Late goal lifts Loyola past Falcons

Benni Hofmann’s goal with just over five minutes to play lifted Loyola Chicago to a 1-0 win over the Bowling Green State University men’s soccer team Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Ramblers improve to 2-0-0 on the young season, while the Falcons drop to 0-1-1.

The scoring play began on a right-side cross from John Gates. BGSU goalkeeper Brendan Graves came off of his line to punch the ball away as he collided with a Loyola attacker.

But, as Graves fell to the ground, the ball went directly to Hofmann on the left side of the six-yard box. Hofmann collected the ball and fired a shot into the far side of the net with 5:14 left in the match.

“Losing is hard to handle but it comes with the territory, particularly with such a challenging schedule,” said BGSU coach Eric Nichols. “But these challenges are what we want. We can handle any result and we will continue to grow.”

Before a crowd of 1,163 – believed to be the largest crowd in Loyola Soccer Park history – the Falcons fired the first four shot attempts of the day.

Just over five minutes in, an effort by BGSU senior midfielder Jensen Lukacsko just outside the box was blocked.

“In terms of the performance, I thought we were really good. I saw a big improvement from Friday. But, against an opponent like Loyola, we needed to take our chances and we didn’t,” Nichols said.

“But the boys played in tough conditions in front of a big crowd and competed like warriors. We hate losing, but I saw some incredible character today and am excited for more battles ahead.”

The Ramblers had a slim 10-9 advantage in total shot attempts, and Loyola had a 7-3 lead in shots on goal.

Graves made five saves for the Falcons, who were credited with a ‘team save’ as well. Simon Jillson had three stops for the hosts.

Freshman Amer Dedic, who came off the bench to make his BGSU debut in Friday’s match at DePaul, made his first collegiate start on Sunday.

The Falcons have a record of 36-21-8 over the last 65 matches, dating to late in the 2018 season. Thirteen of the 21 setbacks in that time have come by a single goal.

BGSU’s next three matches are against Big Ten Conference opponents, beginning Thursday when Ohio State comes to Cochrane Stadium to face BG in the Falcons’ home opener, with first touch set for 7 p.m.

Then, BGSU will head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Labor Day afternoon before returning home to meet Michigan State four days later Sept. 9 at Cochrane.