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Loyola Eliminates Flames from Horizon League Tourney, 4-3


Sophomore Jesus Torres
Sophomore Jesus Torres

Nov. 6, 2012

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CHICAGO - The third-seeded UIC men's soccer team racked up 25 shots, the second-most this season, but dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision versus No. 6 Loyola in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament Tuesday night at Flames Field. Sophomore Jesus Torres and redshirt freshman Thomas Villamil both scored their first goals of the season in the setback.

With the loss, UIC's 2012 season record moved to 7-8-2 (3-3-1 Horizon). Loyola improved to 4-11-2, and advanced to the Horizon League Tournament semifinals for the second-straight season. The Ramblers will take on top-seeded Detroit in Match #4 Friday beginning at 1 p.m. CST in the Motor City.

Loyola jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than 25 minutes into the game, before the Flames fought back to tie the score, 2-2, on a pair of goals in the respective 25th and 35th minutes. The Ramblers added one more score 36:00 into the first half, and took a 3-2 lead into the locker room at halftime.

UIC tallied the equalizer in the 57th minute, before the Ramblers broke the tie and buried the game-winner with less than nine minutes left in regulation (81:29). The Flames out-shot their rivals 25-14, and held a 6-2 advantage on corner kicks, controlling the run of play for the majority of the second half, particularly when the score was tied at 3-3.

"We had numerous chances tonight, but didn't convert enough of those opportunities to come out on top - that's where Loyola deserves credit," said head coach Sean Phillips. "The timing of their goals and the timing of their play really helped them earn this result. Our guys showed a lot of great character in battling back. It's definitely hard to fault our effort and our character. We just didn't convert the opportunities when we had them."

"In a 3-3 game, the team that scores that fourth goal usually wins the game. Loyola had one very good scoring chance in the second half, and they buried it. That's why they're moving onto the semifinals."

Dane Bergstrom got the Ramblers on the board in the 13th minute (12:29) playing a ball from Jake Savino, a member of the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team. Loyola's lead was extended to 2-0 less than 12 minutes later (24:19) when Savino successfully converted a penalty shot.

First-Team All-Horizon League selection Torres answered on the ensuing counter possession less than 20 seconds later (24:37), burying a deflected shot to slice Loyola's lead in half, 2-1. At the 34:50 mark, Villamil scored an opportunistic goal from about 25 yards out on the right wing - his right-footed bending strike found the top left corner of the far post to knot the score at 2-2. But Loyola's Nick Sanchez gave the Ramblers the momentum heading into intermission, scoring an unassisted goal at the 36:00 mark. UIC ended the first half with a 10-9 advantage in the shots department.

Junior Slobodan Aleksov scored the equalizer in the 57th minute (56:29), playing a ball from freshman Jorge Alvarez on a counter and finishing to the near post. It marked his third goal against Loyola this season, after scoring a pair of goals in the regular season meeting (Oct. 10), a 3-1 Flames win. The tally spearheaded a lengthy stretch in which UIC had numerous offensive chances, including a goal that was disallowed after the Flames were whistled for being offsides. Between the 48:48 and 69:47 mark of the second half, UIC fired five shots on goal that resulted in five saves from Loyola goalkeeper Peter McKeown.

Loyola scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute (81:29) on its most significant scoring chance of the final frame. Ryan Howe scored the unassisted goal, his first of the season, to complete the game's scoring. UIC stayed aggressive down the stretch, recording seven shots in the final 4:48, including a pair of significant chances on the counter attack by Ned Pavlovic and Aleksov in the final 10 seconds.

 

 

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