Soccer Rolls Past Loyola, 3-1, In Horizon League Tournament Quarterfinal Action
Nov. 10, 2001
Chicago, Ill. - The third-seeded UIC soccer team began its quest for a third straight Horizon League Tournament title Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 quarterfinal win over the sixth-seeded Loyola Ramblers.
UIC advances to face #2 Butler, which beat Detroit 3-2 this afternoon, next Friday, Nov. 16, in the semifinals with the game time still to be determined. The semifinals and finals will be played at UW-Milwaukee's Englemann Field as the #1-seeded Panthers were victorious over Cleveland State Saturday, 3-2. Fourth-seeded Wright State was also a winner today, 5-1 over UW-Green Bay.
When UIC and Butler faced off during the regular-season in Chicago, the Flames came away with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
After a lackluster first half, the Flames fell behind 1-0 in the 63rd minute as Loyola's Brian Contreras connected for his fifth goal of the season. Chris Gradilla passed the ball off to Contreras, who chipped it in over UIC goalkeeper Casey Pudwill (Bartlett, Ill./Streamwood) into the left corner of the goal.
Less than four minutes later, however, the Flames knotted the game at 1-1. Senior defenseman Jay DeMerit (Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) gained control of the ball near the top of the box and worked his way through a whole slew of Loyola defenders and fired a shot past Ramblers' goalie Greg Stellatos into the left side of the net.
"We had to do something," DeMerit said. "All it takes is one goal. I tried to do what I could and it worked out for the best."
DeMerit's goal seemed to be the spark UIC needed. In the 78th minute Patrick Grange (Albuquerque, NM/Albuquerque) set up Dennis King (Colona, Ill./United Township) for the game-winner. After a flurry of shots by the Flames, including one off the crossbar by Jake Stasko (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way), Grange sent a slow roller towards the goal. King was there for the tap-in, which was his team-leading 10th goal of the season, to give UIC the 2-1 lead.
Three minutes later Joe Morelli (Holly, Mich./Brother Rice) netted his second goal of the year to up UIC's lead to 3-1. King sent the ball ahead to Morelli, who was streaking down the right sideline. Morelli then beat Stellatos to the left as he rolled in his shot from seven yards out.
"That goal was a total wake-up call for us," King said of DeMerit's goal. "It completely changed the momentum of the game because it helped us relax. After that, we took it to them because we were not going to lose."
UIC, after firing off just three shots in the first half, finished the game with 13 shots to Loyola's six.
Pudwill, making his first collegiate start, had a pretty easy go of it on Saturday as the Ramblers tallied just one shot on goal. The Flames' regular netminder, Jeff Kusiciel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect), sat out the quarterfinal action as he continues to recover from a concussion he suffered against UW-Milwaukee last Saturday.