Soccer Scores Road Upset At Marshall, 2-1
Oct. 29, 2004
Huntington, W.V.- With a major match against Horizon League rival Wright State waiting in the wings, the University of Illinois at Chicago soccer team definitely established some positive momentum going into this Sunday's contest as the Flames upset host Marshall, 2-1, in a non-conference game at Sam Hood Field on Friday evening.
Junior Pawel Otachel scored his first career goal for UIC (5-9-2, 3-2-1) in the 56th minute for the game-deciding score over a very good Thundering Herd (9-7-2, 3-2-1 MAC) squad.
"We played unbelievable," said UIC head coach Sasha Begovic. "The second half was something else, how the team played together."
It was another outstanding game in goal for rookie keeper Jeff Engelbrecht, who has gone 3-0-1 in his last four starts. The first-year netminder grabbed seven important saves, including four crucial stops in the second period.
Only a tough-to-defend breakaway score by Karim Boukhemis in the 29th minute provided the sole blemish of the night for UIC, but the single goal was all Marshall could manufacture against Engelbrecht and the Flames' defense.
UIC struck first, as Eric Cervantes continued his role as catalyst of the Flames' offense. Cervantes blazed up the field with the ball as Herd keeper Joe Nebel and a Marshall defender closed in on him. It was a three-way collision as Cervantes attempted to shoot, but he managed to escape the trap and made good on an even clearer shot in the 19th minute for the 1-0 lead.
The score was Cervantes' team-leading sixth goal, giving him a team-high 13 points.
After the Boukhemis goal, the score went into halftime even at 1. But Otachel picked an excellent time to convert his first-ever UIC goal, as he went up the middle and deep inside Herd territory to take an open shot from a little over 10 yards out, blasting a breaking ball that went off his foot like a laser and came down almost three feet and underneath Nebel's reach to give the Flames' the lead early in the second period.
That's how it would stay, as UIC overcame a 16-15 Marshall shot advantage to take away the victory.
"It was superb. The whole team played beautifully," said Begovic.
UIC finalizes its two-game road trip this Sunday with the Flames' Horizon League regular season finale at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio beginning at 1 p.m.. If the Flames can secure a win or a tie against the Raiders, UIC will lock up the fourth seed in the Horizon league Tournament and host a quarterfinal match on Nov. 6th at Flames Field.