Nov. 8, 2013
CHICAGO – The UIC men’s soccer team heads into its final regular-season match Saturday when it hosts Green Bay at Flames Field for a Horizon League contest beginning at 1 p.m. CT. Prior to the start of the match, the Flames will honor their seven seniors in a Senior Day ceremony.
"Successful teams are often characterized by their senior leadership," head coach Sean Phillips said. "This group of seniors is unique in that we have three guys who have been with us since their freshmen year, one junior college transfer and three fifth-year seniors who are doing graduate work and just joined us this fall. Their individual and collective actions on and off the field has provided an example not just for this year, but for those who will be following in their footsteps into a leadership role in the future. The locker room has been a big part of this team’s success. This group will be missed by the staff, players and department."
UIC is returning to Flames Field after collecting its eighth-straight win with a 3-1 defeat over Drake on Nov. 3 to improve to 14-3-0 with the second-best W-L-T percentage in the nation. Senior Slobodan Aleksov recorded his fourth two-goal game of the season with tallies in the 28th and 88th minutes, while senior Aris Zafeiratos scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute for his second game-winner of the season.
"The seniors have led the way," added Phillips. "They have done a great job of maintaining our team’s focus on what is next, whether it be in a training session, match or moment in the game. This group seems to always want more and to win that next moment."
Aleksov paces the Flames with nine goals this season for third best in the Horizon League, with five other players collecting three or more goals. Aleksov additionally holds the most points (21), shots (52) and shots on goal (25), while junior Jesus Torres continues to stay at the top of the leaderboard in assists with nine to place first in the League and seventh in the national rankings.
Freshman goalkeeper Andrew Putna has made 43 saves with a .768 save percentage while allowing just 13 goals for a 0.75 GAA this season. While playing all 17 games, Putna has collected nine shutouts to lead the Horizon League.
UIC made its first showing of the season in the national rankings when it placed at No. 28 in the College Soccer News poll, while also receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings. Currently at 37th in the NCAA RPI, UIC sits at eighth ahead of Northwestern and Milwaukee in the Great Lakes region.
Green Bay heads to Flames Field with a 7-6-3 overall record, 2-3-1 HL, and a sixth-place standing in the Horizon League after falling in its last two games, including a 3-2 loss to Oakland on Nov. 2.
Through 16 games, the Phoenix have scored 28 goals, with a League-best 11 coming from senior Sam Krenzien, who has also recorded the most points (26), shots (65) and shots on goal (32).
Goalkeepers Kyle Ihn and Dary DeWalt have split time in net this season for Green Bay, with Ihn collecting the most minutes. Ihn has made 53 saves (.697 save percentage) and allowed 23 goals for a 1.91 GAA, while DeWalt stopped 14 shots (.667 save percentage) and let in seven for a 1.43 GAA.
"Coach Popik has done a tremendous job with this program," Phillips said. "They are a team full of fight, athleticism and tremendous talent, especially in the attack. We will have to bring the fight and mentality of a post season match which is what Green Bay will bring since they are still fighting for their seed in the Horizon League Tournament."
The Flames are 8-5-0 when competing against the Phoenix during the regular and post season over the past 10 seasons. The Flames have won the last two regular-season meetings, including last season’s 2-0 victory on the road.
The Last Meeting
October 20, 2012
Green Bay, Wis.
Men's Soccer Upends Green Bay, 2-0
Freshman Jorge Alvarez scored his first-career goal, and senior Ivan Stanisavljevic scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season, leading the UIC men's soccer team to a convincing 2-0 win over host Green Bay in a Horizon League match Saturday night. The win marked UIC's first victory over the Phoenix in Green Bay since 2005.