Sports Information Director
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The 2013 season continues to be a magical year for the Holy Cross men's soccer team as they opened up their second consecutive appearance in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Quarterfinal round with a 1-0 victory on the road against Roosevelt. With the victory the Saints improve to 13-6 on the year and will head to Milwaukee, Wis. on Wednesday to take on the No. 1 seed, and regular season champions, from Cardinal Stritch University.
"Not only is the big win for our program but it's a great win for the entire school," head coach Omar Gallo said. "We knew going into this game that it wouldn't be easy and the way the season went we felt anyone could win any match. The guys played extremely hard and it was a deserved victory on their part."
A physical game from the start slowed down the offensive opportunities for both teams in the first half as there were a combined five shots in the first half. Both teams took their turns controlling the possession but were unable to find the back of the net throughout the first 45 minutes.
It was a foul inside the box to open the second half, resulting in a yellow card, which gave the Saints their best opportunity of the day to strike first. Senior captain Niko Jelicic (Sucuraj, Croatia) was awarded a penalty kick which he converted on in the 48th to put the Saints out front with a 1-0 advantage.
Roosevelt continued to play the Saints tough in the second half looking for the equalizing goal. A team save by the Saints broke up the best scoring chance for the Lakers as the ball was just about to cross the goal line.
Freshman goalkeeper Iain McTurk (Copenhagen, Denmark) continued his strong play this season with four saves in the second half to keep the Lakers off the scoreboard.
Roosevelt outshot the Saints 8-5 in the second half, but it was the penalty kick goal from Jelicic which helped guide the Saints to their first playoff victory in program history.
"Winning a road game is always big but winning a road playoff game, against a team that beat us once this season, is incredible," continued Gallo. "As always, Iain came up big for us. He made a number of saves that were absolutely amazing.
"All week we've been practicing penalty kicks in training and it paid off for our captain. Niko has really stepped up as of late and is in the best form I've seen since he arrived. Overall, it was a team effort as the guys were putting their bodies on the line and fighting until the final whistle blew. I'm very proud of this group. We will enjoy the victory tonight, but will get right back to work and prepare for Cardinal Stritch on Wednesday."
The Saints (13-6) will travel to Milwaukee, Wis. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 to face No. 1 seeded, and regular season CCAC champion, Cardinal Stritch University in the semifinals. Game times are not known at the present time but will be posted as soon as they're made available.