Billikens Rally for 3-1 Win in Opener
ST. LOUIS – Three Billikens scored second-half goals to propel the No. 8 Saint Louis men’s soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Oral Roberts Friday in the season opener at Robert R. Hermann Stadium.
The Billikens (1-0), who outshot Oral Roberts 16-6, captured their first season-opening win since 2005.
SLU fell behind 1-0 on a goal by Oral Roberts’ Tom Adams with a little more than a minute remaining in the first half.
“I thought we played well before allowing that late goal in the first half,” SLU head coach Mike McGinty said. “We made it tougher on ourselves, but the reaction was positive. Nobody panicked, nobody blamed one another, everybody just wanted to win even more. It was not an easy game, and this was a good lesson for what a lot of our games may look like this year.”
After the break, it was all Billikens. Sophomore midfielder Francisco Vizcaino notched the equalizer in the 52nd minute when he headed home a cross from sophomore midfielder David Graydon.
Junior forward Kinglsey Bryce put the Billiken ahead in the 83rd, but not before quality work by the Billikens in their own end. Sophomore defender Julian Gieseke cleared a ball of his own line, and on the ensuing counter-attack, Graydon found Bryce streaking down the left side. With one touch, Bryce snuck the ball behind the Oral Roberts keeper for a 2-1 Billiken advantage.
Kristo, who led the Billikens in scoring a season ago, gave the Billikens an insurance tally late in the match. The Hermann Trophy candidate danced up the endline, found space, and buried a shot into the back of the net for the 3-1 final.
SLU, which also enjoyed an 8-2 corner-kick advantage, received a match-high four shots from midfielder Alex Sweetin.
The Billikens return to action next weekend at the Bearcat Classic in Cincinnati. SLU faces host Cincinnati Friday, Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m. (CT). SLU then takes on Northern Illinois Sunday, Sept. 8, in an 11 a.m. (CT) kick. The next SLU home game is Saturday, Sept. 14, when the Billikens take on Denver at Hermann Stadium at 7 p.m.