The SIUE men’s soccer team picked up where it left off with its NCAA Tournament-qualifying effort of last year.
The Cougars started the season with three losses and a tie over its first eight games. But with their 2-0 win over Eastern Illinois on Tuesday, they have won seven straight with one regular-season match to go before kicking off the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Wednesday.
SIUE will play host to the league tournament at venerable Korte Stadium. Pairings and game times have not been determined.
A win at home against Loyola on Saturday would give SIUE its first-ever MVC regular- season title and would earn it the No. 1 seed in the tourney. The Cougars already are assured of a No. 2 seed. The tournament will be held Nov. 11-15.
“You always want to play for trophies and this is the first one on the line Saturday night against a very good team,” first-year Cougars coach Mario Sanchez said. “We’ve always had two big targets. The conference tournament is one and the NCAA tournament (is another). We have everything to play for. It’s exciting.”
Polster is ROY finalist
Chicago Fire midfielder and SIUE men’s soccer alumnus Matt Polster has been named one of three finalists for the AT&T Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year award.
Polster was the No. 7 overall pick in January’s MLS SuperDraft and has appeared in 30 matches, while making 27 starts for the Fire.
The Las Vegas native also started all five matches for the United States in the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, recording an assist in the second group match, a 6-1 win over Cuba on Oct. 3.
San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe and Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin also are finalists for the award which will be announced Nov. 10.
Polster started all 79 games in his SIUE career, which is fifth-most in school history. He was chosen the MVC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.
Women’s season ends
SIUE women’s soccer ended its season with a 1-0 loss to Eastern Illinois on Oct. 29.
The Cougars finished the 2015 campaign with an overall record of 5-11-3 and an Ohio Valley Conference record of 2-7-1.
The program will part ways with its five seniors, Taylor Berutti (Belleville West), Marissa Delgado (Belleville East), Jennifer Pelley, Cassidy Sherman and Katye Skrivan. The class is the winningest class in program Division I history with 38.
Pelley leaves the program on the record list in several goalkeeper categories, including the leader in career shutouts with 29. She is also second in career goals-against average (0.84) and third in career saves (294).