EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's soccer opened the preseason Sunday, playing to a scoreless draw with No. 9 Notre Dame at Korte Stadium.
"I'm very happy," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "To be critical, I thought we started off a little slow, a little hesitant. It's a learning experience. We have to see ourselves as a top-10 team and realize that we can play with these guys, whether it's Notre Dame or whatever team is in the top 10."
SIUE took five shots, while limiting the Fighting Irish to just four total and two in each half.
"Four days into it, I thought we saw some glimpses. We're organized," Sanchez said. "The attacking is the hardest part and I don't worry too much about it because that just comes with rhythm."
While Notre Dame used two completely different lineups in each half, Sanchez employed just 16 players total players. He admitted he was proud of his team's fitness level.
"It's impressive. It's says a lot about the boys that they've come in fit," Sanchez said. "That's very satisfying as a coach to know that the kids, in the offseason, are taking care of business."
Newcomers Lachlan McLean and Greg Solawa each took two shots. Ivan Gutierrez had a shot. McLean, along with fellow newcomer Clayton Pearson and junior Devyn Jambga split time at two forward positions throughout the night.
"I like all three and I think all three deserve to play," Sanchez said of his offensive alignment. "The way to do that is to get at least two forwards on. I thought they all did well."
The Cougars' head coach also praised his defense.
"We remain solid in the back, and that's been the history in the short time I've been here," he said. "You get shutouts and it gives you a chance to win. I think we'll score some goals as we get used to playing with each other."
Junior Kyle Dal Santo played all 90 minutes in goal for SIUE, recording three saves. Chris Hubbard and Ryan Kuntz each played a half for the Fighting Irish. Hubbard made a single save.
SIUE continues exhibition play with a 6 p.m. CT match at Kentucky Tuesday night, before returning home for a Friday matchup with Dayton.