Before Thursday night’s game against the No. 23 Washington men’s soccer team, Loyola Chicago had posted eight shutouts on the season, tied for 10th most in the country. But the Huskies (11-7-0, 5-4-0 Pac-12) jumped on the Ramblers (9-6-2, 3-1-2 Missouri Valley) early, scoring a pair of first-half goals and allowing the opposing offense to attempt only two shots in a stress-free 2-0 victory.
In the second meeting between the two teams ever, and the first at Husky Soccer Stadium, Washington dominated in all facets of the game, controlling possession for the duration and limiting Loyola’s chances at even touching the ball.
The UW bucked its trend of slow first halves Thursday night with a dominant opening 45 minutes, scoring two goals on eight shots, and not allowing the opposition any shots on redshirt sophomore Bryce Logan’s goal.
“We talked midweek about these teams that play in mid-major conferences that our athleticism could surprise them,” head coach Jamie Clark said. “So we wanted to come out of the gate with pressure, squeeze the game and play at a high tempo and it worked. You can’t play that way all game but hopefully in the first 30 minutes you can make some chances and get ahead.”
In the 17th minute, Washington struck first on the score sheet. Sophomore midfielder Blake Bodily served up a corner from the right side of goal. Loyola goalkeeper Josh Lagudah made the initial save on a header from freshman forward Dylan Teves, but Lagudah sent the ball straight up into the air, and with the keeper on the ground, senior midfielder Corban Anderson came in to clean it up and score his third goal on the season.
Seven minutes later, Anderson helped his team double up the lead. Anderson made a beautiful over-the-top pass to Teves making a run down the left side, received the ball ahead of the Loyola back line, and easily finished into the right corner on a one-on-one with the keeper.
“He was fantastic,” Clark said about Anderson. “He’s the most deserving kid and it’s great that he’s actually starting to show up on the scoreboard, because he does everything else. Because he’s not on the scoreboard, people sometimes forget about him, so hopefully this will start leading to some well-deserved accolades.”
In the second half, the Ramblers’ frustration grew exponentially as the UW defense continued to hold them shotless. Their coaches became furious, and their rage came to a head when coach Neil Jones was carded up twice by the referee and ejected in the 75th minute.
Loyola managed its first and only two shots in the last five minutes of the game, with the first one sailing high and the second one a floating header that easily fell into Logan’s arms.
Washington now has a three-game winning streak heading into its final match of the regular season next Friday against Oregon State, and looks primed to get revenge on a team it allowed four goals to earlier in the season.
“Three shutouts, most importantly,” Clark said on the win streak. “We gave up four to OSU last time, so we need to keep the clean sheets going, and if we do that, we’re going to be a tough out.”
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisangkico