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SLU Hosts C-USA Tourney

Brian Reardon

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George W. Bush, Al Gore and Bob Warming all needed to win in Florida.

While the debate is still out on the political race, coach Warming and his Saint Louis University men’s soccer squad forged a 4-3 victory last Friday at South Florida. That intraleague battle won them the right to host the Conference-USA Tournament this weekend at Robert R. Hermann Stadium.

“It couldn’t have worked out better,” said Warming. “We went undefeated on the road in the conference, scored a lot of goals and our defense thought that they could have played better.”

The SLU-South Florida game swayed back and forth nearly as much as Florida’s electoral college. Neither team, however, was declared the winner before the match ended.

The Billikens started quickly, as freshman Brad Davis assisted Jackie Jewsbury in the 14th minute. After Davis’ free kick rebounded from the wall, the midfielder chipped a cross to the far post, where Jewsbury connected to make the score 1-0.

Seven minutes before halftime, South Florida answered on a SLU mistake. Nick Gannon and goalkeeper John Politis collided on a Bulls’ cross, allowing Ryan Anatol to head in the equalizer. The goal snapped Politis’ 644-minute scoreless streak.

When C-USA’s leading scorer, Greg Krauss, scored from 18 yards out in the 56th minute, South Florida took its first lead But the Billikens responded five minutes later when Jewsbury took a Marty Tappel pass and one-timed it to the near post to tie the score at 2-2.

The Bulls regained the lead in the 73rd minute when Jeff Thwaites chested a long throw-in and buried it in the far side netting. The victory seemed imminent for South Florida, a team riding with a lot on its shoulders. Not only did USF have to win to qualify for the C-USA Tournament, but it was also Senior Night, Alumni Night and Homecoming.

However, the pressure overwhelmed them as Davis scored one minute later, to tie the score at 3-3. With two minutes left in regulation, Jewsbury netted his third goal of the game, as he took a long through ball from Loren Reinhardt and put it in from 18 yards out, to preserve the 4-3 victory. His hat trick earned him C-USA’s Offensive Player of the Week. The sophomore forward has 12 goals and five assists on the year, for a team-leading 29 points.

“You count on your top players to perform in the big games, and Jackie came up huge,” Warming said. “It’s good to see a guy like Jack who works so hard to score goals.”

With Jewsbury’s effort, 14th-ranked SLU (11-3-2, 6-1-1) will now host the C-USA Tournament for the first time. The victory gave the Billikens their third consecutive regular-season championship and first outright C-USA regular-season title since 1995.

Coming to town are the next five best teams in C-USA. SLU and UAB are the top two seeds, respectively. Both received a first-round bye into the semi-finals. Charlotte, Memphis, Cincinnati and Louisville round out the field.

UAB (13-3-2, 5-1-2) is SLU’s most formidable opponent. They are ranked as high as 10th in the polls and played the Bills tough on Sept. 30 when SLU won 1-0 at Robert R. Hermann Stadium. The Blazers will take on the winner between No. 3 Charlotte (8-7-2, 5-2-1) and No. 6 Louisville (11-8-1, 3-4-1).

SLU will take on the winner between No. 4 Memphis (13-5, 5-3) and No. 5 Cincinnati (6-8-3, 3-2-3). Memphis went away to beat Cincinnati 2-1, while losing to SLU in overtime at Memphis. SLU tied Cincinnati 0-0 at SLU.

Quarterfinal action begins on Thursday with Louisville and Charlotte playing at 5 p.m. followed by Cincinnati and Memphis at 7:30 p.m. In the semifinals, UAB will take on the winner of Louisville/Charlotte on Friday at 5 p.m. In the other semifinal, SLU will take on the winner of Memphis/Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. The championship is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday Nov. 12 at Robert R. Hermann Stadium.

Student admission is free with a valid ID, and the soccer team has asked for student support.

“We have great community fans, but the people who add enthusiasm and who the players enjoy playing for the most are the students,” Warming said.

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The Student News Site of Saint Louis University
SLU Hosts C-USA Tourney