Loyola Captain Shows Up for His Team in a Hard-fought Game
Loyola enters the match against Santa Barbara coming off a crushing victory in their last game. The first half started off with great energy from both teams. Santa Barbara was proving to be a challenging opponent for the Cubs. It is very rare that Loyola has been forced into continuing defensive play this season. For most of the first half Loyola was on the defensive trying to find rhythm to counterattack. In the 29th minute of the game, Santa Barbara scored putting Loyola at a 1-0 deficit. In the last moments before halftime Loyola finally pulled together some strong possessions. Loyola showed a flash of their offensive brilliance when senior James Redington went on a run and provided senior captain Nate Smith-Hastie with a great ball. That excellent pass provided Nate with a one on one with the opposing keeper. Nate capitalized on the opportunity and evened out the score going into halftime. With the first half being so exciting and nerve-racking, the energy from the fans in the stadium was about ready to burst heading into the second half. The game was physical so far with many fouls called and a yellow cards given. Both team’s determination to grab this game was palpable from the stands. Loyola came out of halftime on form. They connected passes and had much better possessions than in the first half. Loyola was in attack mode for the first ten minutes of the second half, they seemed to have shaken off some nerves and were playing their brand of the game. Towards the middle of the second half Loyola forming attack after attack and the momentum finally seemed to shift in the Cubs’ favor. As the half progressed the referee was getting more and more involved, there were multiple dangerous free kick opportunities for both teams. The physicality that both teams played with late in the game showed just how hard both teams were playing. Regardless of the outcome, this game would be a battle. With time winding down the teams were going back and forth attacking each other ruthlessly and it was clear this game would come down to the wire. With no time left on the clock Loyola inbounded with a throw in to freshman Marco Bottene who passed to senior Kenechi Ekeomodi. Kenechi centered a ball that went 50-50 but Nate Smith-Hastie stepped up once again and was able to finish with a shot that rebounded off of multiple players. Loyola was ahead 2-1 with only stoppage time left. Santa Barbara had many chances to score but Loyola remained composed and shut down the opposing attempts. After a physical and scrappy game, LOYOLA ADVANCES TO THE NEXT ROUND!