Aces Men’s Soccer Continues Magical Tourney Run, with Penalty-Kick win over Loyola
UE faces Missouri St., in Sunday’s Championship Match
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Continuing its magical run, the University of Evansville men’s soccer team outlasted No. 2 seed Loyola Chicago in penalty kicks to advance on from MVC Tournament semifinals, 2-2 (8-7 on PKs), on Friday evening in Springfield, Mo.
An intense, fast-paced match from the opening whistle, Evansville was powered by a penalty kick goal by Pablo Guillen and a late first half goal by Carlos Barcia. In goal, it was a classic performance from Jacob Madden, who made a career-high nine saves in the draw, including six in the second half and overtime.
An early break for Evansville helped fuel the early attack for the Aces as a handball was called on Loyola in the box, earning a penalty for UE in the sixth minute. Guillen, the typical taker for Evansville, stepped to the spot and finished past the keeper to foreshadow the game’s ending and hand the Aces a 1-0 advantage. In the 20th minute, the Ramblers equalized as a ball was fired in from the top of the box from Andrew Mitchell to tie the match.
As the match entered the final 10 minutes of the first half, it was Loyola who scored its second-straight, this time off the foot of Alex Moskal, assisted by Tyler Biggs, earning Loyola the 2-1 lead before the break. But Evansville still had plenty to say before the match went to the half. Following a Loyola goal kick, Evansville earned a throw-in along the far touchline. Freshman Owen Butcher quickly took the throw-in, finding a sprinting Nkosi Graham down the left side. Graham made his way into the box and slipped the ball to the top where Barcia awaited. The junior played the ball to his left and ripped a shot that soared past the keeper and tied the match at two.
The second half saw Evansville tally just one shot, but the Aces were superb in the defensive third. Loyola racked-up eight shots in the second 45 minutes, including five on-frame, but Evansville was up to the task each time as the match moved into overtime. In overtime, redshirt junior Jakub Hall nearly ended it with a shot in the 95th minute that Kampman saved to head to the second and final overtime period. Each team put a shot on-goal in the second extra period, but again, the keepers for either side stepped up and the match moved to penalties.
Evansville and Loyola were both perfect in their first five penalties with neither keeper able to get much of a touch on the ball. The sixth PK taker for the Ramblers was Oscar Dueso, whose powerful chance was nearly deflected by Madden, but lofted high into goal. For the Aces in the six spot, Barcia stepped to the spot and calmly took his penalty, as Kampman got a piece of Barcia’s attempt, but it wasn’t enough as it found the back of the net. In the seven spot, Zambrano accurately slipped the ball to the far post, sending the PKs to an eighth round. As Loyola stepped up, Madden made a huge save, but was ruled to have left the goal line early. Having to redo the attempt, the Loyola penalty take again tried Madden’s left and the Round Rock, Texas native picked right again, grabbing the ball with an outstretched arm to give Evansville a chance to end it. Redshirt senior Davis Peck had the opportunity in front of him and he did not disappoint. With confidence, Peck struck the ball to the far post and kept it away from the keeper, advancing the Aces to the MVC championship match.
The championship match appearance is Evansville’s first since 2009 and just its third all-time.
The Aces take on top-seeded and 10th-ranked Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. on Sunday at 1 PM in the MVC Tournament title match.
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