The Cougars will kick off the 2018 athletic season Friday night, when they host No. 16 Rio Grande (Ohio) at 7pm.
The first game of the 2018 season is a rematch of last year's opener, where the 2nd-ranked Red Storm defeated the Cougars 3-0 on their home pitch. Saint Xavier and Rio Grande have met in each of the past six years, with the Cougars' last victory coming in 2012.
Michael Gutierrez (Stone Park, Ill./IC Catholic Prep) was an All-CCAC First Team selection as a sophomore last season, logging over 1,200 minutes on the pitch and scoring three goals. The junior is expected to make his first career appearance against Rio Grande this week.
Danny Lopez (Chicago, Ill./Kennedy HS) was also an All-CCAC First Team honoree in 2017, after first earning a spot on the Second Team as a sophomore in 2016. Last season, Lopez ranked 3rd in the CCAC with five game-winning goals, and had the Cougars' only shot on goal in last year's match with the Red Storm.
Ricardo Aldape (Chicago Heights, Ill./Bloom Township HS) returns for his senior season as the Cougar's active career leader in goals scored, with 20. The senior ranks T-13th on the program's all-time goals scored list, and is a two-time All-CCAC First Team selection in 2014 and 2015. Aldape recorded one goal last season, in the win over Trinity International.
Mike Patton (team photo), SXU Athletics (others)