April 14, 2014
CHICAGO – The UIC men’s soccer team concluded competition at the Chicago Cup, hosted by Northwestern at Lakeside Field, this past Saturday (April 12). The Flames tied in their semifinal matchup with DePaul, 1-1, before the Blue Demons won the tiebreaker and advanced to the championship. UIC then competed against Loyola for third place and the match ended in a 2-2 tie.
Sophomore Jorge Alvarez scored a goal in each game, while redshirt-sophomore Zack Judickas produced his second goal of the spring season against the Ramblers.
“The Chicago Cup is a great event,” head coach Sean Phillips said. “The city rivalries, quality opponents and two sixty minute games are all great challenges every year for our players.”
In its first game of the day against the Blue Demons, UIC scored early after Alvarez pressured the DePaul defense off of a UIC clearance, settled the ball off his chest and buried the ball low into the back post in the 13th minute. The Flames continued to create quality opportunities in the first half and go into the break up 1-0.
With roughly two minutes to go in the second half, DePaul converted a penalty kick, which forced the game into penalties. DePaul won the penalty-kick tiebreaker, 4-1, and advanced to the championship.
“In the first game against DePaul, we played very well at times,” Phillips noted. “In the first half, we created a number of chances and were a bit unlucky not to come away with more than the one goal. Defensively, we were very solid, with DePaul’s only real dangerous chance being the penalty kick, which they did convert.”
The Flames and Loyola each tallied two goals while vying for third place in game two. In the 22nd minute, Alvarez finished to the back post again from a ball sent by sophomore Joel Salmeron. Judickas scored UIC’s second goal in the 27th minute from a head ball by sophomore Manny Chavez.
UIC would tie for the second time on the day after the game ended with the score knotted at 2-2 with no tiebreaker.
“The players deserve credit for being able to turn around in ten minutes and play well against a Loyola team that had been resting for just over an hour,” added Phillips. “We continued to create chances – converting two in the first half – and play pretty solid defensively until Loyola scored late to tie it up.”
Northwestern went on to win the championship, 1-0, against DePaul after tying Loyola and taking the tiebreaker in the semifinals.
“The players continued to grow individually and collectively in a positive direction this weekend,” said Phillips. “Over the course of this week, we need to continue to grow our match fitness and get a bit sharper in front of goal. We have another great challenge this weekend against NCAA tournament qualifier Wisconsin.”
The Flames will hit the road to face the Badgers this Saturday in Madison, Wis., with the game slated to begin at 1 p.m. CT.