The men’s soccer game on Friday marked the second season win for the team after an intense victory against the UMKC Roos Tuesday.
The Cougars matched up against the Tigers in Princeton’s season opener, and SIUE secured a goal in the opening minutes of the second half from junior midfielder Joergen Pettersen.
Throughout the game, the Cougars shouted to each other and kept their communication consistent, all while passing and utilizing each other constantly.
“We’re definitely a sum of our parts, so we continue to put it together,” Head Coach Mario Sanchez said.
Sanchez’s use of 10 substitutions in the game goes farther than just diversifying the game, it appears to show his commitment to form a true team dynamic.
“Probably our biggest strength is this bond we have with each other and what we created,” senior midfielder Keegan McHugh said.
Sophomore midfielder Jaime Roiz said he buckled the team down and tried to correct their mistakes at half-time.
“Honestly the first half we were kinda casual, I would say. The way we play is kind of like a fast-paced passing game, and we kind of played into their hands; we fouled a lot, which is what they wanted to get service into the box,” McHugh said.
The score in the second half seemed to revitalize the Cougars, and they were able to prevent Princeton from scoring.
“I think we took control of the game the second half,” said Roiz.
A rough 2017 season saw the team reform and begin to work together as a family.
“Last year we [were] kinda shallow in depth; this year it’s a whole new thing. We had about nine new players come in just in the fall, a couple players came in in the spring,” McHugh said.
After Pettersen’s goal in the second half, the Cougars worked to keep a shutout, establishing their record for the season as undefeated at 2-0-1.
Princeton’s goalkeeper Jacob Schachner managed to save five goals and two corner kicks during the match, maintaining a hard defense against SIUE’s strong offense.
Junior forward Lachlan McLean finished the game with three shots on goal. The final few minutes saw the teams wrestling back and forth, ending with five total shots on goal by Princeton during the game.
SIUE has 16 more games scheduled this season. However, Sanchez said the team will be taking it one game at a time this season.
“The theme for our team this year is one and zero, and what we mean by that is just the one game; focus on the one game,” Sanchez said.
While the Cougars remain undefeated, the game’s average shots on goal — 12 in total — left ideas for practice in both the players’ and coaches’ minds.
“We still need to work on ball speed sometimes and stay composed throughout the whole game. But overall, I think we did a pretty good job,” Roiz said.
Both Roiz and Sanchez hope to work on ball speed for future games.
“Yeah, I mean [I have] no complaints, you know, to get a shutout. I thought, overall, against a pretty good team, I thought we played pretty well. I was happy with it.” Sanchez said.
The Cougars will play Wisconsin State University this Friday, Sept. 7 at Korte Stadium.