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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Saints sweep Jaguars, look ahead to St. Francis

It is no secret that both the Holy Cross College men’s and women’s soccer teams needed to earn points in conference play.  

The men’s team’s last win was against Goshen back in August. Since then, they had lost to Lourdes University, Cardinal Stritch and Judson. The team had played two great conference matchups but earned just one point, thanks to the Judson draw. 

It was with this in mind that Holy Cross went to University Park, Illinois, to face Governors State. 

Early on, the game appeared to be headed much the same way the game against Judson ended — a draw. However, in the 53rd minute, senior midfielder Axel Valenzuela passed the ball to senior midfielder Elmin Ejup, who was able to score from 15 yards out, putting the Saints up 1-0. 

However, a Governors State penalty kick by Diego Camarena would tie the game up with just 23 minutes left. 

Holy Cross would score again in the 75th minute, with sophomore forward Isaac Filippo scoring from close range, assisted by junior defender Victor Sellu. The goal would hold for Holy Cross, giving the Saints their first win in conference play this season. 

FreshmanIsaias Rubio got the start in net over sophomore Claudio Fuentealba — an adjustment that may become the norm for the Saints. Rubio did allow the penalty kick but recorded five saves in his 90-minute outing. 

A trend worth noting in the men's team is through three games in conference play, Holy Cross has out-fouled its opponents in every game. Against Cardinal Stritch, Holy Cross out-fouled the Wolves 20-19, and against Judson, the Saints out-fouled the Eagles 20-17. The trend continued against Governers State, as Holy Cross out fouled the Jaguars by eight, 26-18.

The win moves Holy Cross to 3-3-1 on the season with a 1-1-1 record in conference play. The Saints continue their road trip on the Wednesday when they take on Saint Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

Historically Holy Cross has found success against the Fighting Saints, with the College recording a record of 8-2-4. The Saints had a winning streak of five games against Saint Francis from 2012 to 2016, but from 2017 the two teams have been relatively even, with a record of 1-1-3.

Similar to the men’s team, the women’s team had not won since August against Goshen, though the women tied Lourdes and lost to Cardinal Stritch and Judson. 

Unlike the men’s team, the Saints scored early against Governors State, with senior midfielder Olivia Shaw scoring from 15 yards out, with an assist from senior midfielder Lauren Cernak. The goal would stand through the half, with the Saints adding to their lead in the 69th minute. This time it would still be Cernak with the assist, but junior forward Taelyn Hendrickson would score with a shot from 17 yards out. 

The Saints are now 2-2-4 overall, with an in-conference record of 1-2. Governors State, meanwhile, fell to 0-4 with a conference record of 0-3. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Primack has earned two shutouts on the season, with one against Governors State and Indiana University East.

The Saints will continue their conference play with a trip to Joliet, Illinois, on Tuesday. The women’s game will kick off against the Fighting Saints at 6 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 8 p.m.

The women’s team boasts a poor record against Saint Francis. They are 3-10 dating back to 2009. In their last three matches, however, the Holy Cross is undefeated, winning the three games by a combined margin of 7-2. 

Contact Tom Zwiller at