UIC defensemen continued to block shots as the game wore on, and the Horizon League school preserved a 1-1 tie against the Hoosiers at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
“We need to find ways to score some ugly goals,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “We were looking for the perfect goal tonight.”
In the 67th minute, the Horizon League’s leading scorer, senior midfielder Ivan Stanisavljevic did what the Hoosiers could not – converted his opportunity. His goal bounced off the post to senior goalkeeper Luis Soffner’s left and into the back of the net.
Five minutes later, Sparks tied the game with a shot that rolled under the outstretched arm of Flames’ goalkeeper Goran Ikic, whom was substituted in during the second intermission. Sparks won the one-on-one battle. Sophomore midfielder Dylan Lax’s through ball earned him an assist.
“When things happen, the script can show a lot,” Yeagley said. “Tonight was an example of (when) you dominate a lot of areas that you want to. We created so many good opportunities, and you don’t put one away, and you let a team linger, it’s a good lesson ... How you respond is so important.”
IU possessed a four-shot advantage to begin period number three. The Hoosiers were unable to put shots in the back of the net until Sparks’ tally.
In the 31st minute, Flames’ goalkeeper Piotr Kikolski and one of his backs had a miscommunication. IU could not capitalize, as a shot from sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta bounced off the right post and out of bounds.
Senior defender Caleb Konstanski had an opportunity to give the Hoosiers the lead 19 minutes later, but missed an open shot wide left.
Kikolski had earlier moved to his left to field a long ball in the 50th minute, but missed then as well.
Junior midfielder Nikita Kotlov said he couldn’t be mad at Konstanski for missing his opportunity.
“I think we did a good job creating chances and possessing the ball for the majority of the game,” Kotlov said. “We need to connect our chances. We need to score goals to win games. Hopefully we get a better killer instinct in the box. If we create chances and possess the ball like we did today, we should be able to connect on those.”
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