Men’s soccer fell to the West Virginia Mountaineers 1-5 Saturday night, breaking an eight-game streak of wins and tied games.
SIUE currently sits in third place in the Mid-American Conference with only one point out of second, and five points out of first place after Saturday’s match.
In the first half, SIUE held possession and created a lot of chances in front of the net. However, SIUE only found the back of the net once in the first half.
Junior midfielder Jorge Gonzalez scored early on in at 11:09, assisted by junior forward Lachlan McLean.
SIUE held onto their lead for more than 20 minutes until West Virginia’s Pascal Derwaritsch scored at 35:17.
The first half ended in a 1-1 tie, with SIUE surpassing West Virginia in shots on goal 12-6.
Both teams committed five fouls in the first half; SIUE’s McLean was shown a yellow card at 32:47.
“This game was a game of two halves. In the first half, we saw probably the best half of play we have had all year. We had a lot of chances but we just could not finish. At the half, it was one to one in a game where West Virginia was completely outplayed,” Head Coach Mario Sanchez said.
The game turned physical at the beginning of the second half. Within the first six minutes both SIUE and West Virginia were fouled three times. A yellow card was awarded to Mountaineer Kevin Morris at 51:12.
“In the first half we came out firing on all cylinders, but in the second half, we found ourselves in a hole. We never gave up. Our mentality is to stay strong and to keep fighting,” senior midfielder Greg Solawa said.
The Cougars fell behind for the first time at 63:26 after scoring on the wrong goal. After a West Virginia corner kick was sent in by Joey Piatczyc, the ball took a deflection by an SIUE player and ended up in the back of the net.
SIUE made nine substitutions once they fell behind in hopes of finding the key matchups and getting some fresh legs on the field to keep pushing back.
The Mountaineers went on to score three more goals to finish out the game 1-5.
After Saturday’s game, the Cougars are now 9-2-4 overall and 1-1-1 in conference play.
SIUE is going into their first full week of practice for the first time in four weeks. Their next matchup takes place against the University of Akron at 7 p.m. Saturday at Korte Stadium. The men’s soccer team is still in good standing and are looking to improve their overall record to 10-2-4 this weekend.
“We have a team fully capable of achieving anything in front of us,” redshirt senior midfielder Keegan McHugh said.