Nov. 23, 2007
ST. LOUIS - Illinois-Chicago prevailed 6-5 in a penalty-kick shootout to advance past host Saint Louis in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship on Friday night at Hermann Stadium. The Billikens and Flames played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer to advance to the shootout.
Kyle Patterson and Jovan Bubonja both converted to begin the shootout. However, the Billikens fell behind as Bubonja turned aside two shots, and the Flames converted twice to surge to a 3-1 lead. Brandon Barklage scored to keep the Billikens alive before UIC's shot hit the crossbar and stayed out.
Later in the shootout, Kyle Hayes scored to tie the PKs at 3-3. The Flames had their final shooter to win, but the ball sailed high as the first PK round was tied at 3-3. Brian Grazier converted to put SLU up, but Mike Giffin answered. Eric Sweetin then put the Billikens on top, followed by a Brandon Bilbrey's tally for UIC. In the eighth round, the Billikens were denied as Bubonja made the save setting the stage for UIC. Matt Spiess tallied for the Flames as they advanced to the second round.
"It comes down to penalty kicks, and it is anybody's game," Billiken head coach Dan Donigan said. "If you look at the game, it was two great teams going at it. It was a great NCAA Tournament game, but for us it just wasn't meant to be. I feel bad for our seniors. Pat Disbennett was fantastic. I could not have asked more from him. They (UIC) just buried more (PKs) than we did."
The two sides played to a scoreless first half, with each squad mustering three shots in the stanza. UIC had the first legitimate scoring chance just more than five minutes into the match. The Flames sent a corner kick wide out of the box. Mike Giffin then took possession after the combination, and quickly rifled a 20-yard shot to the right post that a diving Disbennett got his gloves on.
Later, Barklage fired a 16-yarder after a sequence involving crisp passes from Tim Ream and Dado Hamzagic to set up the chance. Bubonja, a Horizon League first-team goalkeeper, was equal to the task, corralling the chance to eliminate the threat.
After a Disbennett stop off an Ian Sarachan drive from point-blank range and a close miss by Jimmy Holmes, the teams went into halftime scored 0-0. Disbennett had a pair of saves in the half, while Bubonja had one. The Flames had a 2-1 edge in corner kicks in the half.
Neither keeper was tested in the second half, though each side managed to manufacture some chances. With under 15 minutes left in regulation, Wisniewski send a ball into the penalty area that just missed the sliding Beau Bellomy. UIC took two shots in the half and ended regulation with a 6-5 advantage in the shots department.
In overtime, SLU controlled possession in the early period. Its best chance came less than four minutes in when Eric Sweetin flicked a ball to a running Patterson who split two UIC defenders, but the ball glanced off his right foot just wide of the frame. Neither team managed a score, which subsequently sent the game into a second 10-minute overtime session.
In that period, UIC's Pavle Dundjer unleased a 20-yeard drive that Disbennett had to be sharp on.
The Billikens see their season end 12-2-5, while the Flames are now 11-5-6 and will take on No. 9 seed Northwestern on Wednesday, Nov. 28.