Senior Robert Kristo assisted on a Kingsley Bryce goal to put SLU up 1-0 in the 63rd minute and scored himself in the 88th minute to lead the Billikens to a 2-0 win over Tulsa in the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The Billikens move on to face Louisville at Louisville on Sunday in the second round.
With the score knotted at 0 in the second half, Kristo took a ball on the end line and overpowered a Tulsa defender to send a cross in front of the Golden Hurricane goal. A Tulsa defender got a foot on the ball but was falling backwards as he did it, causing the ball to instead weakly bounce off the goalkeeper. Fellow Billiken senior Kingsley Bryce was in position to tap the ball in the net.
Ole Olson of Soccer STL had his camera in a perfect position to record the goal. It doesn’t catch Kristo’s effort to cross the ball, which you can see the Tulsa defenders thought should have been a foul.
The came had been a bit chippy in the second half, but it escalated towards the end of the game. At one point late in the game, Bryce was shoved onto the track that surrounds the field at Hermann Stadium as he was racing a Tulsa defender for the ball. Several Billikens, including senior William Hidalgo took offense to hard foul and a few shoves were exchanged. Tulsa received three yellow cards in the second half to SLU’s one.
With Tulsa threatening to tie the game with under five minute to go, the Tulsa goalkeeper was pushing up to help the attack. Bryce sent a ball over the last two Tulsa defenders that Kristo ran onto. He dribbled to his right and beat the retreating keeper from the top of the penalty area. A fired-up Kristo ran towards the far sidelines to hug student supporters as another group of boisterous fans ran down the sidelines to celebrate with him.
— Vince Gentile (@vpgentile) November 21, 2014
Kristo, a native Croatian and product of Parkway North High School, spent a long time after the game hugging the student supporters who stuck out the cold and posing for pictures with families.
Saint Louis University’s freshman goalkeeper, Sascha Otte made three saves and earned his 12th shutout of the season. That ties Kevin Johnston for second in SLU’s record books for shutouts in a season. Johnston recorded 16 in the 1988 seasons and 12 in the 1990 season.
For another recap of the game and words from Billiken coach Mike McGinty and his players, check out the St. Louis Post-Disptach game story from Stu Durando.
1.057 people were in attendance at Hermann Stadium last night, where temperatures were at a reported 29 degrees to start the game. For the season, SLU averaged 1,160 fans per home game over its 11 games. That number is a bit misleading because 5,487 were in attendance at the Homecoming game against Central Arkansas on September 27.
The Billikens move on to face Louisville on Sunday, November 23rd in Louisville. This marks the first time SLU has been in the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 2012, when they received a first round bye before losing to Fairleigh Dickinson 2-1 in double overtime in the second round. The Billikens beat Louisville earlier this season at Hermann by a 1-0 score. Tyler David’s first career goal gave SLU the victory over the then fifth-ranked Cardinals. It was Louisville’s first loss of the season. The Cardinals are now 10-7-3 on the season, but have played a brutal ACC schedule. Including Louisville, the ACC boasts six of the top twenty teams in the last NCAA Men’s Soccer RPI ratings.
Game time Sunday between the 14-4-2 Saint Louis Billikens and the 10-7-3 Louisville Cardinals is set for 5 p.m. local time. The game is set to be streamed online for free.