SIUE (4-6-0, 0-0-0 MAC)
vs. Bowling Green (6-4-0, 0-0-0 MAC)
Sat., Oct. 7, 7 p.m.
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The annual Homecoming game and the first-ever Mid-American Conference game all rolled into one, that's what's on tap for SIUE men's soccer with Saturday night's contest against Bowling Green.
The Cougars and Falcons kick off at 7 p.m. at Korte Stadium.
"It's a big night and a fun night," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "If you are participating you want to see what to see what you're capable of doing. If you're a spectator it is something to be excited about. For our fans to have all of these things lined up makes for a great opportunity."
Following a seven-year run in the Missouri Valley, SIUE men's soccer officially moved to the MAC during the summer.
The Cougars snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 2-0 win at home over Milwaukee. SIUE is 4-6-0 overall.
"We're in a good place mentally," Sanchez said. "We're starting to learn who we are as a team. More than anything we're starting to learn what our standard is. The absolute biggest positive coming out of the Milwaukee win was the guys finally realized we're capable of more."
Another positive has been the emergence of sophomore Jorge Gonzalez. Over the last two games, Gonzalez has scored three goals while taking 10 shots.
"There was some pressure on him," Sanchez explained. "With Mohamed (Awad) out at the start of the season Jorge was forced to step up even more than anticipated. When Lachlan (McLean) went out it was the same thing. He was frustrated that he wasn't getting more goals, but we saw every day in training what he was capable of. Like the rest of the team he is finding his rhythm."
Bowling Green has not played since Sept. 27 when it earned a 1-0 overtime win over Duquesne. The Falcons are 6-4-0. Three of the four losses came against top 25 teams.
"They are very athletic," Sanchez said of Bowling Green. "They are very direct in their play, very well-coached and organized. If you look at their results, you'll see they're in every game. They have gotten the wins they should. They are playing top teams very close."
Saturday marks the first MAC game of the season for Bowling Green as well.
"We know it will be a very tight game and one that we have to prepare for mentally from start to finish," Sanchez added.
Saturday's Homecoming festivities include pregame tailgating and the coronation of the Homecoming royalty. Sanchez appreciates the tradition of Homecoming at SIUE.
"We speak to recruits and current players that these moments are what it is all about at SIUE," he said. "We are proud to represent the school in these moments. Now it's about taking advantage of it and rising up to the moment."