The tradition of Loyola College's athletic success, on the playing fields and courts as well as in the classroom, became a national story during the 1993-94 school year. For years Loyola had maintained a reputation for producing outstanding scholar-athletes, but it was during that year that everything came together. Five Greyhound teams - men's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's lacrosse and women's lacrosse - advanced to their respective NCAA Tournament, highlighted by Loyola's nationally televised upset victory against Manhattan in the MAAC men's basketball title game.
And while the NCAA Tournament qualifiers were the most visible of Loyola's success stories, other Greyhound athletic programs continued to perform at the highest levels athletically and academically within the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. It is a tradition of success that continues to be built upon every year.
Loyola sponsors 14 sports that compete at the NCAA Division I level. Twelve Greyhound teams compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, with the only exceptions being menís and womenís lacrosse. The menís lacrosse maintains its independent status and traditionally is one of the nation's top-ranked programs, while the women's team competes against some of the nation's finest programs in the Colonial Athletic Association. In 1990, the Greyhound men advanced All the way to the national championship game, and the women have made three NCAA Final Four appearances since 1990.
In the MAAC, Loyola has won the Commissioner's Cup, indicative of the conference's top all-around athletic program, three of the past four years. The Greyhound women's basketball team, led by up-and-coming head coach Pat Coyle, made three consecutive MAAC championship game appearances from 1993-95, twice capturing the title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
The Loyola men's soccer program has made a name for itself nationally, and the women's team is one of the Mid-Atlantic Region's fast-rising squads. Bill Sento has led the men to seven straight MAAC titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 10 years. Dave Gerrity's women's team, entering its fifth season of varsity status, has made four MAAC championship game appearances, capturing the title in 1994.
Loyola's swimming and diving program also continues to be a dominant force in the MAAC. Under the watchful eye of Brian Loeffler, the women have captured four straight conference championships, and both teams earned conference crowns in 1995.
Golf and tennis are two other sports in which the Greyhounds have excelled. Longtime golf coach and Loyola grad Dr. Mike Ventura guided Loyola to eight Northeast/ECAC Metro conference championships before engineering five MAAC titles and leading the Greyhounds to their first-ever national ranking three years ago. Another Loyola fixture, head tennis coach Rick McClure, has seen his share of success as well, guiding the women's team to an amazing 107-12 record (.899 winning percentage) and four MAAC championships in eight years. His men's team twice has finished as the MAAC runner-up.
Despite couple of recent down years, the Loyola volleyball team traditionally has performed near the top of the MAAC, and the quickly-improving Greyhound cross country teams had perhaps their finest seasons in 1995, with the women turning in a best-ever second place showing at the MAAC Championships.
The 1995-96 school year proved to be another successful chapter in Loyola College athletic history. Thanks to MAAC championships in men's soccer, golf, and women's swimming, Loyola earned its third Commissioner's Cup in the last four years. In addition, the women's lacrosse team won the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season and tournament titles, posting a best-ever 14-1 record and No. 2 ranking while advancing to the NCAA semifinals.
The success extended beyond the fields and courts, however, with better than 140 Greyhound student-athletes earning grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher and 27 receiving MAAC All-Academic recognition. Two Loyola student-athletes - golfer Brandon Luckett and women's lacrosse goalkeeper Erika Schaub - earned District II Academic All-America honors, with Schaub garnering third-team national Academic All-America accolades.
Junior Amy Cole was named the MAAC Most Outstanding Female Swimmer for the third consecutive year after winning conference championships in for events. Luckett, another junior, earned a national ranking for the fall golf season after winning the MAAC individual title and finishing on top in two other events. Senior Chris Doyle was named the MAAC Men's Soccer Player of the Year and junior Michelle Meyer was tabbed as CAA Women's Lacrosse Player of the Year. Meyer was one of five women's lacrosse All-Americans who helped head coach Diane Aikens earn CAA, South Region and IWLCA national coach-of-the-year honors.
Another honored coach, Dave Gerrity, was named MAAC Coach of the Year for his efforts with the women's soccer team, and Dave Cottle's men's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth straight season, producing two All-Americans and three honorable mention All-Americans. Loyola's basketball teams finished their seasons starting at promising futures. Brian Ellerbee's men finished 8-6 in conference play, their best showing since the 1991-92 campaign, with Nsilo Abraham earning MAAC Rookie-of-the-Year honors and sophomore Mike Powell receiving first-team all-conference honors after finishing as the MAAC scoring leader. The women, despite getting nearly 50 percent of their points, assists and rebounds from four freshmen, placed third in the regular season and finished with a respectable 15-13 record. Freshmen Mary Anne Kirsch and Jennifer Bongard were named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team, and junior Lynn Albert was first-team All-MAAC pick.
In tennis, freshman Stephanie Potter captured MAAC singles and doubles titles, with senior Bridget Madden winning in doubles and classmate Colby Bruno capturing her fourth career MAAC crown at No. 5 singles. Bruno concluded her fourth years as Loyola's all-time leader in victories with 67.
Sophomore sensations Ann-Marie Luckas and Betsy Allen led the women's cross country team to its strong MAAC showing, finishing seventh and fifth, respectively. They were 1-2 at the Baltimore Metro Championships, helping the Greyhounds capture the team title.
Loyola provides its student athletes with optimum facilities for off-season conditioning and in-season success.
Located in the heart of the Evergreen Campus, Curley Field is adjacent to the DeChiaro College Center, which houses the Athletic Department offices, Reitz Arena, and the Mangione Natatorium. Curley Field's stadium has been reconfigured in recent years, with new bleachers offering expanded seating and the addition of a Poligras artificial playing surface. The field, which has played host to NCAA lacrosse and soccer tournament games as well as the past six MAAC soccer tournaments, has a capacity of 3,000. Including standing room, Curley Field has been known to hold better than 4,000 spectators. Completed in 1979, it has one of the world's largest artificial playing surfaces.
Reitz Arena, home of Loyola's basketball and volleyball teams, also is supposed to hold 3,000 spectators. But on Feb. 20, 1990, when Lionel Simmons, Doug Overton, Randy Woods, and the rest of the La Salle Explorers came to town, a record 3,253 turned out. The arena, which had its main floor resurfaced and repainted this past summer, accommodates three regulation-size basketball courts, or three volleyball courts. Like Curley Field, Reitz is used for intramural and recreational sports, and the arena hosts many special events each year. Musical groups such as 10,000 Maniacs, Midnight Oil, Live, Gin Blossoms, and Squeeze have performed there in recent years.
Located on the DeChiaro College Center's first floor, two floors below the arena, is the Mangione Natatorium, which features an Olympic-size pool and diving area. Also located on the first floor are Loyola's recently refurbished athletic weight room, which boasts Nautilus-type equipment and free weights, and several racquetball courts. A modern training room, housing the college's respected sports medicine staff as well as various cardiovascular equipment, can be found on the second floor.
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