Nov. 13, 2013
PEORIA, Ill. - Second half goals from Jabari Danzy and Christian Volesky carried the SIUE Cougars to a 2-1 victory over the Loyola University Chicago men's soccer team this afternoon in a quarterfinal round game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Peoria, Ill. The defeat brings an end to the career of the seven seniors on Loyola's roster.
"First and foremost, I would like to thank the seniors for everything they have given to this program," said Loyola head men's soccer coach Neil Jones. "We will miss them but they will forever be a part of the Loyola soccer family."
The fifth-seeded Ramblers were forced to go against a consistently strong wind in the opening half. Danzy had the game's first opportunity but his headed attempt was blocked away by the Rambler backline. An advanteagous free kick for the Cougars later on resulted in two corner kicks. In a theme that would be prevelant in the opening 45 minutes, the Loyola defense was well-organized and disciplined, ensuring neither resulted in an opportunity.
As the half wore on, it was the Ramblers who were beginning to establish consistent posession. By keeping posesssion for long spells, Loyola refused to let the higher seeded Cougars take advantage of playing with the strong winds.
The first shot on goal for either team fell to SIUE's Austin Ledbetter. His attempt from outside the box was easily coralled by sophomore Tim Dobrowolski. Dobrowolski, out of Rockford, Ill., was not as comfortable when Danzy unleashed a blast from point-blank range but was up to the task in palming his shot away. The two teams headed to the warmth of their respective halftime locker rooms knotted in scoreless deadlock, marking the 12th time this season that Loyola had been tied going into the intermission.
Loyola returned to the field following the intermission with the wind, which provided an obstabcle for its offense in the first half, now behind them. The physical tone that was established before halftime carried over as both teams continued to scrap for every opportunity in less than ideal conditions.
SIUE had the second half's first dangerous opportunity and did not let it go by the wayside. Gabe Christensen played a ball into the teeth of the wind that found its way over the Loyola backline. Danzi barely beat a hard-charging Dobrowolski to the ball and headed it through the Rambler netminder's hands to give his side a 1-0 advantage in the 56th minute.
Sophomore Ryan Howe looked to equalize two minutes later but could only watch as his shot went wide at the far post. Danzi, yet again, had part in another Cougar goal in the 68th minute when he and Ben Sauerwein combined to assist on Christian Volesky's goal that doubled the Cougar lead at 2-0.
With time running out on its season, Loyola continued to search for a goal that would insert them back into the contest. Senior Max Van Houten, fresh off scoring the first goal of his collegiate career against Incarnate Word last Thursday, cannoned a shot at goal from the top of the 18-yard box that forced John Berner, the SIUE goalkeeper, to deflect the ball over his crossbar.
Howe and junior Brian Bement both had chances in the late stages of the half as well to get one back for Loyola but were unable to beat Berner. Berner made another fine save on a headed attempt by junior Brian Lunar before Bement put Loyola on the board with only five seconds left. The Waterloo, Ill. native picked up his team-leading eighth goal of the season when he put home a loose ball off of a goal mouth scramble. Bement's goal would be Loyola's final opportunity of the night, and the season, as SIUE held on for a 2-1 victory to book its spot in the semifinals.
"In terms of the game tonight, at halftime I thought we were in a good position to grab a hold of the game, but full credit to SIUE for making two plays that led to goals," concluded Jones. "The entire team and coaching staff is already excited about Fall 2014."