September 30, 2005

Despite loss, men's soccer win tourney

Facing a pair of tough non-conference foes at the Valley Cup Invitational, men's soccer more than held their own.

The Maroons played a pair of solid games at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, ripping St. Norbert 4-0 Saturday before dropping a 1-0 decision to the host Titans Sunday. The team (6-2) managed to emerge as tournament champions based on goal differential.

In the early minutes of the Saturday head-to-head, it looked as though the Green Knights would be a tough opponent. St. Norbert entered the game with a perfect 5-0 record and an astounding 24-game unbeaten streak in the regular season. The teams were scoreless mid-way through the half when a St. Norbert player broke his arm and was forced out of the game. Five minutes later, fourth-year midfielder Joe Frontczak scored the first of his two first-half goals. It was just the spark the team needed.

"The key was that [we] made adjustments," said head coach John O'Connor.

First-year forward Eric Floyd and fourth-year forward Ryan Ehle added tallies for the Maroons as they cruised to the easy win.

The team was hoping to ride the momentum of that victory entering Sunday's contest. Wisconsin-Oshkosh had something to prove following a narrow 1-0 defeat to Washington the day before. First-year midfielder Brent Haga scored his first collegiate goal for the home team 4:15 into the first half, and the Titans withstood a furious Maroon effort to win 1-0.

"We just couldn't crack the goal," O'Connor said. "It was a great game, but it was disappointing not to get a result."

Despite the loss, Chicago tied for the tourney's best record, and won the championship trophy thanks to its large margin of victory over St. Norbert.

The Maroons begin their hunt for a UAA title with a road trip to Pittsburgh for a clash with defending champ Carnegie Mellon Sunday.