Nov. 25, 2008

Courtesy of UIC Athletics

East Lansing, Mich. - The 15th-ranked UIC men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Tournament 'Sweet 16' for a second-consecutive season on Tuesday afternoon as the Flames took a 3-2 PK shootout victory over fourth-seeded Michigan State.

For the second-consecutive round in the post-season tournament, 110 minutes of play ended in a scoreless back-and-forth affair between the two sides. UIC outshot MSU 5-1 in the first half, with the Flames controlling play in the wet and cold conditions at DeMartin Stadium.

The host Spartans created some opportunities in the second stanza, outshooting the Flames 4-3, with a pair of shots on goal by Big Ten Player of the Year Doug DeMartin barely missing their mark.

UIC created numerous scoring opportunities in the two overtime periods, and utilized the momentum into the penalty kick session.

Goalkeeper Jovan Bubonja and Ian Sarachan converted the the Flames first and second pk shots in similar fashion, going to the low left corner of the net past Spartan netminder Avery Steinlage.

Bubonja would keep the Flames in good standing after stopping the first round shot by MSU's DeMartin, as well as the fourth Spartan attempt by Zac Scaffidi. MSU would pick up two goals in the second and third round of the five-round competition.

Charlie Trout, who had failed to connect a PK shot in his last two previous attempts, (including last weekend against Dayton) went to the high left corner of the net, giving the Flames a 3-2 advantage entering the fifth and final round of the session. A wide left attempt by MSU's Josh Rogers would end the affair in the Flames favor.

"I have so much respect for Joe [MSU head coach Joe Baum], his staff and his team. It's not just that Joe's a good soccer friend, hes a very good friend. To see him retire on a day like today, it's bittersweet."
 
"I compliment our guys once again, for coming in and playing quite a game," said head coach John Trask. "I felt we created some chances that normally we could have put away."

The Flames will play the winner of the North Carolina - Jacksonville matchup this Sunday in the NCAA round of 16.