Men's Soccer Wraps up Regular Season versus First-Place Detroit Friday
Nov. 1, 2012
CHICAGO - The UIC men's soccer team will wrap up the regular season by hosting first-place Detroit Friday night (7 p.m.) with postseason implications running high. With a win over the Titans, UIC would secure the No. 3 seed in next week's Horizon League Tournament.
UIC (7-6-2, 3-2-1 Horizon) enters Friday's match in sole possession of third-place in the League standings, one point ahead (10) of fourth-place Valparaiso (9). Detroit sits atop the conference standings with a record of 5-1-0, and can lock up home field advantage throughout the Horizon League playoffs with a win over the Flames. If UIC finishes either third or fourth in the final regular season standings, the Flames will host a postseason quarterfinal match on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at Flames Field.
"It will be nice to get home again; we've been on the road for over three weeks," said head coach Sean Phillips. "We want to finish our regular season strong not only for our seniors, but also for the fans that have been great for us all year. Detroit is at the top of our conference for a reason - they are a very talented team, and it's going to be a tremendous challenge for our guys Friday night. What's great about this group is that they've welcomed these types of challenges this year. We're looking forward to what should be a great college soccer game back on our surface at Flames Field."
UIC is coming off a 1-0 setback at Cleveland State last Saturday, suffering just its first defeat since Oct. 6. The Flames are 3-2-1 at home this season, including a 2-0-0 mark in Horizon League play. Overall, the Flames are unbeaten in four-straight games at Flames Field, dating back to Sept. 14 vs. IUPUI. In the past nine games, UIC has outscored its opponents by a margin of 13-6.
Stanisavljevic, the Horizon League preseason Offensive Player of the Year, continues to lead the Flames offensively, with 19 total points (seven goals, five assists). Junior Slobodan Aleksov and freshman midfielder Joel Salmeron have also chipped with three goals apiece, while Ned Pavlovic (2), junior defender Zach Kaleta (2), Phil Galounis (1), Isai Lemus (1), Josh Beard (1) and Alvarez (1) have provided the remainder of UIC's goal scoring. The Flames have also seen 11 different players tally assists on the season. Junior Piotr Kikolski has started 12 matches in goal, including the last four contests.
Detroit (9-8-0, 5-1-0 Horizon) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in a non-conference affair at Michigan Tuesday night, but eventually fell in a 2-1 decision - Jason Leslie scored the Titans' lone goal in the 41st minute. UDM's Adam Bedell is the Titans' top offensive player, and currently leads the Horizon League in points (25), goals (10) and assists (5). Bedell and Stanisavljevic rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the League in points, and share the conference lead in assists.
Pat Lepara has chipped in four goals for the Titans, while Matt Harkema and Patrick Soltys have each scored three goals. Nathan Steinwascher has started all 17 games in goal, making 78 saves while posting a 1.47 goals-against-average. Collectively, the Titans are 2-0 in Horizon League road games.
Friday's match will mark the 21st all-time meeting between UIC and Detroit. The Titans own a slight 9-8-3 advantage in the all-time series, and have won the last three meetings, dating back to the 2009 season. Last year at Titan Field, Detroit's Cameron Roberts scored the game-winner at the 82:31 mark, capitalizing on a successful corner kick by Nate Robinson.