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Saints drop game to winless Jaguars

The Holy Cross Saints came into Wednesday night’s game at McKenna Arena looking to rebound from four straight losses following a victory to begin the season. This would be the last game the Saints played at McKenna Arena in Notre Dame until December 10, with five straight games on the road approaching. The game would also represent the Saints’ third game of conference play in CCAC, in which they were winless thus far. Their opponent would be the Governors State Jaguars, a 0-5 team.

Holy Cross came out on fire against the underwhelming Jaguars defense, shooting 57% from the field and 44% from the three point line in the first half. Senior forward Mick Sullivan, a transfer from Quincy University, set a strong pace for the Saints offense. He would ultimately finish the game as the team’s leading scorer with 22 points on 11/14 shooting.

The Saint 42-37 lead going into the second half quickly  evaporated through a combination of revived Jaguar play and an inability for the sloppier Saints team to put the game out of reach. The Jaguars took a slight lead, and the game became a tussle of rebound battles and turnovers. It would be those turnovers which would produce an extra 17 points for the Jaguars, demoralizing the Saints as they tried to battle back. The Saints’ bench also failed to adequately produce compared to GSU, scoring four points to the Jaguars’ 16. It is worth noting Coach McBride chose to only play seven players in this battle while Governors State brought out eleven. 

The Saints continued to shoot the ball efficiently, however, leading to a nail biter. Freshman guard Phil Robles had an opportunity to win the game with a last second three point shot, but just missed the clincher. The Jaguars secured the game 76-74, extending this streak of difficulty for the Saints. Despite out-rebounding the Jaguars 32-26, shooting better from three point range and the free throw line, scoring more points in the paint(38-28) and second chance points(16-7), the Jaguars capitalized extremely well off Saint miscues. 

The Saints have now dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play. Their next game will be this Saturday, November 19th, at Judson University, in a conference matchup in Elgin, Illinois. The Saints hope they can rebound and get this season back on track against a 1-5 Eagles team that stands above them in the CCAC. 

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Saints women’s soccer falls to Judson

On Sept. 14, the Holy Cross women’s soccer team played their second home conference game of the season, facing off against the Judson Eagles. 

Judson wasted no time, scoring quickly in the ninth minute of action. The goal came off a rebound, and freshman goalkeeper Taylor Primack was able to block the initial shot. However, the ball lingered just outside the six-yard box where Judson’s Alex Wawrzyniak was able to chip it in. 

Almost nine minutes later, Judson scored again. This time, Wawrzyniak placed an exceptionally thorough ball to teammate Alondra Blanco, setting her up for a 1-1 with Primack. Left with no other option, Primack attempted to challenge for the ball, but Blanco was able to chip the shot up and in. 

Holy Cross replied before the half, with senior midfielder Lauren Cernak scoring on a corner kick, making it a 1-2 game. Cernak was not entirely done, however. In minute 62, Cernak was able to field a long airborn pass from Abby Craig. Cernak then drove hard to the goal, beating the keeper and launching the ball into the empty net.

With the score tied 2-2, both teams began to get increasingly physical, leading to an altercation in minute 66. It resulted in a caution for junior midfielder Kassidi Puthoff and an ejection for Judson’s Wawrzyniak (Violent Conduct One). After receiving the red card, Wawrzyniak walked off the pitch and into the Holy Cross forest, where she watched the rest of the match.

The ejection gave Holy Cross an advantage for the rest of the match. The game remained even until 80:58, when Kelly Leon had an exceptional drop pass to Natalia Ruiz, freeing her up to score what would ultimately be the gaming-winning goal for Judson. 

The game remained a physical, competitive match with Holy Cross unable to take advantage of being a man up on Judson. The Saints ultimately fell 2-3.

Head coach Omar Gallo took longer than usual to address the players after the loss, talking incredibly soft. The message? Stay positive. 

“Anytime you are in these situations, you have got to find a positive out of that negative situation,” Gallo said. “Being down two goals and battling back shows that we can deal with adversity, and that’s something we have got to continue to focus on.”

The loss sends Holy Cross to an overall record of 1-2-4, with a 0-2 record in conference play. Currently, the Saints are tied for last place with five other teams, including Governors State and IUSB. Though two hard-fought games have resulted in 0 points, Gallo is not disappointed by the results.

“We know that Stritch and Judson are going to be two of the top teams in the conference, and we’re there,” Gallo said. “Both games were lost by one goal, but we are not discouraged by these results. We are in these games, we just got to play to the final whistle.”

There is absolutely a sense of urgency, especially with the Saints’ next game against Governors State — an opponent they are tied in the standings with. 

“Going into Governors State, yeah, there definitely is some urgency,” Gallo said. “We have got to get three points on the board on Saturday.”

The game against Governors State might be just what the doctor ordered for the Saints. Historically, Holy Cross has dominated the Jaguars. The last time the two teams met, Holy Cross won 5-0.

The two teams will meet Saturday, Sept. 17 in University Park, Illinois. The match kicks off at 6:00 p.m.

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