SIUE Overwhelms Bradley
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Aaron Lantz scored a pair of goals Wednesday as SIUE men's soccer collected a 4-1 victory over Missouri Valley Conference rival Bradley at Korte Stadium.
Lantz sparked a Cougar offensive explosion that also included two balls that hit the post and another that hit the crossbar. SIUE more than doubled up Bradley in shots 23-11.
SIUE improved to 9-4 overall and 1-1 in the MVC. The Braves fell to 7-4-2 and 1-1 in the MVC.
"Every game in conference is difficult. They're a challenging team to play against, and it was a positive sign to see our guys respond," SIUE Head Coach Kevin Kalish said.
The Cougars now look to Saturday's Homecoming game against Missouri State at 7 p.m.
"Each game poses its own challenges. We need to make sure to bring the proper mentality to each game and perform. When we're playing with confidence and our ball circulation and speed of play is high, we're a tough team to beat," Kalish said.
On Wednesday, the Cougars took control early in the contest with sharp passing and creative play at midfield.
"I thought we grabbed a hold of the game from the opening whistle," said Kalish. "Everyone came to play. Every level was fantastic, and we scored some first-class goals."
Kevin Stoll scored SIUE's first goal on a tough angle from four yards out just outside the left post. He lofted the ball over Bradley goalkeeper Brian Billings' head after receiving a cross from Brian Groark at 6:32.
Lantz awed the crowd at Korte Stadium by delivering a shot from 35 yards out and burying it into the upper left corner. That put SIUE up 2-0.
Bradley took just two shots in the first half. Its only goal came at the 41:41 mark when Wojciech Wojcik scored from five yards out with an assist to Tapiwa Machingauta.
The Cougar offense wasn't ready to slow down in the second half. A few minutes before Benny Jeffery hit the crossbar, Lantz provided his second goal with a left-footed shot from 15 yards out. This time he hit the upper right side of the net with an assist from Ryan Bauer.
"The performance of Aaron Lantz is something to make note of. He grabbed a hold of the game and almost won it himself in some ways. It was a great team effort but his performance needs to be singled out because it was extraordinary," said Kalish.
SIUE sealed the victory with one more strike at 84:59. Christian Volesky took over the team lead in goals with his sixth, a shot that went through Billings' hands and into the goal.
Billings finished with six saves. SIUE's John Berner collected his seventh win of the season in the nets and also had six saves.
Kalish said one of the challenges of MVC games is the back-to-back nature of the schedule. The Cougars will have to rely on their depth to move forward.
"We have a lot of quality players in the program. Tonight you saw that. It was a performance to build on," said Kalish.