College Sports

SIUE advances to NCAA soccer Sweet 16

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Soccer National Tournament by bouncing No. 11 Butler 5-4 on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw in double overtime.

SIUE goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo denied Butler sophomore Marco Charalambous with a diving save to his right on the sixth round of penalties, setting off the celebration.

The Cougars move to 10-4-7 overall and will meet No. 2 Wake Forest next Sunday at 4 p.m.

“I could not be more proud of these guys,” SIUE head coach Mario Sanchez said. “This is our fourth game in seven days. For everything they’ve been through throughout the season, they’re showing their resiliency.”

Both teams had one shooter miss through the first five rounds of kicks, setting up a sudden-victory situation. Devyn Jambga converted for SIUE, opening the door for Dal Santo’s heroics.

Keegan McHugh, Andrew Kendall-Moullin, Greg Solawa and Austin Ledbetter each made successful kicks in the shootout.

This is the first time SIUE has advanced past the second round since a national semifinal appearance at the Division II Tournament in 2005.

The Bulldogs outshot SIUE 22-5 for the game and 4-1 over two overtime periods. Dal Santo made five saves for SIUE. Ivan Gutierrez recorded the only shot on goal for SIUE, forcing Butler goalkeeper Eric Dick to make just a single save.

“Butler played very well,” Sanchez added. “I give so much credit to their staff and their players. We found a way to hold on and that’s all part of it, but we didn’t back down for one second. I am extremely proud of these guys.”

The Cougars have played nine overtime games this season, equaling the school record set in 2014 when SIUE advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Tournament.

“It was an absolute team effort from start to finish,” Sanchez said.

SIUE was well represented inside the Butler Bowl with a loud contingent of parents, fans, student-athletes and alumni.

“It’s awesome, our fans,” he said. “Today they were, quite honestly, louder than the Butler fans which is amazing. It’s an absolute privilege to represent this school and the alumni.”