Soccer Downs DePaul In Double-Overtime Thriller, 2-1
Sept. 15, 2004
Chicago, Ill.- It may have taken some extra time, but the young University of Illinois at Chicago soccer team chalked up its first win of the season in dramatic fashion on Wednesday afternoon, using sophomore Kenneth Nightingale's first collegiate goal in the 108th minute to defeat DePaul in double-overtime, 2-1, at Flames Field.
The Flames (1-5-0) engaged in a tense battle with their crosstown rivals, but the banged-up hosts battled through after losing a lead late in the second period.
"It's your home field, everyone is there, parents, friends, and there's a lot of pressure on these young guys," said UIC Head Coach Sasha Begovic. "They want to win so badly. To win a game at the end like that is good for these kids. I'm very proud."
Freshman Stipan Vedric, who entered the game just moments into the second extra period due to an injury to Derek Kosek, played a loose ball to freshman Pavle Dundjer, who found Nightingale streaking on the left side. Dundjer zoomed a pass between two DePaul defenders and into Nightingale's possession. The sophomore forward then lasered the ball off his left leg and across diving Blue Demon keeper Brian Allen, where it found the back of the net for the golden goal.
UIC scored first in its home opener. Dundjer took a direct free kick from 30 yards out in front of the goal and knocked it in for his first score as a Flame.
The Dundjer goal marked the first lead of the season for UIC.
Backed by a stellar performance by junior goalkeeper Ross Cain, the Flames were on pace for their first shutout of the season, but DePaul (1-4-1) continued to bring the pressure. In the 75th minute, Julian Chille's corner kick found John Kornfeld in almost the same spot where Dundjer converted his goal. Kornfeld rifled the ball high, and it managed to slip just between the fingertips of a leaping Cain and the post to knot the game.
Both teams had opportunities to win late in the second period and throughout the two overtime sessions. A header attempt by Kornfeld in the 67th minute was stopped by Cain, while a shot off a steal by Eric Cervantes, who made his 2004 debut on Wednesday, went wide left in the 82nd minute.
Cain chipped in a clutch seven-save performance, while Allen stopped three shots for DePaul.
The Flames were without starting midfielder Pawel Otachel for most of the game due to a lingering leg injury, while Kosek and Sam Reindl had to leave the game briefly with injuries.
More impressive was the fact that Nightingale, the hero of the game, was playing with a shoulder near separation.
"With lots of injuries, to come out like this and play like that, I'm very happy," said Begovic.
First-year UIC assistant coach Seth Mason, who was happy to get the first win under the belt against a tough DePaul team, was glad to see Nightingale fight through a tough injury and provide a preview of things to come for the Flames offense.
"That is why Kenny is so valuable to the future of this team, because he can finish," said Mason.
Begovic had another hope for the near future.
"I hope we start a new streak," said Begovic.
UIC returns to action this Sunday for the Horizon League opener at Detroit beginning at noon.