its second consecutive regional title, Loyola advances to the NCAA quarterfinals next weekend against North Carolina. The Tar Heels surprised South Carolina, 2-1, today in a penalty kick shootout. The time and location of next weekend's match will be determined Monday.
For the Cavaliers, it was another frustrating loss in the NCAA tournament. The last two years, they were eliminated in the first round at home. Despite being in the top 10 almost every year, they haven't won more than one game in postseason play since 1983.
Last year, the Greyhounds beat Virginia in the first round and George Mason in the regional final, then lost a quarterfinal to eventual champion Duke, 3-1. This season, the Greyhounds (17-3-2) are unbeaten in their last 17 games.
The Cavaliers (17-3-2) had chances to get back in the game in the second half. Loyola had more shots on goal in the second half, 4-2, but Virginia controlled the ball for large stretches.
The Greyhounds survived by crowding the ball and stopping the flow of the match. "If we had played our normal game," Loyola Coach Bill Sento said, "we would've been in trouble."
Virginia's John Maessner had a great chance early in the second half, but he missed high from close range. Then, with 26 minutes left, Scott Platenberg made a perfect cross to freshman Curt Onalfo, whose diving header was deflected by goalkeeper Dave Barrueta.
North Carolina 1, Massachusetts 0:
In Amherst, Mass., sophomore Shannon Higgins' second-half goal gave the Tar Heels their fifth NCAA Division I women's soccer title in six years.