Nov. 21, 2009

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Romeoville, Ill.- Lewis University seniors Charlie Bucio (Chicago, Ill./Juarez), Kipp Cartwright (Park Forest, Ill./Marian Catholic) and Nestor Hernandez (Berwyn, Ill./Morton West) made sure their last home game would not be their last in a Flyer uniform.

All three seniors posted a goal and an assist to help No. 20 Lewis to the 4-1 `Elite Eight' win over #20 Charleston (W. Va.) at the Lewis Soccer Field on Saturday (Nov. 21) afternoon, marking the Flyers' first trip to the NCAA `Final Four' since 2000.

"I'm happy for the guys," Lewis head men's soccer coach Evan Fiffles said. "We knew we had some tools for us to be successful in the beginning of the season. We started off a little slow to begin the year, but the guys stuck with it, fought hard and its paying off for us."

With the win, Lewis improves their unbeaten streak to 11-games and their record to 16-3-2. The Flyers face the winner of Tampa and Lees-McRae in the NCAA Semifinal match-up on December 3rd. Charleston ends their season with a record of 19-4.

Charleston got on the board first, as leading goal scorer Dion Peters snuck a shot past Lewis goalkeeper Sebastian Kieruzal (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates), to put the visiting Screaming Eagles ahead, 1-0, in the seventh minute of the contest.

Faced with early adversity, Cartwright and his teammates stood strong.

"When we were down, we didn't panic," Cartwright said. "We've been in this situation before and we kept ourselves composed."

Cartwright dished out his team-best eighth assist of the season at the 28:36 mark of the first half, as he found Jose Ibarra (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville) streaking towards the net for the game-tying goal.

The game would stay knotted up at 1-apiece for the 43 minutes, as Lewis would pepper Charleston goalkeeper Sean Teepen with shot after shot, and Teepen would turn each away. Teepen finished the game with 16 saves.

Hernandez broke the tie with his career-best 14th score of the season, pounding home a rebound of a Mardoche Beya (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton) shot at the 71:08 mark of the second half.

Eight minutes later, the Flyers would strike again, as Hernandez led Cartwright with a beautiful pass which he converted into his fourth score of the season, giving Lewis the 3-1 advantage. Bucio also added an assist on the play.

Bucio would later add an insurance goal for the Flyers as he raced 50 yards with the ball and beat Teepen for the final goal of the game in the 89th minute.

"It's a great feeling knowing that we're going to Tampa (for the Final Four), but we have to realize that our job is not done," Cartwright said. "We'll take a couple of days off, get some rest and prepare ourselves for the `Final Four'."

For the game, Lewis had a season-high 20 shots on goal in the victory.