Men's Soccer Travels to No. 12 Indiana for Exhibition Opener|
Aug. 13, 2012
CHICAGO - The 2012 UIC men's soccer team will competitively take the field for the first time Tuesday, when the Flames travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face No. 12 Indiana in an exhibition match at Bill Armstrong Stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m. CST. The trip to IU will represent a homecoming for both head coach Sean Phillips and assistant coach Aleksey Korol.
"Playing at Indiana will be a great challenge for our guys," said head coach Sean Phillips. "They are an extremely talented team, one that will be in the mix for the Big Ten championship and could make a very deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Our players always get excited to play a team of Indiana's caliber, whether it is an exhibition game, in the regular season or in the spring. Our guys will know exactly where they stack up after playing tomorrow night, and it will be a great test for our newcomers as well."
UIC, which has been training since last Thursday, is set to return 13 letterwinners from last year's team, including seven players that saw significant time in the starting lineup. Phillips and his staff will also welcome 11 newcomers to the mix - the incoming class features an NSCAA adidas High School All-American, an IHSA State Champion, two U.S. Developmental Academy National Champions, six 2011 IHSSCA All-State members and the 2011 IHSSCA Player of the Year.
Indiana was slated as the nation's 12th ranked team in the initial 2012 NSCAA/Continental Tire College Rankings. The Hoosiers return two-of their top-three scorers from the 2011 campaign, including Eriq Zavaleta, who scored a team-high 10 goals and was named the Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Year. Luis Soffner, a senior goalkeeper, also returns as IU's primary net minder. The Hoosiers finished the 2011 season with a 13-4-5 (3-1-2 Big Ten) record, and advanced to the third-round of the NCAA Tournament.
Phillips and Korol both enjoyed decorated playing and coaching careers at Indiana. As an assistant coach with the Hoosiers (2000-05), Phillips helped lead IU to three College Cups, including a national championship in 2004. The Hoosiers also made a pair of trips to the College Cup during his playing career as a goalkeeper from 1991-94. He was also in the same recruiting class (1991) as each member of IU's current coaching staff (head coach Todd Yeagley and assistant coaches Brian Maisonneuve and Ernie Yarborough).
As an assistant coach at Indiana, Korol was on staff during four NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" appearances - he returned to UIC from Indiana for his second assistant coaching stint with the Flames prior to the 2010 season. As a player, Korol concluded his collegiate career at Indiana in 1999 as the leading point scorer in NCAA Tournament history and the fourth-highest point scorer in school history. He scored 57 goals and assisted on 35 others for a career point total of 149.
Tuesday's match will be streamed live on IUHoosiers.com.