November 14, 2005|
For the third time in the last five years, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's soccer team will compete in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
The fourth-ranked Cougars, 15-2-3 overall, will battle sixth-ranked Carson-Newman, 18-1-2 overall, on Saturday at Korte Stadium at 7 p.m.
The winner will advance to the NCAA national semifinals in Wichita Falls, Texas at Midwestern State University on Dec. 1-4.
"There are eight teams left in the country," said SIUE men's soccer coach Ed Huneke. "I like the idea of us still playing late in the year because this is what everybody strives to accomplish."
SIUE claimed its second consecutive Great Lakes Regional Championship, advancing 4-2 in penalty kicks over 11th-ranked Truman State last Saturday.
"I think us being a team that has experienced a lot of pressure situations helped," said Huneke. "You had better be ready for these types of games because in the playoffs defense starts to take over."
Carson-Newman also advanced on penalty kicks 3-1 as they moved on past Catawba to claim the Appalachian Regional Championship.
SIUE's 0-0 tie with the Bulldogs gave the Cougars their 12th shutout of the season, tying the school record set in 2004 and 1973.
"Defense wins championships," said Huneke. "It has been the strong point of our team all year. If we can continue to play that well these remaining games, it could lead to something special."
Goalkeeper Greg Crook (Columbia) was one of the reasons the Cougars are still alive in the postseason. Crook made the only save in the shootout.
"He is a good reader (of penalty shots)," said Huneke. "Saving penalty kicks entails luck, and the ability to read the approach. He had both."
The Cougars have a 0.53 goals against average this season, allowing 11 goals on 160 shots.
Last season, SIUE defeated Tusculum 3-2 at Korte Stadium in the NCAA Quarterfinals to advance to the Final Four.