The Loyola men’s soccer team (9-4-2, 3-0-2) picked up a non-conference victory over Northern Illinois University at Loyola Soccer Park Tuesday night to extend its winning streak to five games.
Before the game, the Ramblers honored sophomore defender Christopher White, who is battling cancer. The players also donned special purple jerseys that read C.W. 26 on their right shoulder. Head coach Neil Jones said the jerseys showed solidarity in their support for White.
“It was deep,” Jones said. “Our guys see him every day and we’re seeing him struggle through this battle and it’s been emotional to see someone hurt. So I think the guys really dug in tonight and dug deep for him and put in a quality defensive performance to get us a result.”
The first half proved uneventful, as Northern Illinois had some early possession and forced two early saves out of Loyola junior goalkeeper Josh Lagudah.
Senior forward Alec Lasinski and senior midfielder Tucker Stephenson each fired shots on the Huskies’ goal near the end of the first half, which were both were handled easily by the opposing redshirt junior goalkeeper Konrad Dziedzic.
“The first half, we were trying to figure them out and they did a better job of figuring us out than we did and that showed,” Jones said.
The game began to open up in the second half, with both sides exchanging offensive spells. Lagudah continued to see action, as he turned away a shot with a kick-save in the 64th minute.
Loyola claimed the lone goal of the contest in the 79th minute, as Lasinski grabbed the first goal of his senior season with a sharp finish in the bottom right corner off a Stephenson assist.
“The ball just dropped to my feet and I felt like I had enough room to find that side of the net and just place it past the goalie,” Lasinski said.
With the victory, the Ramblers extended their win streak to five games. Despite being outshot 15-5 by Northern Illinois, they were able to grind out another win with Lagudah providing seven saves in their sixth consecutive shutout effort.
“[I] was very proud of our guys how they handled adversity tonight and how they dug in and fought for each other and had a very strong defensive performance,” Jones said.
The Ramblers are scheduled to close out conference play against Central Arkansas University Oct 27. If they win or tie the game Loyola will clinch the MVC regular season title.