Fort Wayne, Ind. – Staring down a 4-1 deficit midway through the second half, the Saint Xavier University women's soccer team made a late surge, but fell just short losing 4-3 to Marian University (Ind.) Saturday afternoon at the University of St. Francis (Ind.) Invitational in Fort Wayne, Ind. Marian is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Women's Soccer Top 25 Poll. It was SXU's first loss in its last five games and drops the Cougars to 4-4-0 on the season.
The Knights took the early 1-0 lead in the 15thminute when junior midfielder Samantha Cook scored off an assist by junior midfielder Nikki Schmidt. Junior forward Elysha Peele (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) tied the game for SXU on an unassisted goal in the 21stminute, but Marian would take back the lead less than 14 minutes later when Schmidt found freshman midfielder Kelsey Pauley for the go-ahead goal. The Cougars would trail 2-1 at the break and soon found themselves in an even bigger hole when Marian scored back-to-back goals in the first 22 minutes of the second half. Cook scored her second goal of the day off another Schmidt assist in the 58thminute and then Pauley scored her team's fourth goal on an unassisted play in the 66thminute.
Saint Xavier did not back down from the big deficit though, and less than two minutes after Pauley's goal, senior midfielder Brittany DeRiggi (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) got SXU's second goal off a pass by sophomore midfielder Molly Sheehan (Orland Park, Ill./Stagg). In the 79thminute, freshman forward Morgan Graves (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) would pull the Cougars to within a score when she found the back of the net off a nice feed from junior defender Sara Cervenka (Sycamore, Ill./Northern Illinois University/Sycamore). SXU had a couple of chances to tie the game in the final 10 minutes with a shot by Peele and a corner kick in the final seconds, but could not get the equalizing goal. Senior keeper Ashley Shugar (Lake Orion, Mich./Western Illinois University/Lake Orion) finished with six saves.
Saint Xavier (4-4-0 overall) opens its Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) slate on Wednesday, September 21, with a home game against University of St. Francis (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago.