Soccer team extends winning streak

Slobodan Aleksov

Slobodan Aleksov was named Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week after scoring three goals in the Flames’ last two games. Photo: Steve Woltmann

The soccer team emerged victorious in both of its matches last week.

The team beat Loyola Wednesday at Flames Field, then won at Drake in the nonconference finale Saturday. The Flames have scored six goals in their last two games.

With the wins, UIC improves to 6-5-2 on the season.

Junior Slobodan Aleksov, who scored three goals in the two victories, was named the Offensive Player of the Week from the Horizon League and CollegeSportsMadness.com

Aleksov scored two goals in the first seven minutes of Wednesday’s game and midfielder Josh Beard added his first goal of the season early in the second half to win, 3-1.

“I thought we were finally able to click (offensively),” head coach Sean Phillips said.

“Slobodan is a very talented player.”

Aleksov, who started his second game of the season, wasted no time giving the Flames the early momentum. From the right side of the field, sophomore Jesus Torres crossed the ball to freshman Kyle Lindberg, who played the ball to Aleksov. He finished a left-footed strike to the far post for his first career goal. Torres and Lindberg were credited with assists on the play.

Less than 90 seconds later, Aleksov gave the Flames a 2-0 lead after Lindberg strategically played a ball to Aleksov, who scored a goal. Lindberg collected the assist.

The Flames pushed their lead to 3-0 less than two minutes into the second half, when Beard scored his second career goal.

UIC held a decisive 19-6 advantage in shots, including seven shots-on-goal. Aleksov took a team-high seven shots. Senior midfielder Ivan Stanisavljevic attempted four and Lindberg took three. UIC also held a 4-1 advantage on corner kicks and forced Loyola’s goalkeeper to make four saves.

The Flames used a balanced second-half scoring attack to record a 3-1 win Saturday at Drake.The victory marked UIC’s third road win of the season.

The score was tied 0-0 at halftime, before UIC’s offense exploded for three goals in the second stanza, one each from veterans Zach Kaleta, Aleksov and Stanisavljevic.

“I thought Drake controlled the run of play for the first 20-25 minutes, but our defense did a nice job during that stretch,” Phillips said. “Once we got our legs under us, I thought we started to control the game.

What was nice about this match was that we had a lot of solid contributions off the bench.”

UIC dominated the game statistically, recording an 18-8 advantage in shots. That included a 7-1 edge in the first half.

Kaleta scored his second goal of the season less than two minutes into the second frame, putting the ball in the back of the net. Freshman Jorge Alvarez was credited with the assist.

Drake answered with a goal about five minutes later.

Aleksov scored his game-winning goal in the 75th minute, converting a strike from the top of the 18-yard box.

“For Slobodan to tally his second game-winner of the week, it says a lot,” Phillips said. “He started early in the year, and after not playing a lot of minutes, has battled back and gotten back to form.”

Stanisavljevic put the game out of reach in the 85th minute fielding a touch pass from Torres near the top of the box and converting the finish.

UIC goalkeeper Piotr Kikolski made two saves.

Along with the decisive advantage in shots, UIC also posted a 6-4 advantage on corner kicks.

UIC jumps back into Horizon League at 7 p.m. Saturday, traveling to Green Bay.

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