No. 15 Men's Soccer Advances To NCAA Sweet 16
Nov. 25, 2008
East Lansing, Mich.- The 15th-ranked UIC men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship Round of 16 for a second consecutive season after the Flames outlasted fourth-seeded Michigan State in a penalty kick shootout at DeMartin Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The Flames (12-3-6) won the five-round PK session by a 3-2 count over the Big Ten champion Spartans (13-5-2) to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third time in school history. UIC will now face North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Sunday at 12 p.m. CST.
For the second consecutive week, 110 minutes of play between the Flames and their NCAA Tournament opponent ended in a scoreless affair despite a variety of chances.
UIC outshot Michigan State by a 5-1 margin in the first half, with the Flames controlling play in the wet and cold conditions on the Spartans' pitch during the opening 45 minutes. The host Spartans created their share of opportunities in the second stanza, outshooting the Flames 4-3, with a pair of shots on goal by Big Ten Player of the Year Doug DeMartin that were stopped by Bubonja.
UIC created numerous scoring opportunities in the two overtime periods and utilized that momentum into the penalty kick session.
Bubonja would keep the Flames in good standing after stopping the first-round shot by DeMartin, and after a pair of successful Spartan tries he turned away the hosts' fourth attempt by Zac Scaffidi.
Charlie Trout, who was unable to connect on a clinching penalty kick during last weekend's first-round PK session against Dayton, put the Flames ahead with a laser-like boot in the fifth round of the shootout. Josh Rogers would take would take the fifth-round kick for the Spartans, and it went wide left to end the affair in the Flames' favor.
"I have so much respect for [Michigan State head coach] Joe [Baum], his staff and his team," said UIC head coach John Trask. "It's not just that Joe's a good soccer friend, he's a very good friend. To see him retire on a day like today, it's bittersweet.
"I compliment our guys once again, for coming in and playing quite a game," said Trask. "I felt we created some chances that normally we could have put away."
This was the third time that UIC has participated in a penalty kick session in the NCAA Tournament in the last two years, with the Flames advancing after each shootout.
UIC turned in its sixth shutout in eight NCAA Tournament matches over the past three seasons.
Stay tuned to uicflames.com for more information on the Flames' Sweet 16 match as it becomes available.