CHICAGO – Freshman forward Morgan Graves (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) continued to add to her team-leading point total by scoring a pair of goals in a 5-1 Saint Xavier University victory over Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) women's soccer action Tuesday evening at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (7-5-0 overall/3-1-0 CCAC) built a 3-1 advantage at the half after scoring the game's first two goals in the opening 15 minutes of play. Senior keeper Ashley Shugar (Lake Orion, Mich./Western Illinois University/Lake Orion) had two saves, including one on a penalty kick attempt late in the second half.
Graves put SXU ahead, 1-0, just over four minutes into regulation when she headed the ball into the lower right corner of the goal off a corner kick by sophomore midfielder Molly Sheehan (Orland Park, Ill./Stagg). In the 14th minute of action, junior defender Sara Cervenka (Sycamore, Ill./Northern Illinois University/Sycamore) also headed in a goal off another well-placed corner by Sheehan. The Wolves scored on their first shot of the game when sophomore forward Lourdes Gil found the back of the net from five yards out off an assist by senior forward Brenda Hernandez in the 34th minute. Graves notched her second score just over four minutes later to put Saint Xavier ahead, 3-1, on a shot from 15 yards deep into the upper right corner of the net. Her twin sister, freshman Marissa Graves (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) assisted the goal.
After leading 3-1 at the half, the Cougars added some insurance late in the game with a goal by sophomore forward Anita Balciunas (Brookfield, Ill./Riverside-Brookfield) off a cross by Marissa Graves in the 78th minute. With less than three minutes to play, freshman midfielder Cassie Pullia (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) got the final goal of the game on a play set up by a cross by Balciunas. SXU was aggressive offensively taking 25 shots and 12 shots on goal in the contest. The Cougar defense played solid as well limiting Cardinal Stritch to just five shots and three shots on goal.
Saint Xavier (7-5-0 overall/3-1-0 CCAC) travels to Holy Cross College (Ind.) on Saturday, October 8, for a CCAC match-up. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (EST) start at Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium in South Bend, Ind.