Men's Soccer Drops Season Opener at DePaul, 2-1
Aug. 24, 2012Zach Kaleta scored his third career goal in the 71st minute, but DePaul's Thiago Ganancio scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with just three minutes remaining, to lead the Blue Demons to a 2-1 victory over the UIC men's soccer team in the season opener for both teams at Wish Field Friday afternoon.
Kaleta's goal came off a corner kick by senior Ivan Stanisavljevic, who collected the assist. Ganancio initially gave DePaul the lead with the game's first goal in the 63rd minute (62:27). The game-winner came at the 87:00 mark, when Ganancio scored an unassisted goal after a loose ball. UIC goalkeeper Piotr Kikolski challenged the play, but Ganancio slipped the ball past him into the lower left corner.
UIC out-shot the Blue Demons 13-8, led by freshman Jorge Alvarez' four shots; Stanisavljevic, Phil Galounis and true freshman Joel Salmeron each attempted two shots. The Flames' counter attack produced numerous offensive chances, particularly throughout a lengthy stretch during the second half. From the 80th to the 85th minute, UIC had three significant scoring chances, including an attempted header by junior Josh Beard off another corner kick - the ball sailed just over the crossbar.
"The first half was very typical of the first game of any season," said head coach Sean Phillips. "There weren't a lot of quality chances - Piotr (Kikolski) made one great save, and that's why he is back there. But after the teams felt each other out, I was pleased that we entered halftime at 0-0.
"Our guys did a very good job making adjustments in the second half; we got the ball on the ground and our counter attack produced a lot of high-quality chances. Right up until the final giveaway, I was pleased with how we were playing. You have to give DePaul credit; they made the play that was necessary at the key moment. We have to be cleaner and more clinical in our overall counter attack and in our finishing. We'll get ready and recovered, build on the positives from this game, and go to Ohio State looking for a better result on Sunday."
Five newcomers made their first-career start for UIC -redshirt freshman Marcin Modzelewski, junior college transfer Alexios Fronimos, true freshmen Kyle Lindberg and Joel Salmeron and redshirt freshman Thomas Villamil. Modzelewski and Lindberg played all 90 minutes. The aforementioned Alvarez played 24 minutes in a reserve role, and redshirt freshman Piotr Lagowski played 51 minutes, starting the second half.
The crowd at Wish Field was largely donned in red and blue, as nearly 100 students and UIC athletic department staff members were in attendance. Phillips praised those fans for the support.
"The part I liked most about today was the unwavering support of our fans, particularly the students that made it over to the field, even before classes start next week," Phillips said. "They were a good catalyst for us; our guys fed off their energy, and they helped us get the score to 1-1. I'm disappointed for them, because we played well enough to win but didn't get the result."
UIC will wrap up the opening weekend of the regular season Sunday, when the Flames travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State beginning at 11 a.m. CST. The Buckeyes will travel to Dayton in their regular season opener tonight beginning at 6:30 p.m. CST.