Oct. 24, 2013
Watch LIVE on the Horizon League Network
CHICAGO – Currently first place in the Horizon League, the UIC men’s soccer team will make the short trip to Valparaiso, Ind., to take on the Crusaders in a 7 p.m. CT matchup Friday night at Brown Field. The Flames enter into competition having won 11 of their last 12 games, with an undefeated 4-0-0 conference record.
"Valparaiso is a well-coached team that can possess the ball, executes in transition and is disciplined defensively," head coach Sean Phillips said. "They always play a very challenging non-league schedule which prepares them well for League games. We will have to bring our best mentality and focus of the season on all the details from the beginning to get the three points on Friday."
UIC (11-3-0, 4-0-0 HL) is coming off nearly a week of rest after facing Wright State on Oct. 19, when it captured a 3-2 double overtime win for its fifth-straight victory. Senior Slobodan Aleksov scored in the 60th minute and again in the 105th minute off an assist by junior Jesus Torres for the game-winner.
Aleksov leads the Flames this season in goals (7), shots on goal (23), shots (44) and points (17) through 14 matches, and also has three goals, eight SOG, 14 shots and seven points against conference opponents. Torres has collected the most assists with eight, placing him at first in the Horizon League and tied for third in the nation.
In the most recent NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings, UIC is placed at eighth in the Great Lakes region, while it also received votes in the College Soccer News Top 30 poll and is 35th in the NCAA RPI standings. UIC holds a 24-11 goal advantage over its opponents, with 166 attempts and 80 on goal, and has produced eight shutouts this season to rank ninth nationally in shutout percentage.
While recording every minute in goal this season, freshman goalkeeper Andrew Putna has allowed just 11 goals for a 0.77 GAA and made 32 saves, in addition to two goals allowed (0.48 GAA), 11 saves and three shutouts during conference play.
Valparaiso (3-5-5, 0-2-2 HL) will host its third home match of the season Friday at Brown Field, where it is 1-1-0. Valparaiso returns after over a week away from competition, having played its last match on Oct. 16, when it suffered a 2-1 loss at Kentucky.
The Crusaders have seven goal-scorers through 13 matches this season, with senior Charles Barden and junior Nick Suker leading the way at three goals apiece, while scoring just one against conference opponents. Suker additionally has the most shots on goal (10), shots (25) and points (7) for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso goalkeepers Tom Serratore and Nico Campbell have split time in the net this season, with Serratore holding a 1-4-4 record and Campbell going 2-1-1. Serratore has allowed 12 goals (1.19 GAA) while making 40 saves and Campbell has five goals allowed (1.18 GAA) with 14 saves.
The Flames hold a 17-3-2 all-time series record over the Crusaders, while going 4-1-1 since the 2007 season, when the Crusaders joined the Horizon League. During the 2012 meeting, the Flames claimed a 1-0 victory at Flames Field.