Loyola Defense Sends St. Ignatius (Ohio) Packing

No. 1 Loyola extended its win streak to five games, putting together a second consecutive stellar defensive performance in the second half of its 12-8 thumping of the St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) Wildcats.

St. Ignatius split the first two games of its three-game California road trip — beating Coronado (San Diego) but losing to — and was looking to end the trip on a high note. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they instead received a not-so-nice parting gift from a rollicking Loyola squad.

As the game began, neither team seemed to have the advantage. However, the goals would soon follow as Loyola midfielder (3g, 1a) scratched first by nailing a tough bounce shot to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

St. Ignatius answered right back with a two goals within a minute of each other. Before the opening period ended, (2g) leveled the score again to make it 2-2 going into the second quarter.

The Wildcats played their best in the second period, taking as much as a 4-2 lead. By the half, St. Ignatius was clinging to a 6-5 lead, but it swiftly went downhill from there.

The halftime break seemed to help Loyola (10-3) settle in defensively and put the clamps on St. Ignatius’ offense. Not only did the Cubs quickly regain the lead, but their defense — led by Dimitri Pouliopoulos, , , Colin and goalie — neutralized any threat that came its way.

Parducci, in particular, provided the Cubs with 10 momentum-killing saves. In the few cases where Loyola’s defensive line was breached, Parducci was always there to clean up.

As a team, Loyola did a good job of retaining possession, which prevented the Wildcats from having too many fast breaks and chances at goal. The Cubs’ defensive efforts kept St. Ignatius scoreless for the entire third quarter and half of the fourth.

At Coronado on Tuesday, a similar second-half defensive clampdown enabled the Cubs to turn a 4-3 halftime deficit into a 13-7 runaway victory. Wednesday, Loyola again allowed only four second-half goals, turning a 6-4 deficit into a 12-8 win.

Senior attack (5g) led the Cubs’ offense, and his two goals in the first half were a big reason Loyola was able to stay close.

Up next, St. Ignatius (5-3) will return home to Ohio, while Loyola will be put to the test as it faces off against Poway (18-5) on Saturday.