No. 15 Men's Soccer Advances Past Dayton To NCAA Second Round

Jovan Bubonja shakes hands with Dayton players after the Flames advanced to the Round of 32 on Nov. 21.
Jovan Bubonja shakes hands with Dayton players after the Flames advanced to the Round of 32 on Nov. 21.

Nov. 21, 2008

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Chicago, Ill.- A diving stop by UIC junior goalkeeper Jovan Bubonja in the third round of penalty kicks set the stage for the 15th-ranked UIC men's soccer team to advance past Dayton in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship at Flames Field on Friday night.

The Flames (12-3-5), who won the PK shootout 3-1 in four rounds, advance to meet Michigan State in the second round in East Lansing, Mich. this Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern/12 p.m. Central.

Both teams were unable to find the net after 110 minutes of play despite UIC controlling the possession throughout. The Flames outshot the Flyers (15-4-3) 12-1, including a 4-0 advantage in shots against target, and allowed Dayton's sole attempt to be taken in 89th minute.

UIC's best opportunity to score in regulation came in the 56th minute, when Baggio Husidic's shot bounced off the post to miss net by an inch. Dayton keeper Tyler Picard also made four solid saves to snuff out the hosts' chances at goal.

So for the second straight year the Flames found themselves needing to win in penalty kicks to advance to the second round, and for the second straight year the Flames made clutch plays on both sides of the shootout.

Bubonja, who sets the penalty kick order for the Flames, chose himself to take the first attempt and sent it past Picard to put UIC ahead. Dayton's Simeon Zapryanov converted his chance to even the PK session, followed by Ian Sarachan's successful kick for UIC.

The shootout went into the Flames' favor when Ryan Handbury's attempt went wide left, and Husidic knocked his chance in to put UIC 3-1. Then Bubonja made a stop on Florian DeCamps' PK to put the home side just a kick away from clinching, but Charlie Trout's shot was stopped by Picard.

That left it up to the Flyers' Zach Weiss, but his shot sailed wide right to clinch the session, and a third straight trip to the Round of 32, for the Flames.

"First of all I'd like to compliment [Dayton head] coach [Dennis] Currier and his staff," said UIC head coach John Trask. "They had a great season and they played very well today. Penalty kicks can go either way. I thought we did a lot of good things in the game, but they're extremely disciplined and a fine soccer team. We had some chances, we just couldn't hit the thing over the line. Congrats to them.

"As for my team, I'm extremely pleased that we can move on," Trask said. "That's what this tournament is all about. I have learned over the years that you aren't always going to win playing beautiful soccer.

"I thought we did some excellent stuff considering the conditions. The opportunity to continue and move on is what it's all about."

Last year UIC advanced past Saint Louis, another Atlantic 10 Conference side, in an eight-round penalty kick session in the NCAA first round to spur a historic run to the Elite Eight.

The game goes in the books as a scoreless draw, meaning the Flames registered their fifth NCAA postseason shutout in the last three seasons. Bubonja's goals-against average in seven NCAA Championship starts improved to a paltry 0.40 with the clean sheet.