Well-Balanced Effort Propels Soccer Past Loyola, 3-2
Sept. 29, 2004
Chicago, Ill.- The University of Illinois at Chicago soccer team launched 34 shots in its game against Cleveland State on Sunday, but the Flames had only one goal to show for their efforts.
On Wednesday night, however, the Flames needed only 12 shots to tally a season-best three goals and defeat crosstown rival Loyola, 3-2, at Loyola Soccer Park for the team's first Horizon League victory of 2004.
UIC (2-7-1, 1-1-1 Horizon League) was on the attack for the entire contest, keeping Loyola (1-7-1, 0-3-0 Horizon League) on the defensive for much of the game, particularly in the first period.
The Flames struck first nine minutes into the match, thanks to a pretty drive on the right side of the field by Eric Cervantes, who crossed the ball into Kenneth Nightingale. Nightingale did the rest, knocking the ball past Rambler keeper Tim Jenkerson for the early 1-0 lead.
Nightingale struck again in the 28th minute, using a Nick Sutter cross from the right and converting the ball past Jenkerson in a near-mirror image of the first score for a 2-0 UIC lead.
The second Nightingale goal, the sophomore's third of the season, marked the first time that the Flames have had a two-goal lead all season.
Nightingale had two other golden chances to increase the UIC lead in the first period, but both of those attempts were just wide of the post.
Loyola answered back in the 38th minute, finally getting the ball somewhat deep into UIC territory. Eric Spiess took a funky shot from the top of the penalty box, which ended up bending just enough to get past UIC goalkeeper Jeff Engelbrecht and cut the Flames' lead in half.
But the Flames weren't finished. Even with new keeper Sean Bond minding the net for the Ramblers, Tim Bernard was able to take the ball and clear a cross to a streaking Cervantes, who headed the ball into the net for a 3-1 advantage in the 59th minute.
Cervantes has scored a goal in the last two games, upping his point total for the year to five in five matches.
The Ramblers scrambled to generate offense the rest of the way, but the UIC defense held strong throughout. Loyola made the score close in the 86th minute when a Flames turnover led to Bill Metzger's breakaway score, cutting the UIC lead to 3-2.
That's all Loyola could manage, though, as UIC closed out their first road win of the campaign with a combination of attacking offense and sound defensive play.
"We played finally as a team," said UIC head coach Sasha Begovic. "The [final] score made it look much closer than it was. We created much more chances. Everyone did superb, offense, defense, everyone."
"It should have been much more than 3-2, but we'll take it."
Engelbrecht garnered his first career win with 90 minutes of great play between the posts, grabbing two saves in the process.
Nightingale is now tied for the team lead in goals with three while ranking first on the Flames with seven points.
UIC heads back on the road this Sunday for a matinee against Butler in Indianapolis, Ind., beginning at 12 noon.