Men's Soccer Begins Postseason Run versus Rival Loyola Tuesday Night
Nov. 5, 2012
CHICAGO- The third-seeded UIC men's soccer team will begin its run in the postseason Horizon League Tournament Tuesday night, when the Flames entertain No. 6 Loyola in a quarterfinal match under the lights of Flames Field beginning at 7 p.m. CST. The Flames will be hosting their first postseason game since 2008.
UIC's (7-7-2, 3-3-1 Horizon) No. 3 seed also represents its highest postseason positioning since the 2008 campaign, when the Flames captured the Horizon League regular season championship. Loyola (3-11-2, 2-3-2 Horizon), the defending Horizon League Tournament Champions, earned the sixth and final seed in the League Tournament with a 4-3 win over preseason favorite Wright State Saturday night in Rogers Park.
"We're excited to get the third part of the college season started on Tuesday night," said head coach Sean Phillips. "It's great to be in a position to host a League quarterfinal; I think our guys have played well enough this season to deserve that opportunity. Playoff games are always intense, and obviously Tuesday's game is going to have added significance, with one of our big rivals coming to Flames Field."
UIC is coming off a 2-1 loss versus regular season champion Detroit last Saturday - the Flames convincingly out-shot the Titans 20-12, but Titan goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher turned away seven shots to help UDM secure home field advantage throughout the Horizon League playoffs.
Senior midfielder Ivan Stanisavljevic, the 2011 Horizon League Offensive Player of the Year, led the Flames offensively during the regular season, with 22 total points (eight goals, five assists). Junior Slobodan Aleksov and freshman midfielder Joel Salmeron 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 freshman Jorge Alvarez (1) provided the remainder of UIC's goal scoring. The Flames also saw 11 different players tally assists during the regular season. Junior Piotr Kikolskihas started 13 matches in goal, including the last five contests.
Loyola held leads of 3-0 and 4-1 against the visiting Raiders last Saturday, before Wright State scored two late goals to make the final score 4-3. The Ramblers have scored seven goals in their past three Horizon League matches, five more scores than they tallied in the previous four League matches combined. Peter McKeown, the Ramblers' goalkeeper, also returned to the lineup on Oct. 13 - he did not start in goal against UIC on Oct. 10 at Flames Field.
"Loyola is in very good form right now," Phillips said. "They won a big game against Wright State to get into the tournament, and are known for playing their best soccer this time of year. It's going to be a challenge for us Tuesday night, and we're going to have to play our best offensive and defensive game of the year to come away with a result."
Andrew Raymonds and Jake Savino have each scored four goals to lead Loyola's offensive attack - James Howe and Reed Patterson have also chipped in two goals each. McKeown posted a 1.85 goals-against-average with 48 saves in 12 starts during the regular season.
In the regular season meeting (10/10/12), Aleksov scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the game, and Beard added his first goal of the season early in the second half, leading to UIC's convincing 3-1 win over the Ramblers - Savino scored LUC's goal in the 59th minute.
UIC leads the all-time series versus Loyola, 18-7-2, but the last 11 meetings have been closely contested, with the Flames holding a 5-4-2 edge during that stretch. The Flames and Ramblers have gone head-to-head in postseason play four times since 1998, including twice in the quarterfinals. UIC is 2-1-1 in those four meetings.