CHICAGO - Behind huge individual performances from junior forward Matt Klancic (Aurora, Ill./Bowling Green State University/Waubonsie Valley) and junior midfielder Al Palar (Zabrze, Poland/Plainfield Central), the Saint Xavier University men's soccer team was on the winning end of a 4-3 shootout with No. 23 ranked and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) leader Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Wednesday night at Stuart Field in Chicago. It was the first conference loss of the season for the Scarlet Hawks, who finish the regular season atop the standings at 9-1. The Cougars improve to 12-5-1 with Wednesday's win and claim second place in the CCAC with an 8-1-1 mark. Klancic scored two goals for SXU, while Palar posted a goal and two assists.
The scoring spree kicked off in the 13th minute when IIT went ahead 1-0 on a goal by senior forward Diego Dias off an assist by freshman midfielder Brendon Boucaud. Junior defender Dan Cross (Gravesend, England/Axton Chase) tied the game at 1-1 with a header goal off a cross by junior midfielder Adrian Guzman (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle) in the 20th minute. Just over 12 minutes later, Klancic gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead off a score set up by a cross from Palar. Saint Xavier would take the lead into the halftime break, but just five minutes into the second half, the Scarlet Hawks would tie the game with an unassisted goal by sophomore forward Liam Barrett.
Palar would give the Cougars back the lead, 3-2, on a long, unassisted shot from 30 yards out in the 64th minute. Six minutes later, Klancic cushioned the lead with his second goal of the night again set up by a Palar cross. With less than a minute to play in regulation, the Scarlet Hawks would close to within a goal when Dias recorded his second score of the game following a corner kick by freshman midfielder Robert Rixer. Freshman keeper Kyle Held (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) got the start in goal for SXU finishing with four saves.
Saint Xavier (12-5-1 overall/8-1-1 CCAC) will take the No. 2 seed into the 2010 CCAC Men‘s Soccer Tournament, which begins on Saturday, November 6. The Cougars will take on No. 7 seeded University of St. Francis (Ill.) at 6 p.m. at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago.