Soccer Community comes out for first Saluki soccer game

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

The Saluki Soccer Team took the field this evening for their very first home game against the Southeast Missouri Redhawk. 

Even though the Saluki’s fell 2-1 in this close matchup the turnout was tremendous and Coach Grant Williams thanked the fans for the support.

“The first thing I want to do is thank the fans and the soccer community,” Williams said. “We could not have asked for a better start. Our girls were buzzing from the start and it really made our first experience special.”

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Southern entered tonight’s game on a prior loss to the University of Illinois Chicago, while SEMO entered the matchup on a 3-0 win over Missouri State.

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  • Saluki freshman Kaitlin DuCharme hits the ball on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 during the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

  • Saluki fans react on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 during the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

  • Saluki freshman Madison Meiring dribbles the ball forward on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 during the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

  • Saluki freshman Madison Meiringon chases after the ball Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 during the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

  • Saluki freshman Madison Bennion attempts to steal the ball on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 during the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

  • Salukis' Ellie Lewis and Katy Quinn react on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 before the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

  • Saluki sophomore Ellie Lewis hits the ball on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 during the Salukis' 1-2 loss against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

    Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

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After several attempts to score on both ends up and down the field, SEMO found a hole on the Southern defense and got the ball past SIU’s goalie freshman Maddy Alaluf to make it 1-0.

“We played everyone today,” Williams said. “We’re still moving pieces around and I have no complaints about the outcome. Our kids played great and we’ll come back stronger next time.”

The Redhawks came down the field again, but this time the Salukis were ready with freshman goalkeeper Dariana Mihalache as she deflected the attempt to score.

“We have four goalkeepers and each of them are unique in their own ways,” Williams said. “Dariana has a great physical presence and great size. I thought her performance overall was outstanding.”

The Salukis were unable to score for the rest of the first half and the score was left 1-0 at halftime. 

Both teams played strong defense to start off the second half blocking attempts to score on both ends of the field. 

After several minutes passed, Southern freshman Liz Bretchel broke the scoring drought kicking the ball into the left side of the goal on a penalty kick to tie the game at 1-1 with just over 26 minutes left to play. 

“I tried my best to stay calm and keep a level head to get that goal,” Bretchel said. “It felt awesome to get that goal and it was my first of the season. I was so excited.” 

A penalty kick was given to Southeast Missouri after an altercation between two players, but fortunately for SIU the kick shot over the goal and into the crowd.

“We competed harder the second half,” Williams said. “That’s going to be the key for us moving forward because we can’t just give away the first half.”

Moments later, the Redhawks got down the field for another chance to score, but Saluki goalkeeper Nicole Raventos was able to block the attempt and get the ball back to her teammates.

“What I like most about our team is our attitude and drive,” Bretchel said. “We get after it and we want to work hard and get better.”

The SEMO defense seemed to be everywhere on the field, picking up every kickoff from Raventos and weaving through the young Southern team.

“With teams like SEMO, you can tell they are very experienced,” Williams said. “For all of our freshman, it made them realize how hard they have to work because the other team won’t do you any favors.”

After picking up another kick from the SIU goalie, Redhawk midfielder Hannah Compernolle closed in on the Saluki goal and scored putting Southeast up 2-1. 

With just over five minutes left to play, the Salukis would struggle to get on the offensive end of the game, constantly trying to get the ball back from there opposers.

“I couldn’t be more proud and I’m happy about our growth,” Williams said. “They’re a little critical of their performance, but that’s what you want. You want your girls to get better and develop everyday.”

Southern was unable to score before the clock ran out and they lost the game 2-1.

After the game tonight, the Salukis will see the Redhawks for a second time this year in October. 

You can catch the Salukis in action again at home on Friday in their regular season opener as they take on the University of Illinois Springfield. First kick is set for 6:30 p.m.

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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