CHICAGO – Two late goals in the 78th and 86th minutes respectively made for an interesting finish as the Saint Xavier University women's soccer team fell just a goal short of an impressive rally attempt against No. 14 ranked Judson University (Ill.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action Tuesday evening at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. Trailing 4-1 with less than 35 minutes remaining in regulation, the Cougars did not give up and got great offensive play down the stretch from junior utility Marissa Graves (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) and freshman midfielder Christina Sperando (Chicago, Ill./Mother McAuley) with each recording a goal and an assist in the final two scoring plays.
Judson wasted no time building a lead with its first goal coming in the ninth minute off a break-away goal by junior forward Angela Bianchi. Junior forward Jenna Steffensen added two more goals for the Eagles in the 31st and 49th minutes of play. Sophomore midfielder Hannah Condit recorded the assist on Steffensen's first goal. However, the Cougars responded to the 3-0 deficit with a goal by junior midfielder Cassie Pullia (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) in the 55th minute. Senior defender Rachel Wojtysiak (Palos Hills, Ill./Millikin University/Stagg) set the goal up with an assist.
Unfortunately for SXU, Judson answered right back scoring less than a minute later on another break-away goal by Bianchi to go ahead, 4-1. Sperando took advantage of a nice pass from Graves in the 78th minute to score a goal and close the gap to 4-2. The pair then flipped roles in the 86th minute when Graves scored off an assist from Sperando with just over four minutes remaining in regulation. The Cougars tried to get the game-tying goal in the final four minutes, but could not make it happen. Freshman keeper Alex Perry (St. Louis, Mo./Perry) finished with seven saves for SXU.
Saint Xavier (3-5-1 overall/1-2-0 CCAC) heads to Munster, Ind., on Saturday, October 5, for a conference game against Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.). The game starts at 5 p.m. (central) and will be played at Munster High School.