The Cavaliers had already established themselves as a strong conference team this season, posting a 5-2-2 record during the regular season. They avenged one of their two losses on Friday, Nov. 2, to put themselves on the cusp of a CSAC title.
In order to win their first CSAC crown since 2009, they will have to avenge the only other conference loss of the season.
The men’s soccer team played stellar defense and were backed by a pair of goals by junior Brett Lockbaum in their 2-1 win over Neumann University in the CSAC semi-final.
Lockbaum’s first tally came in the 17th minute. Neumann goalkeeper Alex Lacko stopped his first shot. But Lockbaum scored on the rebound to put the Cavs in front.
The Cavaliers defense was able to carry that lead into the half despite being outshot by the Knights, 7-4.
It didn’t take long for the Cavaliers to pad the lead in the second half. Freshman Boomer Steigelman found Lockbaum in the 49th minute for his second goal of the game.
Less than 10 minutes later, in the 58th minute, Neumann managed to beat goalkeeper Eric Nowicki. A shot by Michael Atallian rattled around the cage and just barely crossed the goal line to cut the lead in half.
Cabrini would spend the remainder of the game clinging to that slim lead. In the 66th minute, R.J. Pino replaced Nowicki in goal. Pino’s lone save came in the 81st minute with the Knights scrambling for a goal. A shot by Brandon Green in the 77th minute hit the post and Atallian’s bid for a second goal was turned away.
With time winding down, the Cavs thwarted every Knights’ opportunity by standing tall on defense. In the end, Cabrini survived an onslaught of shots – a 19-7 advantage for the Knights – to advance to the CSAC Final.
One win away from their first title in three seasons, the Cavaliers will need a win against the only other conference opponent to defeat them. The championship game will be on Sunday, Nov. 4, against Rosemont College. Rosemont is hosting the game which is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.