EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars were able to hold their own in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championships, defeating Ashland 1-0 at Ralph Korte Stadium.
The Cougars, 17-2-3, are now in the final four and are waiting to find out whom their next competitors will be and where they will be playing on Nov. 30. Ashland completed its season 12-5-1.
The Cougars put their goal on the board at 63:18. Justin McMillian (Granite City), SIUE's senior forward, scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Chris Knopp (St. Louis) assisted on the goal with a crisp pass to McMillian, who scored from 10 yards out.
"There was not too much done on my part," said Knopp. "I just got the ball to his (McMillian's) foot."
"It was just the perfect opportunity," said McMillian. "The ball was set up perfectly so I just tucked it away in the corner of the goal."
SIUE Coach Ed Huneke gave a great deal of credit to the Cougars' defense.
"We were under a lot of pressure," said Huneke.
Goalkeeper Matt Evers (Edwardsville) was able to hold off the advances and collected three saves.
"I relied on my defense a lot this game," said Evers. "There were times when there were bodies everywhere and they played tight defense in clutch situations."
The victory was definitely a team effort according to Knopp. "It was a nice reward after all of the hard work we put in this year," said Knopp.
All SIUE can do now is just sit and wait until Sunday evening when the Cougars find out who wins the Lander/Tampa game. All three of the other semifinals game are scheduled for Sunday.
"It would be nice to play in Edwardsville in front of our friends and families," said McMillian. "But we'd be happy to get on a plane and fly somewhere too."
NCAA-II Tournament (in bracket order)
Cal State-Dominguez Hills (18-2-1) at West Texas A&M (15-3-1), Sun., Nov. 18, 1 p.m.
Dowling (14-0-3) at Southern Connecticut State (17-3-2), Sun., Nov. 18, 1 p.m.
Lander (16-3) at Tampa (16-0-2), Sun., Nov. 18, 1 p.m.
at SIU Edwardsville 1 Ashland 0
SIUE Men's Soccer in NCAA Tournament (23-13)
Saint Louis 4 SIUE 0
SIUE 6 Cleveland State 0
Saint Louis 2 SIUE 1