The Purdue University Calumet men’s soccer team couldn’t overcome a solid Olivet Nazarene University offensive front in Wednesday’s 2-0 setback in the Peregrines’ first appearance in the conference semifinals in more than 20 years.
Purdue Calumet (10-7-2) – which made it to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament in just its third season back after a 15-year hiatus – ended its season as the first team to advance in the postseason since Frank Carroll’s squad won in a sudden-death shootout in semifinal of the NAIA District 21 playoffs.
Wednesday, top-seeded Olivet Nazarene (14-5) proved why it captured the regular-season CCAC title, dominating the game up front early with a 9-3 shot advantage in the first half, including a 6-0 margin on shots on goal. The Tigers scored both goals in the first 45 minutes, the first an unassisted shot in a crowded box in the 31st minute by C. Henock-Berhanu and another four minutes later, on a backwards header by Ryan Totsch.
The Peregrines fought back in the second, outshooting ONU by a 6-4 margin, but managed just one shot on goal – a free kick by sophomore Jovanny Perez (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch). Perez led Purdue Calumet with three shots and senior Victor Garcia (Whiting, Ind./Clark) and junior Papa Otoo (Bradenton, Fla./Braden River) added two each.
Purdue Calumet also kept the Tigers out of the corners, allowing just three corner kicks – and zero in the second half – after ONU scored both goals off corners in a 2-0 regular season win earlier in the year.
Freshman keeper Miguel David (Spring Valley, Calif./Bonita Vista) made several stellar stops to finish with a match-high seven saves in the contest.
In just three seasons, Head Coach James Drzewiecki led the Peregrines to a 10-win season and a fifth-place league finish in a highly competitive top half, after combining for just 11 in the first two seasons. Purdue Calumet will graduate three seniors – Victor Garcia, Sahid Navarro (Chicago, Ill./Gwendolyn Brooks) and Thomas Hardy (Heddon-on-the-Wall, England/Newcastle Aviation), but return 27 from this year’s roster heading into 2015.
Olivet Nazarene advances to the CCAC Championship, where it will host seventh-seeded Cardinal Stritch – a 2-1 double overtime winner over sixth-seeded Holy Cross – Saturday in Bourbonnais.