Billikens Defeat Indiana in Soccer Classic

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University soccer coach Dan Donigan said he loves his team right now. Saturday night's result, a 2-1 victory over visiting Indiana in the Saint Louis/Nike Soccer Classic at Robert R. Hermann Stadium, makes it all that much better.

"I'm proud of our guys," Donigan said. "I'm just excited with where we're at in the season right now. This win, obviously, will sit big at the end of the season."

Indiana (3-2-1) is ranked second in the NSCAA/adidas National Rankings, by Soccer Times and College Soccer News and is third in Soccer America's poll. But the Hoosiers will leave St. Louis with two losses after a 2-1 defeat to No. 16 Creighton in the opening game of the Saint Louis/Nike Soccer Classic on Thursday and Saturday's 2-1 result.

Saint Louis (2-1-2) is ranked 24th in the NSCAA rankings, 19th by College Soccer News and 23rd by Soccer Times. Saturday's win earned SLU a share of the Saint Louis/Nike Soccer Classic championship with Creighton, which also won both of its games at the event.

"I really like the way we're playing," Donigan said. "I liked the fact that we bounced back. We made, I felt, one mistake in the first half and Brad Ring scored a beautiful goal. But we bounced back. We got it back. We were opportunistic on their mistake in the backfield. Kyle (Patterson) pounced on it and tucked it away nicely. Then we battled."

The Billikens opened the season with 1-1 ties to third-ranked Southern Methodist on Aug. 31 and North Carolina State on Sept. 7 and then lost to fourth-ranked Duke 2-0 on Sept. 9.

Saint Louis picked up its first victory of the season on Thursday when the Billikens defeated Loyola Marymount 1-0 on a goal from New Mexico transfer Brandon Barklage in the 89th minute in their first game in the Saint Louis/Nike Soccer Classic.

The first half on Saturday was definitely marked by several SLU scoring opportunities, even though the Billikens could only capitalize on one of them.

Dado Hamzagic hit the right post with a shot in the 15th minute and Kyle Patterson's follow-up shot from point-blank range sailed high.

Hamzagic, a junior forward from Mehlville High School, had another opportunity in the 16th minute, but Indiana goalkeeper Chay Cain made the save.

Indiana got on the scoreboard first when Brad Ring capitalized on a defensive mistake and scored on a 20-yard blast into the upper left corner of the net with 26th minute. It was the first goal of the season for Ring.

SLU's Kyle Hayes had a one-on-one opportunity against Cain, the Hoosiers' keeper, in the 40th minute, but couldn't get it past the IU goalkeeper.

The Billikens answered in the 42nd minute with Brian Grazier's first career goal.

Patterson got a nice angle into the box from the right wing and crossed to Hamzagic. The Hoosiers' goalkeeper appeared to make a stop off a touch from Hamzagic, but Grazier, a fifth-year senior from Edwardsville, Ill., was able to tap the ball into the net to tie the score at 1-1 with 3:10 remaining in the first half.

Saint Louis had to feel good about its play going into the intermission with the score tied, but the Billikens came out for the second half playing well.

SLU took the lead in the 60th minute when Patterson pounced on an Indiana defensive miscue and pounded a shot past the Indiana goalkeeper.

"It's just all about being in the right spot at the right time," Patterson said. "That's what soccer is all about."

It was the second goal of the season for Patterson, a junior midfielder from Birmingham, England, whose first goal tied the score against N.C. State and led to the Bills' second tie of the season. It was his ninth career goal at SLU.

"Kyle's really playing well," Donigan said. "He's a fast, strong, powerful kid who's playing with a little bit of a stagger right now. I would say that about Dado, too. He's starting to hit form. I think those kids, whenever they are on their game, they're going to be difficult to stop. Goal scoring and creating chances is the most difficult part of the game, but I'm very confident all our kids can do that."

Indiana had a great opportunity to tie with 26 minutes left when Kevin Noschang slipped a shot past SLU keeper Ross Kaufman, but the shot bounded off the right post and was cleared by the defense.

Kaufman, a sophomore from Louisville, came up with a save on Charley Traylor with 4:47 remaining on what ended up being the Hoosiers' last quality scoring chance of the night.

"We probably should have been a little bit more composed, but it was a big game and Indiana really came at us," Patterson said. "Our defense was brilliant tonight."

SLU midfielder Josh Aranda was named the co-most valuable player of the tournament, along with Tim Walters of Creighton, for his strong play in the absence of injured midfielder Eric Sweetin.

"Josh Aranda has done a fantastic job," Donigan said. "He's been a dynamo in the middle and he's a big reason why we were successful this weekend."

Along being named to the 12-member all-tournament team from SLU were Patterson, Kaufman and junior defender Calum Angus.

"We're really happy," Patterson said. "We haven't accomplished anything yet. We're only five games into the season, so we still have a lot of work to do."

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