Bellarmine University

10/09/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/09/2019 08:30

Men's soccer begins lengthy road swing with matches at UIS, Lewis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As owner of an 18-game unbeaten streak, naturally one of the things the No. 17 Bellarmine University men's soccer team has done exceptionally well is perform at home.

Two Great Lakes Valley Conference squads that can relate to that are Illinois Springfield and Lewis, who have combined for an 8-0-1 record at home this season. The Prairie Stars are 4-0-1 are on their turf, while the Flyers are 4-0 in their territory.

Those unbeaten marks, along with Bellarmine's, will be on the line entering the week of play as the Knights (7-0-2, 4-0-2 GLVC) will visit UIS (5-4-1 overall) at 6 p.m. (ET) Friday before traveling to Lewis (7-1-2 overall) for a 3:30 p.m. contest Sunday. The matches represent the first half of a four-game road swing for Bellarmine, which follows with outings at Drury and at Southwest Baptist.

'Both UIS and Lewis look very good this year, and the one stat that really stands out is the home records,' Knights Coach said. 'This will definitely be a tough road trip for our team, and it doesn't get much easier knowing we have two more games on the road the following week.'

Illinois Springfield is coming off two of the more eye-catching performances in the GLVC this season. The Prairie Stars posted consecutive five-goal games, rolling to a 5-2 win over Quincy and a 5-1 victory over Truman State. UIS scored 15 goals over its five home matches. Mario Falsone tops the Prairie Stars with five goals.

'UIS looks very good this year,' Chastonay said. 'They are scoring goals in bunches and have some really good attacking players. In addition to being able to score goals, they look very organized defensively. They are a very balanced team.'

The same could be said of Lewis, which is coming off 3-0 and 2-0 home wins over Truman State and Quincy. The Flyers, who host Indianapolis on Friday, have yet to concede a goal in Lewis Stadium, blanking their four opponents by a combined 8-0 score. Jimmy Mwanga has tallied a team-high four goals, while goalkeeper C.J. Couper has registered seven shutouts and a 0.37 goals-against average.

'Lewis has always had a great tradition in men's soccer,' Chastonay said. '(Coach) Evan (Fiffles) does a great job with his teams, and this looks like a really good overall squad. They are just not giving up many goals this year and look very organized defensively. They have shown they can score goals and win close games. This will be a difficult weekend overall.'

Bellarmine delivered a 2-0 win over Missouri-St. Louis and a 3-1 victory over Lindenwood last weekend. While the Knights didn't score in the first half against the Tritons, senior forward and junior midfielder found the net about five minutes apart relatively early in the second half. Bellarmine then racked up three consecutive goals by freshman forward , junior defender and Bernedo in overcoming an early score by Lindenwood.

'The results were great this weekend, but we are still searching for a bit more consistency from this group,' Chastonay said. 'We started slow on Friday against UMSL but eventually found our form as the game progressed. We were creating good chances in the attacking third and our patience was rewarded in the second half with two goals. (Junior midfielder) gave us a lift in the second half creating the penalty (for Bernedo) and Johnny Huerta served an excellent ball on the second goal.

'The slow start on Sunday was not a surprise. Our approach to training on Saturday and the effort level of some players was below the standard we expect. Lindenwood is a very good team and they made us pay early. The response from many of the players was very good in tough conditions, and we scored some very nice goals. It was great to see as many as five freshmen on the field at the end closing the game out.'

That last part cannot be undervalued. Bellarmine has been dealing with key injuries and there hasn't seemed to be a significant drop-off in play. Facing their longest road stretch of the season, the Knights know their 'next man up' mentality must continue.

'The injuries are piling up so this is an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark on the program,' Chastonay said. 'The GLVC is such a grind every year so depth in every position is a key component to success.'

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