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Cougars' Streak Moves to Eight with Draw at Central Arkansas

Greg Solawa
Greg Solawa

CONWAY, Ark. – SIUE men's soccer unleashed a season-high 29 shots on Central Arkansas defense, but in the end it never broke. The Cougars and Bears settled for a scoreless draw in double overtime Thursday.

SIUE, which extended its unbeaten streak to eight games is now 7-4-4 overall and 3-1-2 in MVC play. The Cougars are 6-0-2 in their last eight games. Central Arkansas is now 5-7-2 overall and 2-3-1 in the Valley.

The 29 shots in the game is the most by the Cougars since September 2004 when SIUE recorded 31 in a game against Northern Kentucky.

In a game which included a pair of red cards and two missed penalty kicks, SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said a draw may have been appropriate.

"Overall we played well," Sanchez said. "We obviously created plenty of opportunities. Credit UCA for making it difficult for us. Both teams missed a penalty kick so maybe it was fair."

Central Arkansas' Blake Stricker was sent off in the ninth minute after a hard tackle. SIUE lost Andrew Kendall-Moullin in the 106th minute.

The Bears' had an opportunity to take the lead just after halftime. After a foul in the 51st minute, UCA was awarded a penalty kick. Wes Carson hit a low shot, but SIUE goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo made the save, diving to his right.

SIUE was awarded a penalty five minutes into the first overtime period. Austin Ledbetter, who had been a perfect three-for-three in penalty kicks this year, hit a high shot which Central Arkansas goalie Marc Olsen tipped off the crossbar.

"If they (UCA) hit theirs, maybe the hold on for the win and we don't get the opportunity," Sanchez explained. "If we hit ours it's over. In that regard maybe it was a fair result."

Olsen finished with eight saves for UCA.

"We didn't finish a few good chances," Sanchez added. "And their goalkeeper made some really good saves."

Lachlan McLean and Greg Solawa each had seven shots to lead SIUE.

Dal Santo made three saves to earn the shutout. It is the 17th career shutout for Dal Santo, who moved into a tie for sixth all-time at SIUE.

"That's still eight without a loss and we got the shutout," Sanchez said. "There are a lot of positives."

The Cougars return home to finish the regular season Saturday night against conference leader, No. 11 Loyola. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

"It's a great opportunity to see where we're at against Loyola, who is having a great season," Sanchez said. 

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