Soccer ends regular season with perfect league record
The men’s soccer team captured its ninth-straight win Saturday to end the regular season with an unblemished 7-0-0 Horizon League record.
The 2-1 win against Green Bay at Flames Field was UIC’s 15th regular-season win, a program best.
The Flames will host the semifinals and final rounds of the Horizon League Championship at Flames Field beginning this Friday.
UIC improves to 15-3-0 overall, with a perfect 7-0-0 record in the Horizon League to mark the most conference wins in program history, in addition to the first undefeated season against conference opponents.
Green Bay goes to 7-7-3 on the season and 2-4-1 in the Horizon League.
“When you go into post-season play, you always want to be feeling good about yourself and there is no better way to do it than by getting a win,” said head coach Sean Phillips.
The Flames battled in the first half to find and keep possession and create their chances. Junior Jesus Torres fired off three shots to contribute to the Flames’ total of nine, as the Phoenix made three attempts with two coming from Audi Jepson.
UIC came out with urgency in the second half, collecting the first goal in the 55th minute when freshman Joel Leon netted his first career goal off a pass from sophomore Joel Salmeron. After several attempts, Green Bay tied the game after AJ Patterson shot the ball in off the crossbar in the 79th minute.
“We got the goal and we had a couple of other chances to make it 2-0, but there is a reason Green Bay has not been shut out often this year and they proved it again today — they are a great attacking team,” Phillips said.
After Green Bay’s Jordan Dover was ejected in the 82nd minute with his second yellow card of the game, the Flames made a quick turnaround. Sophomore Jorge Alvarez headed in a pass from senior Aris Zafeiratos in the 84th minute for his fourth goal of the season and the game-winner.
Freshman goalkeeper Andrew Putna was forced to make four saves during the contest for a .770 save percentage this season, while allowing one goal for a 0.76 GAA. Green Bay’s freshman goalkeeper Kyle Ihn made five saves off the Flames’ 22 attempts, seven of them on goal.
“It was a good team effort and the guys found a way to win,” said Phillips.
“I think the biggest thing was that it was good to get a win against a good opponent going into the playoffs, because everyone is 0-0-0 starting Friday.
“For this group to get to where they want to go, we are going to have to be 1-0 on Friday and 1-0 on Sunday, and the games just get tougher and tougher as we go forward.”
The Horizon League tournament schedule will be announced later this week.