UU men’s soccer picks up key MEC win


Urbana University (3-1-1, 2-1 MEC) handed No. 10 Notre Dame (5-1, 2-1 MEC) its first loss in a 3-2 upset over the Falcons at UU Stadium in men’s soccer. Forced to play with 10 men following a red card, the Blue Knights survived the final 27 minutes, which featured two goals from each squad.

It was the second straight win at home over a ranked Notre Dame College team for the Blue Knights. UU defeated then-ranked No. 17 NDC by a score of 2-0 last season.

The finish in this year’s matchup proved to be very entertaining.

Lars Blenckers scored the game-winner on a fancy stop-and-go move during a fast break in the 88th minute. His first goal as a Blue Knight initially gave UU a two-goal advantage with the scoreboard reading 3-1. But, the Falcons quickly responded with their second goal on the ensuing possession to cut UU’s lead back down to one.

Callum Kerswell-Reid picked up the red card in the 67th minute due to fighting, and the pressure was on for UU.

Notre Dame wasted no time by scoring five minutes later against the depleted UU defense.

However, just one minute after that, UU’s leading scorer Mike McFarlane connected on his fourth goal of the season in the 73rd minute to break the 1-1 tie. He knocked in a header off a perfect free-kick bender delivered by Lewis Dunne.

Raoui Lassoued got the scoring started with a close-range strike to the back of the net in the seventh minute of the game. Blenckers dished out the assist after an outstanding crossover move to get in the open field. The goal was Lassoued’s second score of the season.

UU seemed to have added to its first-half output on a close play right before the halftime whistle. A crowd of players convened on the near post, and multiple bodies hit the turf while knocking the ball through the net. Due to the impact of the mass collision, the goal frame was taken off center and the play was nullified.

UU goalkeeper Nathan Jones was a standout in the box, constantly jumping and diving for hard-to-reach balls. His best save of the game came in the 85th minute, when he dove to his right and shielded an attack from inside the box to preserve the 2-2 tie. He finished with a season-high five saves.

Blenckers’ gamewinner came just a few minutes later.

The Falcons out-shot the Blue Knights 15-7, as both teams combined for 33 fouls in a very physical contest.

UU’s three goals were the most scored in a home match since a 4-0 victory over Concord on Sept. 24, 2013.

The two schools will meet again on Oct. 6 in Euclid, Ohio.

UU returns to action on Thursday when it hosts West Virginia Wesleyan in another league match. That game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.