CHICAGO – Behind five second-half goals including a pair by junior midfielder Kyle Breitenbach (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso University/Valparaiso), the Saint Xavier University men's soccer team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to claim a huge 5-3 victory over Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Tuesday night at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. In fact, SXU did a majority of its damage within a 10-minute stretch that started in the 47thminute scoring four of the five goals, including one off an own goal by the Scarlet Hawks. The victory puts the Cougars atop the conference standings with a 5-1-0 mark and improves their overall record to 7-5-0.
In the 24thminute, junior forward Liam Barrett put IIT ahead, 1-0, with a goal off a header assisted by senior midfielder Gui Nunes. The Scarlet Hawks would take the 1-0 lead into the locker room at the half. The second half started with a bang as Illinois Tech scored a second goal on another header, this time by senior midfielder Rob Ritchie-Smith off a cross by senior midfielder Graeme Port. Less than a minute later, Breitenbach answered for Saint Xavier with a header goal of his own set up by an assist from senior midfielder Al Palar (Zabrze, Poland/Plainfield Central). In the 51stminute, Breitenbach would strike again to tie the game, 2-2, on a shot from 10 yards deep off a cross by freshman midfielder Luis Medina (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan).
A miscue by the Scarlet Hawks just three minutes later would lead to an own goal and give SXU the 3-2 lead. Medina got his head on a ball off a free kick by senior midfielder Adrian Guzman (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle) and found the back of the net in the 54thminute of play to extend the lead to 4-2. Palar would push it to 5-2 in the 72ndminute on a goal from five yards out set up on an assist by senior midfielder Samuel Sprauer (Carol Stream, Ill./Azusa Pacific University/Ohio State University/Glenbard North). Ritchie-Smith would score again for Illinois Tech on a free kick in the 78thminute, but that was as close as the visitors would get the rest of the way. Sophomore keeper Kyle Held (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) got the victory in goal for SXU finishing the night with five saves.
Saint Xavier (7-5-0 overall/5-1-0 CCAC) heads to Florida for a pair of non-conference games. The Cougars will take on Flagler College (Fla.) on Thursday, October 13, at 7 p.m. (eastern). SXU will wrap up the trip with a 10:30 a.m. game against Savannah College of Art & Design (Ga.) on Flagler's home field on Sunday, October 16.