CHICAGO – A breakaway goal by sophomore midfielder Luis Medina (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) in the 77th minute proved to be the difference as No. 25 Saint Xavier University upset No. 4 ranked University of Rio Grande (Ohio), 1-0, in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The visiting Red Storm took 24 shots in the game compared to just six by the home team, but in the end the Cougar defense held firm. Senior midfielder Kyle Breitenbach (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso University/Valparaiso) set up the scoring play with an assist off a nice cross pass right to the middle of the field. Junior Kyle Held (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) logged his eighth career shutout at SXU posting nine saves.
"This was just a huge win for our program and to happen in our home and season opener is even sweeter," said Saint Xavier University men's soccer coach Ed Vucinic. "Rio Grande is an extremely talented team and played us extremely tough, but our guys came out hungry and executed our game plan from start to finish. We just kept fighting and fighting all the way through the game and that is all I can ask from my players. They played hard and deserve this victory."
The Cougars recorded just two shots on goal in the game, one on the Medina goal and the other coming off the foot of senior defender Sam Vanaria (Chicago, Ill./Adelphi University/UW-Parkside/Sandburg). Rio Grande senior forward Rafael Maccauro was aggressive offensively posting seven shots, including four on goal on the night. The Red Storm ended its 2011 season in quarterfinals action of the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championships.
"We were looking for a counter attack all night and just waiting for them to make a mistake," said Medina. "Kyle was able to break free and get me the ball in the middle of the field. When I saw all that wide open space in front of me, I just took off, kept it simple and finished the play. It was a great feeling."
Saint Xavier (1-0-0 overall) continues its 2012 campaign with a home game against Aquinas College (Mich.) on Wednesday, August 29. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Deaton Field in Chicago.