BY DOUG HENNES
St. Thomas defeated Benedictine 2-1 Saturday in two overtimes in the NCAA Division III men's soccer playoffs in Chicago to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
The eighth-ranked Tommies (19-1-3) rallied from a one-goal deficit to tie the game with three minutes remaining in regulation on a Christian Elliehausen header, and won the Sweet 16 game early in the second overtime on a Tyler Oliver kick.
Benedictine finished with 12 shots, four shots on goal and eight corner kicks to 10, six and two for the Tommies. Goalie Aidan Hogan picked up his 12th win and has allowed just three goals this season.
In Redlands, the Tommies will face a California team riding the high of an upset win over Chicago. The Bulldogs never trailed, holding leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1 before Chicago scored a goal with 14 minutes to go to trail 3-2.
Lowery finds himself continually adjusting his team's goals for the season. The original goal was to win the MIAC regular-season and playoff titles, thus qualifying for the NCAA playoffs.
"Later it the season, we thought we needed to raise the bar on our goals," he said. "We said, 'Let's get to the Sweet 16, and if we can win there, anything can happen."
• This is the sixth NCAA playoff trip for the Tommies, who are 5-5 all-time. The only other time they made the Sweet 16 round was in 1990.
• Lowery will coach his 100th game at St. Thomas on Sunday. His record is 61-25-13 in four years.
• The Tommies have a school-record 16 shutouts this year and have outscored opponents 37-9, including 18-3 in the first half.