CHICAGO - A game-winning goal by senior forward Ernad Dzananovic (Loves Park, Ill./Harlem) just 34 seconds into overtime gave No. 2 seed Saint Xavier University a thrilling 2-1 victory over No. 1 seed Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in the championship game of the 2010 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Men's Soccer Tournament Saturday evening at Stuart Field in Chicago. The win gives SXU the program's first automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship, which begins opening round play on Saturday, November 20. With the win, the Cougars improve to 15-5-1, while the No. 25 ranked Scarlet Hawks end their season at 14-6-0 overall.
IIT took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute of play when freshman midfielder Robert Rixer scored on a penalty kick. The Scarlet Hawks would take their one-goal advantage into halftime, but it would be short lived as Saint Xavier tied the game with a goal by senior forward Ryan Clemens (Midlothian, Ill./Trinity Christian College/Moraine Valley CC/Lincoln-Way East) in the 58th minute of the game. The unassisted score by Clemens was set up by a rebound off the post. With both defenses playing tough for the remainder of regulation, the game stayed at 1-1 and headed to an extra session. However, it took less than a minute for Dzananovic to find a hole in the IIT defense and notch the game-winning goal off a well-placed assist by junior midfielder Al Palar (Zabrze, Poland/Plainfield Central). Freshman keeper Kyle Held (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) had a stellar outing in goal for the Cougars finishing with seven saves. IIT junior keeper Jared Svaldi also played well Saturday posting eight stops on the night.
Saint Xavier (15-5-1 overall/8-1-1 CCAC) awaits its seed and opponent for the opening round portion of the 2010 NAIA Men‘s Soccer National Championship, which begins on Saturday, November 20. The seeding and pairings are scheduled to be officially released by the NAIA national office on Sunday, November 14.