Soccer Ousted From Horizon League Tournament At Wright State, 2-1
Nov. 6, 2004
Fairborn, Ohio- Despite a valiant comeback effort in the second period, the University of Illinois at Chicago soccer team had its 2004 campaign ended earlier than it had hoped, dropping a 2-1 decision to Wright State at Alumni Field in Fairborn, Ohio on Saturday night.
UIC fell behind early, thanks to the Raider's usual scoring culprit. Forward Ricky Strong, who scored the only goal in last Sunday's match between the two teams, put Wright State on the board first in the eighth minute on a deflection from Tony Labudovski. That's how the score would remain going into halftime.
The Flames answered back in the 50th minute. Horizon League First Teamer and Newcomer of the Year honoree Pavle Dundjer took a pass from Kenneth Nightingale and found himself in a one-on-one opportunity with Wright State keeper Jason Balach. Dundjer made the most of the chance, scoring from 25 yards out near the top of the penalty box to even the match.
But the host Raiders answered right back 50 seconds later. The Labudovski-Strong connection hooked up again, as a Labudovski found Strong on a cross that Strong then converted from 20 yards out.
That proved to be the game-winning goal, although UIC turned up the offensive pressure throughout the second half. But near-misses and a good performance from Balach prevented the Flames from moving on.
Strong posted his 11th and 12th goals of the year for Wright State during the game.
One of those opportunities came from senior defender Adam Jones, who set the tone for the hard-fought Flames effort with a late run up the sideline that cleared some room for the captain to take a shot. Jones launched a solid attempt, but Balach made the stop on a shot that showed every ounce of fight left in Jones, who played in his final game along with fellow senior Ryan Singer.
Singer also made a last-ditch effort to tie the game, but his shot sailed just high in the final seconds.
UIC outshot WSU 23-16, with eight of those attempts on goal, thanks to a 16-7 shot edge in the second period that reflected the Flames' furious run at tying the game.
"We played hard," said UIC assistant coach Seth Mason. "[The game's] different when you try to play from behind."
Both Jones and Tonci Skroce were playing their first game in a week after suffering leg injuries last Friday.
Engelbrecht finished a strong rookie campaign with three saves.
Wright State must now face top-seeded UW-Milwaukee, who beat Cleveland State by a 4-0 score.
UIC rounds out 2004 with a 5-12-2 overall record, along with a 3-3-1 Horizon League regular season mark.