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Saints honor seniors, earn win and draw versus St. Xavier

This weekend, both the men’s and the women’s Holy Cross soccer teams faced down CCAC foe Saint Xavier in an important conference play matchup.

Matchday also took place on Holy Cross’s Alumni Day, and the matchup served as a senior day for both teams.

The Holy Cross women’s team began by honoring seniors Kathleen Ming and Olivia Shaw.

Ming, a forward, played in 18 games in 2019 and started in 14, scoring four goals and assisting on two. Ming has played eight games for the Saints this season and has started four but has not scored or assisted yet.

Shaw, a midfielder, also played in 18 games, starting 17 and was incredibly productive, scoring 12 goals with three assists. Shaw has scored one goal in the four starts she has gotten this season.

The Saints and Cougars played it even in the first half with neither team scoring, with the shot total at 5-4 in favor of Saint Xavier.

Holy Cross opened up their shooting in the second half, taking ten shots to Xavier’s five (for a total of 14-10, Saints).

The increase in shooting led to an unassisted Nicole Cook goal in the 71st minute, which gave the Saints a 1-0 lead.

With just 44 seconds left in the match, Xavier would earn a penalty kick and Neida Ocampo converted the opportunity, snatching a tie from the jaws of defeat.

By tying Saint Xavier, the women’s team record is 2-2-6 on the year with a 1-2-2 (.400) record in conference play. The Saints now have 5 points and rank 10th in conference play, trailing IU Northwest by one and leading Trinity International by two.

The women turn their attention to Indiana University-South Bend, on Sept. 28, at 2:00 p.m. at Saints Field. IUSB is currently 0-8 on the season with a -60 goal differential, having not scored a goal on the year and conceding on average 7.5 goals per game.

The game should provide a much-needed win for the Saints. The only time the two have met, Holy Cross scored five goals in the first half and won 11-0.

The IUSB program is still incredibly young, as it began just in the 2019-2020 season.

The men’s team began their game by honoring its three seniors, Kamoy Creary, Elmin Ejup and Jeffrey Harper.

Creary, a defensive anchor for Holy Cross, made eight starts last season and played fourteen total games. Creary has made six starts in six games and continues to be a defensive cornerstone.

A South Bend local, Ejup, started in three matches last season but played eighteen and scored once. This season Ejup has already doubled his production, playing and starting in seven games and scoring twice with an assist.

Harper, a midfielder out of San Diego, played 12 matches, starting in six and earned a goal and assist for the Saints. Harper has already scored a goal in his first eight games this season.

The first half featured a defensive battle and neither team could make much offensive progress with shots totaling seven (four for HCC) and the score 0-0.

Much like the women’s team, the Saints increased shooting in the second half and outshot the Cougars 13-6 total. With the increased shooting came a goal in the 76th minute by senior Axel Valenzuela, assisted by junior Gabe Nyenka.

The win for Holy Cross snaps a three-game losing streak against Saint Xavier, dating back to 2019. With the win, Holy Cross is now 5-3-1 on the season, with a 3-1-1 (.700) record in conference play. The win also increases Holy Cross’ win streak to three games and marks the first home win in conference play.

The win vaults the men’s team into second place in the CCAC table, with the team now having 10 points. First place Trinity International currently has 12 points.

Holy Cross will look to continue its winning ways when they play Calvin College on Sept. 27, at 3:00 p.m. at Saint Field.

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Sports

HCC men’s soccer drops to Stritch; women’s finish out-of-conference undefeated

The Holy Cross College men’s soccer team lost to Lourdes University 0-1 Wednesday, finishing its out-of-conference play 2-2. The team then turned its attention to Cardinal Stritch University on Saturday. 

Stritch earned the first goal of the match in the 22nd minute. The Saints were able to match it in the second half courtesy at 72’ of an Axel Valenzuela goal assisted by Marcos Hernandez. The tie was short-lived, however, as Stritch was able to score just four minutes later. The goal would prove to be the game winner, with Stritch winning the match 2-0.

Despite Holy Cross outshooting Stritch 13-10, the Wolves were simply able to put more shots on net, leading the Saints by a margin of 6-3. Claudio Fuentealbe was able to keep the game close by making four saves during his 90 minutes in net.

Historically, the men’s team has struggled against the Wolves, with a record of 3-14, and the Saints have now lost the last five of the team’s matchups. With the loss, the Saints fall to 2-3 and 0-1 in conference play.

The men’s team will have a few days rest before turning its attention to the next game against conference foe Judson University Sept. 13 at Saints Field. The Eagles are 0-3-2, with a 0-0-1 conference record.

On the other hand, while the Holy Cross College women’s soccer team would have liked a better start to their season than 1-0-4, there was one particular silver lining. By drawing 1-1 against Lourdes Sept. 7, the Saints finished non-conference play undefeated.

With a historical achievement out of the way, the Saints now turned their attention towards conference play, with an opening matchup against the Cardinal Stritch Wolves. 

Coming into the match, the Stritch Women’s team was 2-2, starting off the season with a 0-6 loss to Scad-Savannah and 0-2 to Morningside College before defeating Mount Vernon and University of Rio Grande (Ohio) a combined 8-1. 

Stritch earned the first goal in the 27th minute off a penalty kick. The next goal of the game came in the 75th minute, giving Stritch a commanding 2-0 lead. The Saints were ultimately able to cut the lead to 2-1, thanks to an Abby Craig goal (unassisted), but fell short of mounting a comeback. 

Taylor Primack was an absolute star in net for the Saints. She got the start, and played all 90 minutes, racking up a whopping 10 saves on the 12 shots she faced. 

Primack absolutely kept the Saints in the game Saturday; Holy Cross was out shot 11-1 in the first half alone. By the time the game had finished, Stritch had shot the ball 25 times to Holy Cross’s 6. Stritch was fairly accurate, putting 12 of their 25 on net. Holy Cross only put one on net, but they made it count.

Much like the men’s team, the women’s team has struggled against Stritch, with a record of 0-13-1, with a twelve-game losing streak that spanned from 2009-2021, before the Saints were able to snag a tie. The Saints now fall to 0-14-1 against Stritch, and 1-1-4 on the season (0-1 in conference). The Saints next conference match will also be against the Judson Eagles on Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. The Eagles are 2-2, with a conference record of 1-0.

Contact Tom Zwiller at tzwiller@hcc-nd.edu.