The NACC started their postseason tournament this past weekend. Both the men’s and women’s teams were able to qualify after strong regular season performances. The men advanced with a 3-2 victory and the women lost 1-0 in overtime.
After trailing for nearly 70 minutes, Benedictine was able to score two late goals to beat Concordia University Chicago. The Eagles started off the scoring in the 3rd minute after a cross by senior Lukasz Sulka found junior Michael Alemu, who kicked it into the back of the net.
The Cougars responded with two goals of their own in the 6th and 11th minute of the game to take a 2-1 lead. They held that lead until the 80th minute. Benedictine tied it up after a goal by Andrew Leon in the 80th minute.
Shortly after, a hard foul on Alemu set up the Eagles with a free kick a yard outside of the box. Sulka perfectly hit the free kick. He rocketed the ball around the wall and inside the far post for the game-winning goal.
The final minutes saw scoring opportunities for the Cougars. But the defense prevented a potential game-tying goal. Freshman goalie Martin Jiminez-Estrada made six saves throughout the match, including a spectacular diving save in the 89th minute that sealed the game.
The win sends the Eagles to the NACC semifinals will they will play Aurora University. Benedictine hopes to avenge a loss to Aurora earlier this season when they fell 2-1 in double overtime.
The second time the Eagles played IIT was much like the first. The regular season matchup featured a defensive battle that resulted in a scoreless draw.
Both teams defenses were well on display in this matchup. Despite a combined total of 36 shots, the game was sent to overtime scoreless. Goalie Cassidy Henson made 10 saves in regular time and one save in overtime.
In the 93rd minute, IIT took the ball away from Benedictine which led to a quick breakaway. The breakaway resulted in the game’s only goal after the ball was chipped above Henson. IIT advances to the semifinals after a 1-0 win.
The Eagles ended the season 7-10-2. They ended the regular season on three consecutive wins where they outscored their opponents 21-0.