Last-minute heroics from junior Alyssa Gilman helped give the Cougars their first points of the new season on Tuesday night, as her goal in the 90th minute allowed SXU to rally for a 2-2 draw on the road against Bethel (Ind.).
Gilman’s second goal of the season helped the Cougars come back after trailing for nearly an hour. Bethel tallied in the 31st and 37th minutes to take a 2-1 halftime lead.
Sophomore Claire Collevy, who played at Moraine Valley, first put Saint Xavier in front with a goal in the 11th minute. The contest marked Collevy’s first appearance for SXU.
Sophomore Shelby Bishop assisted on the game-tying goal for her first point in a Saint Xavier uniform.
Senior Carly Bledsoe made five saves in her first start this season, while the defense held Bethel to just two shots on goal over the second half.
Freshman Kimberly Marquez scored her first collegiate goal Aug. 30 in a game against visiting Asbury, but the Cougars fell to the Eagles, 2-1, at Deaton Field.
The defeat left the Cougars winless after three games.
For the third time in as many matches this season, the Saint Xavier (0-2-1) struck first, as Marquez, a Reavis alum, took Morgan Sniegolski’s pass from the right in for the first goal of the game in the 51st minute.
Asbury (2-1) responded with the equalizer in the 57th minute, then scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute.
Asbury out-shot Saint Xavier 8-2 before halftime. Goalkeeper Carly Bledsoe made six saves in the first half and a season-high eight on the day.
After the Eagles took the lead, Saint Xavier had three attempts at goal to find the equalizer, but two shots missed wide and the third, in the 90th minute, was stopped by the Asbury keeper.
The Cougars head to Grand Rapids, Mich., for a pair of matches on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 and 8. SXU will take on Aquinas (Mich.) Friday and Cornerstone (Mich.) Saturday.
After a 90-minute lightning delay midway through the match, Saint Xavier regrouped to earn their first victory of the season, 1-0, over Campbellsville (Ky.) on Aug 30.
Cougars forward Danny Lopez’s goal in the 33rd minute was the difference. The senior found the back of the net from six yards out for his first goal of the season and his 14th career goal as a Cougar.
The Cougars (1-2) back line performance was pivotal, as Saint Xavier played a man down after a red card was given in the 41st minute. Campbellsville (1-1) out-shot the Cougars 13-0 in the second half, trying unsuccessfully to find the equalizer.
Saint Xavier freshman goalkeeper Shane Badertscher had five saves, including four while the Tigers had a man advantage, and earned his first collegiate win in goal.
Cougars head coach Ed Vucinic reached a milestone as well, earning his 150th career victory leading the Saint Xavier program.
The Cougars head to Grand Rapids, Mich. to play Cornerstone (Mich.) Friday in a rematch of last season’s 2-0 victory.
Saint Xavier senior men’s golfer Alec Martinez and freshman women’s golfer Kristin Donnelly led the Cougars with their respective team’s lowest scores at the season-opening CCAC Cup, hosted at Ravisloe Community College last week.
The men’s team finished fourth out of six programs with a combined score of 614 (+54) an improvement of 19 strokes and three places compared to their performance in 2017. Martinez and junior Matt Clark improved their scores in the second round on Aug. 28, finishing tied for 11th and tied for 14th. Martinez shot 75-73-148 (+8), while Clark posted 77-74-151 (+11).
Three golfers on the women’s side made up an incomplete team roster, but Donnelly led the way with 97-99-196 (+56) in the two-round tournament, finishing 18th. Madeleine Lantz (99-99-198, +58) and Anna Driscoll (110-106-216, +76) each made their collegiate debuts, and placed 22nd and 24th, respectively.
Also for the men, senior Jeremiah Guernsey (74-83-157, +17), junior Patrick Mangawang (79-79-158, +18) and freshman Spencer Marquez (84-86-170, +30) finished tied for 19th, and in 21st and 30th-places, respectively.
The Cougar men will play Tuesday, Sept. 11, when they compete at the St. Francis Fall Classic at Wedgewood Golf Club in Joliet. The women will next play Seapt. 21 and 22 at the Battle at Blackthorn at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend, Ind.
In their first Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference game of the season on Aug. 29, the Cyclones took out the nationally ranked (No. 12) McHenry County College Scots. Moraine lost two of the first three games but battled back for a five-set victory 25-20, 16-25, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13.
Abbi Fletcher (Oak Lawn) led with 13 kills and 16 digs while Elizabeth Coffey (Peotone) tallied nine blocks. Emily Stepanek (Sandburg) led the Cyclones with 25 digs.
“This match was a huge win for us. Coming back after losing sets two and three really showed the heart and perseverance that this team has,” said head coach Lauren Lorenz. “I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work the players have been putting in. This has definitely set the tone for the rest of the season.”
The Cyclones notched another win Aug. 30, taking three straight from Malcolm X College, 25-9, 25-12, 25-11.
Taylor Bulow (Oak Lawn) led the effort with 14 kills while Amanda Bulow (Oak Lawn) added six kills and 17 assists. Lauren Gausselin (Sandburg) scored six aces.
In their opening conference and home match Aug. 29, the Cyclones played well enough to finish in fourth place.
The match at Cog Hill saw ideal weather on a soft course. Players put up good scores as they took advantage of the conditions, with the low round of the day at 68.
“The competition was tight, and it’s going to be a great fall season. Moraine Valley played well and had a team score that averaged 80 for four golfers. Normally that would be a great day, however today it was good enough for fourth,” said Coach Matt Lovelace.
The Cyclones tallied a 320 with sophomore Thomas Rodriquez (Peotone) leading the way, posting a 78. Freshman Akim Bizati (Lockport) also had a good day, finishing just one stroke behind his teammate with a 79. Lincoln-Way East grad James Goich (81), Peotone alum Paul Douglas (82) and Andrew product Sean McKernan (85) rounded out the scoring.
The Cyclones battled through the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference in 2017 and sent one player, sophomore Mitch Crook, to the national tournament. All-Conference player Goich and Rodriguez return to lead a group of newcomers incuding Bizati, who at 6-foot-4 has the length to drive the ball far. McKernan, a freshman, joins the team as a crossover from the Cyclone tennis team. Douglas Michael Rollberg (Oak Lawn) complete the lineup.
Coach Matt Lovelace returns for his third year leading the Cyclones.
“I have a little more experience as head coach now, and I know what to expect and how to react, what to do,” he said. “I look forward to the season as I do every year. I have a good feeling we’re going to do well.”
Lovelace recruited some strong athletes with the hopes of reclaiming a conference championship and finishing in the top two in the NJCAA Region IV tournament.
“We’ll see how the conference looks, but I think we look pretty good. There are a lot of new guys, and they all have a lot of talent,” Lovelace said.
The Cyclones were dominant in a 6-1 win on Aug. 30 over conference rival Prairie State College.
Omar Barragan (Reavis) started the Cyclone offense rolling around the 15-minute with his first collegiate goal. Barragan didn’t wait long to score his second, tallying 11 minutes later.
Between Barragan’s tallies was a goal by Daniel Kasaggoma (Uganda). Kasaggoma added a second goal of his own in the second half. Connor Gountounas (Andrew) and Milton Velastegui (Richards) also scored for the victors.
Assists came from Bryan Gonzalez (Hubbard), Fernando Alvarez (Reavis), Romaric Lawson (Togo), and goalkeeper Gustavo Flores (Eisenhower), who also had eight saves.
A penalty kick was the only thing that separated the Cyclones from a long-desired trip to the national tournament in 2017, and several players return this year from that talented squad.
Moraine 15-2-2 overall and 5-1-1 in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference). The region final match came down to penalty kicks. Strong recruits are joining the veteran players, providing a promising outlook this year.
“We’ll be strong this season,” said Donahue, who enters his third season leading the Cyclones. “We have a lot of defenders and mid-fielders back. We’ll score as much as last year, but it’ll be more spread out because we have more guys who can score.”
Kasaggoma, the team’s top scorer two years ago but who missed last season due to injury, will be key on offense. James Finn (Stagg), Michael Kaczmarczyk (Shepard), Rafal Kobylarczyk (Stagg), Tomasz Kulak (Stagg) and Drake Silver (Lockport) compose a solid core of leaders who were the base of last year’s team and should continue that trend. Top Cyclone goalkeeper Gustavo Flores (Eisenhower) finished last season ranked sixth nationally in save percentage (.894) and returns as a starter. Hurtado is another strong goalkeeper, and Bryan Gonzalez (Hubbard) could make an impact offensively.
“There are a lot of new faces that will work their way into the lineup. We’re looking very good with this dedicated and hard-working group,” said Donahue, who is again joined on the sidelines by assistant Christopher Koloffon and newcomer Alejandro Unzueta. “We have a tougher schedule, especially because we travel for the first two games of the season against very good teams. If we get past these first two successfully, we’ll be on a roll.”
Last season’s men’s team won their first invitational title, earned an NJCAA Region IV championship and competed at nationals, where sophomore Jordi Rangel finished in the top 100. Rangel has moved on, but most of last year’s freshmen are back.
David Alvarez (Sandburg) and Diego Arana (Oak Lawn) are seeking to repeat as All-Region and All-Conference runners as well as become All-Americans. Other returnees are John Donovan (Lincoln-Way East), Salah Mustafa (Andrew), Ettore Gaytan (Tinley Park) and Justin George (Andrew), the latter two who are battling injuries but are expected to contribute once healed. The lone newcomer is Isaiah Flores (Solorio Academy).
Dimitri Dimizas, who enters his third season leading the Cyclones, has in each of his first two years as head coach and in previous years as an assistant, had one or both teams earn a region or conference championship and taken runners to nationals.
“Our main focus is health since we only have seven guys. We’ll take extra caution resting them so they’re good by the end of October for the region and conference meet,”
Dimizas said. “But this is a good group, and I think they’ll do well.”
Graham Hevel, an Orland park native and Sandburg alum, kicked his 2018 season Sept. 1 as a member of the team at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Hevel, a junior at UW-Whitewater, is majoring in physical education.
The Warhawks, who finished 7-3 and missed the postseason for only the second time in the last 13 years in 2017, posted six straight victories to conclude last season, including three over nationally ranked opponents. UW-Whitewater entered 2018 ranked 12th in the D3football.com poll.