Salukis fall to sister school In Senior Night showdown

Tonight Southern Illinois soccer honored its seniors in what was one of its last home games.

With a majority of the team being underclassmen, the Salukis only honored two seniors tonight who were that of defender Ashley Moore and midfielder Andrea Rodriguez.

“Even though we aren’t a team who has been together that long, tonight still puts a lump in my throat because they chose to invest their last opportunity to play collegiate soccer with us,” said Saluki head coach Grant Williams. “They have both provided good leadership and are good people.”

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The game was played against SIU’s sister school, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The Salukis fell to Edwardsville in a 2-0 loss.

The Cougars of SIUE entered tonight’s game with a win under its belt from their game against the EIU Panthers, while Southern entered the matchup tonight on a tie against the same program.

The game started out with the ball changing possessions between teams very quickly with no team taking significant shots at the goals.

Just 10 minutes into the first period, the Cougars came down the field and took a slow moving shot at the goal. 

It appeared that SIU’s freshman goal keeper Dariana Mihalache would intercept the ball, but she got tangled up on her way to the ball and fell before reaching it. The ball slowly rolled into the goal giving SIUE the first goal of the game and the lead at 1-0.

After the Cougar goal, the game slowed down on both ends until the 20 minute mark when freshman forward Liz Bretchel took a shot at the Edwardsville goal from far out. 

The shot was on target, but deflected by the Cougar’s goalkeeper.

With 20 minutes left to play in the half, SIUE took a shot at the bottom left corner of the Southern goal, but Mihalache was ready and dove to catch the ball and earn her first save of the game.

The freshman keeper finished the night with 11 saves total.

Time wound down in the first period and neither team was able to score.

Despite this, the Cougars took several on target shots at the Saluki goal, all of which were saved by Mihalache.

SIU on the other hand, was able to get the ball onto their offensive end, but could not manage to shoot at the Cougar goal.

With eight minutes left to play, the Cougars took a high shot at the Southern goal. Mihalache jumped and was able to get her hands on the ball to deflect it as she fell to the ground. 

The ball remained in play with the Cougars having a wide open shot at the goal, but luckily for the Salukis the shot was too strong and went over the goal.

At the four minute mark, the Salukis were finally able to get a shot off at the opposing goal, but this was intercepted by the Cougar keeper.

The last shot on goal of the half came from Edwardsville, but this was no good as Mihalache was there to intercept the attack.

The half ended with the Cougars in the lead with the score remaining 1-0.

The first shot of the second half came five minutes in from Edwardsville on a corner kick. The shot was caught by Mihalache and possession of the ball went to Southern.

The ball spent a large amount of time on the Cougars’ offensive end and they were able to get two more shots at the SIU goal during this time. These shots were either intercepted or off target.

The Salukis recorded their first shot of the half with an attack from freshman forward Liz Brechtel. 

Brechtel weaved through the defense and shot the ball in between two defenders, but her shot was slow moving and intercepted by the SIUE goalie.

A foul called on the Salukis gave Edwardsville the opportunity to take an additional two shots at the goal, but these were both blocked by the SIU defense.

The Cougar team seemed to cover every inch of the field, putting pressure on both Southern’s offense and defense. They continued to keep the ball on their offensive end and take several more shots at the SIU goal.

With 15 minutes left to play Southern got the ball back on their end with a corner kick.

In the cluster near the goal a Saluki player took a high shot at the goal that nearly went in, but was blocked last minute by the Cougar keeper.

After the block, Southern had a second chance to shoot at the goal, but missed out to the right.

SIU was unable to gain any momentum against SIUE in the second half despite having the chance to with several corner kicks.

 For the final six minutes of the game, the ball mainly was kept on the Edwardsville offensive end taking away from Southern’s chances at attempting to score a goal to tie the game.

“I thought we approached tonight with the right energy and I feel that our execution will continue to get better,” Williams said. “We played a good team tonight and we have to learn how to play the full 90 minutes.” 

With just over two minutes left to play, the Cougars were able to score again after shooting the ball into the bottom left corner of the Saluki goal.

This goal took the SIUE lead to 2-0 and this solidified SIU’s defeat as time ran out on the clock.

The Salukis will take the field again on Tuesday in New Hampshire as they take on Dartmouth University at 6 p.m.

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

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