Billikens Knock Off La Salle in A-10 Tourney
ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis junior midfielder Alex Sweetin and sophomore forward Robbie Kristo notched a goal and an assist apiece as the second-seeded Billikens ousted seventh-seeded La Salle 3-1 in a quarterfinal matchup of the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship at Charlotte's Transamerica Field.
SLU, ranked No. 15 in the Soccer America national poll, advances to the semifinals Friday evening to take on No. 3-seed Xavier at 4 p.m. (CT). The Musketeers played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw against Dayton this afternoon, then advanced to the semifinals on penalty kicks.
Saint Louis (14-4) had the better of play Thursday, out-shooting La Salle (10-7-3) 17-8 and holding a 9-3 advantage in penalty kicks.
Kristo, a first-team All-Conference selection, opened the scoring at the 23:00 mark with his team-leading 10th goal of the year. Junior defender Jon Roeckle assisted on the play, send a perfectly flighted ball through the box that Kristo headed in.
The Billikens appeared to take a 2-0 lead later in the first half, but their goal was waived off as SLU was offside. SLU also rang a shot off the goalpost, and the teams went into the locker room with the Billikens leading 1-0.
SLU had additional chances in the second half but were unable to score. La Salle tied it up 79th minute when Jason Plumhoff put one past SLU junior keeper Nick Shackelford to make it 1-1.
Sophomore forward Kingsley Bryce tallied the game winner on a nice buildup from the midfield. Freshman midfielder David Graydon send a long ball that found Sweetin on the right side. Sweetin crossed it in the box for a sliding Bryce, who touched it just inside the near post to give SLU a 2-1 advantage.
Sweetin put the game out of reach with an insurance goal in the final minute on an assist from Kristo.
Shackelford made three saves for the win in goal.Friday's Saint Louis/Xavier matchup is a rematch of a game earlier this season that saw Xavier upend the Billikens 3-2 in Cincinnati. All five goals in that match occurred in the first half, including two tallies in the first two minutes of play. Bryce and Kristo scored the Billikens' goals.