Soccer hosts weekend tourney
The men’s soccer team hosts the UIC Soccer Classic this week after claiming two shutouts last week at the Belmont Invitational in Nashville, Tenn.
UIC will take on Gonzaga at 7:30 p.m. Friday and IPFW at 2 p.m. Sunday at Flames Field. IPFW faces Wisconsin at 5 p.m. Friday and Gonzaga goes up against Wisconsin at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Senior Josh Beard, sophomore Jorge Alvarez and freshmen Gonzalo Romo and Andrew Putna were named to the Belmont Invitational All- Tournament team.
Beard and Alexios Fronimos scored to lift the Flames to a 2-0 victory over Belmont Sunday, while Alvarez and Kyle Lindberg scored for a 2-0 win over Lipscomb Friday.
UIC’s record stands at 3-2-0 after winning its last three matches.
“It’s always very difficult to get two shutout wins on the road,” head coach Sean Phillips said.
“We knew going into this game, after watching Belmont beat our Horizon League-opponent Cleveland State, 1-0, on Friday at home, that this was going to be a very difficult opponent.
“They’re a talented, athletic, hard-working, spirited team that really took it to us, especially in the second half, outshooting us 14-5, but our goalkeeper came up with one tremendous save and did well with balls in the air.”
The shots were limited in the first period with the Flames firing off just three attempts, while the Bruins were not even given an opportunity.
Despite the limited chances, UIC got on the board in the 14th minute when Beard put the ball past Belmont’s freshman goalkeeper Grayson Rector for his third career goal off a corner kick served in by senior Slobodan Aleksov.
Belmont came out kicking in the second and tallied 10 shots in the first 20 minutes, with senior Joao Fonseca recording the lone shot on goal for the Bruins of the game and forcing Putna to make the save. Belmont went on to attempt four more shots, taking all 14 of the match in just the second period.
“The defense bent, but did not break,” Phillips said. “Our back line continues to develop and mature, and while it’s not where we want it yet, those four guys continue to get better each and every game and make it very difficult to score.”
While holding off the Bruins in the second half, the Flames took five additional shots, four on goal with attempts from Aleksov, Alvarez and redshirt-sophomore Piotr Lagowski.
In the 71st minute, Fronimos shot a pass from Alvarez and senior Bob Novak past Rector to increase UIC’s lead to 2-0. The goal marked Fronimos’ first as a Flame, while the assists to Alvarez and Novak are their third and second, respectively, of the season.
“Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, on the road, on field turf and in 85-degree heat, with both games being afternoons, new young players and teams have to dig in and dig deep,” Phillips added.
“You also need some fifth-year seniors providing some guidance, and I thought that was done very well by Josh (Beard), Bob (Novak) and Alexios (Fronimos) on the key moments of getting the goals.”
The Flames recorded their first shutout of the season Friday when Alvarez and Lindberg each scored against Lipscomb.
Alvarez made the first shot attempt of the game, then executed less than eight minutes later in the 10th minute, when he put his second goal of the season past Lipscomb with the assist from junior Jesus Torres.
The Flames continued to make chances and finished the first period with six shots, three on goal from Alvarez, Aleksov and Novak.
Into the second period, Lindberg added an insurance goal for UIC in the 57th minute for his second score of the season, with assists from Alvarez and Aleksov. The Flames had three additional shots in the half, with another on goal coming from Novak.
Goalkeeper Putna made one save; UIC held Lipscomb to one shot in the second and four in the entire 90 minutes.