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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.