Sports Information Director
ELGIN, Ill. -- The Holy Cross men's soccer team continued their push towards the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference playoffs on Wednesday afternoon on the road against the streaking Eagles of Judson (Ill.) University. Three goals from three different players helped guide the Saints to a big 3-2 victory and snapping the Eagles previous six-game winning streak. Senior captain Garbhan Grant (Letterkenny, Ireland) dished out three assists in the win, including one to the game-winner from sophomore Troy Padgett (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). With the win, the Saints extend their winning streak to three games and improve to 11-5 overall and 6-3 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).
"Just a huge win for our team," head coach Omar Gallo said. "The guys were locked in from the start and able to strike first. This is a very talented team at Judson who has scored a lot of goals of late and played really well. For us to come to their place and get a big road victory is a big step for us as we wind down the regular season."
Wednesday night's CCAC matchup was much anticipated with both teams playing great soccer in the recent weeks. To say the game went as advertised would be an understatement.
Both teams were extremely active in the first half as there were a combined 15 shots.
The Eagles continued to get opportunities at the net as Iain McTurk (Copenhagen, Denmark) made a big save for the Saints in the 44th minute to take a 1-0 lead to halftime.
Holy Cross continued their aggressive attack in the second half as senior captain Niko Jelicic (Sucuraj, Croatia) finished off a corner kick from Grant with a header to extend the Saints lead to 2-0 in the 54th minute.
As the match went on, positive things continued for the Saints as Troy Padgett netted his fifth goal of the season off a feed from Grant to give the Saints a 3-0 advantage in the 75th minute.
The Eagles, however, were not going to go down without a fight.
Shortly after the goal from Padgett, Walter Lopez scored his 14th goal of the season to cut the Saints lead to 3-1. Oliver Huerta then scored with five minutes left in the match to make it a 3-2 games.
The Saints defense, however, would hold strong as they held Judson to zero shots over the final minutes to pick up their program-best 11th win of the season and clinched a spot in the CCAC playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Iain McTurk finished the game with nine saves and set a school-record with his ninth victory of the season in goal.
With the win, head coach Omar Gallo became the first coach in Holy Cross men's soccer history to achieve 20 wins as head coach in only his second year.
"It was a privilege to see the hard work the players put in executed on the field," continued Gallo. "We've been playing really well as of late, and it's great to see with the CCAC playoffs fast approaching.
"Knowing that we will be going back is a great feeling, but we know there is still work to be done. We will celebrate tonight, but now our focus is to send our seniors out with a win on Saturday against Purdue Calumet."
The Saints will close out their home schedule on Saturday, Nov. 2 with a 2:30 p.m. start against Purdue Calumet. Prior to the start of the game, seniors Niko Jelicic, Garbhan Grant, TJ Hendzel and Farkhod Kurbonov will be honored for their accomplishments as student-athletes at Holy Cross.
|Holy Cross at||5th of 7|
|Day 1 - CCAC Conference Championship at Flossmoor Country Club in Flossmoor, IL|
|Holy Cross at||2nd of 14|
|Day 1 - CCAC Conference Championship at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, IL|
|St. Olaf College at||2|
|Michigan State University at||11|
|Wayne State University at||6|