Strong Second-Half Lifts Cougars Over Panthers
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - It took less than 60 seconds, and it turned the game around for SIUE.
Senior Jack Twellman scored back-to-back goals within 48 seconds in the second half as SIUE rolled past Eastern Illinois 3-1 in the opening game of the ProRehab Aces Soccer Classic at Evansville.
The Cougars improved to 3-1 with the come-from-behind victory while the Panthers fell to 2-2.
"It was a good second-half performance," said SIUE Head Coach Kevin Kalish. "I give a lot of credit to Jack for stepping up and getting the job done."
The Cougars went through an emotional game, noted Kalish, when Jordan Barnes was injured as he tried to score midway through the first half. Barnes, a forward, went up to head the ball near the goal and was inadvertently hit in the head by EIU goalkeeper Evan Turner who aimed to punch the ball away from the penalty area. The resulting play halted action for more than 20 minutes before Barnes was taken off the field.
"It obviously gave us a lot of fighting spirit," said Kalish. "Your instinct and reaction is to stand up for him. We all felt like we had to get a result for Jordan."
Eastern Illinois, however, scored first with a goal by Garet Christianson at 31:34. He would head the ball past SIUE goalkeeper Scott Meyer off a throw-in from Jake Irwin. Meyer would finish the game strong with three saves.
Tied at halftime, the momentum took a swift switch. Twellman put the Cougars on the scoreboard at 58:26 as he gained the ball at midfield and used a breakaway to score past Turner. Twellman came from the left side and netted the ball to the back right corner.
Twellman would double his season goals total in just a few seconds. At 59:14, Nash Maduekwe had his throw-in converted into a goal as Twellman scored on a header. In 48 seconds, the Cougars went from down 1-0 to up 2-1.
SIUE would add one more goal by freshman Matt Polster at 71:24. Another restart goal, this time Brian Groark made his corner kick pay off. The ball rebounded a few times before Polster punched it in for his first career goal.
The Cougars outshot EIU 13-8. SIUE now awaits its second opponent of the tournament, Marist, for a noon start Sunday in Evansville.