UIS Prairie Stars Break Defensive Record in Victory against Flyers


Photographs courtesy of Randy E. Blue

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) men’s soccer team broke the school record for longest amount of time without surrendering a goal since becoming a Division II program. UIS captured a 2-0 victory against Lewis University during Sunday’s Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) matchup in Romeoville.

  The Prairie Stars (4-2-2, 3-0-1) have gone 475 minutes and 31 seconds without allowing a goal, breaking the previous UIS Division II school record of 439:02.

    UIS earns a weekend conference sweep after knocking off the University of Indianapolis (6-1-1, 2-1-1), ranked No. 9 in the latest United Soccer Coaches (USC) NCAA Division II poll, with a 1-0 victory on Friday.

    The Prairie Stars extended their unbeaten streak to six, which is also a UIS Division II record, and are in a four-way tie for first place in the conference with McKendree University (5-1-1, 3-0-1), the University of Southern Indiana (5-1-1, 3-0-1) and Quincy University (4-3-1, 3-0-1).

    “Getting two wins and two clean sheets this weekend is fantastic,” UIS coach Adam Hall said. “I’m very happy for this group. They worked hard and are fun to be around and coach every day.”

  “We worked hard for this and we’re on the right track,” UIS forward Mario Gonzalez added. “I hope we keep it this way.”

     UIS took an early lead eight minutes into the match when Gonzalez fired a pass from the sideline to Rhys Wallace who headed the pass in for the goal. Gonzalez earned the assist.

    “It was good to grab a goal and held the team out,” Wallace acknowledged. “It has been a successful weekend overall.”

   Lewis (1-5-3, 0-3-1) had an opportunity to tie the match during the 23rd minute. Timm Adler contributed a corner kick. Devin Amoo-Mensah headed the pass and Konrad Malinowski headed the redirection just high of the goal.

  The Prairie Stars took a two-score lead 48 minutes into the match. Gonzalez made an upfield pass to Josh Moore. Moore took the pass and made a backward pass off his heel to Mario Falsone, who found the back of the net. Moore and Gonzalez were credited with assists. Gonzalez closed out the match with two assists, becoming the fourth person in UIS Division II history to do so.

    Among UIS Division II career leaders, Falsone is tied for second in goals (10) and ranks third in points (25). Gonzalez is tied for fifth in UIS Division II history with three assists on the season.

  “I was delighted to score and help the team win,” Falsone admitted. “Credit Josh for a lovely assist.”

  “I’m happy for the assists and the effort that we gave,” Gonzalez commented.

   Wallace and Falsone both scored on their only shot. Alex Morais provided two shots and one shot on goal. Quentin Reese and Alex Zarco both registered shots on goal while Thiago Fernandes and Javier Milla both added shots for the Prairie Stars.

   Malinowski led the Flyers with three shots. Amoo-Mensah and Jesus Ochoa both contributed two shots while Matt Budreck, Sebastian Arguello, Domenic Baumann, and Dorian Moreno each tallied shots.

     Pijus Petkevicius recorded his fourth-consecutive shutout. The freshman from Vilnius, Lithuania saved each of the three shots he faced.

   Among UIS Division II leaders, Petkevicius ranks second in single-season shutouts (4) and third in career shutouts (4).Sean Phetchanphang served as the Lewis goalkeeper for the final 64:12 of the match. He saw four shots and collected three saves.

  Lewis outshot UIS by an 8-5 margin, but UIS held a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal.

  “We’re unbeaten in six,” Falsone stated. “If we keep playing our game, then there is definitely a great future for us.”

   “Beating Indianapolis was a great result and [Sunday] just caps off the weekend,” Wallace commented. “Hopefully, we can keep the unbeaten run going next week.”