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Cougars Fall to Zips on Senior Night

SIUE seniors Greg Solawa, TC Hull, Keegan McHugh and Johan DePicker
SIUE seniors Greg Solawa, TC Hull, Keegan McHugh and Johan DePicker

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Akron emerged from a hard-fought Mid-American Conference battle with a win Saturday night as the Zips edged SIUE 1-0 on senior night at Korte Stadium.

The Cougars fell to 9-3-4 overall and 1-2-1 in MAC play. Akron is 7-6-2 overall and also is 1-2-1 in the MAC.

SIUE outshot Akron 22-14 and managed six shots on goal but couldn't find the back of the net. In the end, it was a 64th minute strike from Akron sophomore David Egbo which sent SIUE to its second consecutive loss.

Egbo was sent into the box on a pass from Marcel Zajac. SIUE goalkeeper Noah Heim came off his line and made a sliding attempt on the ball, but Egbo slid the ball past him and into the goal for the lone tally.

"I am really proud of the guys," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "It's no moral victory, we played really well. That's soccer sometimes."

Akron goalkeeper Ben Lundt made six saves including several acrobatic stops. SIUE senior TC Hull had the best attempt of the night for the Cougars unloading a right-footed bending shot from near the top of the 18-yard box, which Lundt was forced to push over the bar.

"Their keeper was phenomenal tonight," Sanchez said. "He was a difference maker."

Heim turned away four of Akron's five shots on goal.

The Cougars finished out the regular season at home with a 6-1-2 record at Korte Stadium.

"If anything it is a good way to end," Sanchez said. "We showed what we're capable of. It was a great soccer game. I am excited more than ever."

The Cougars will travel to Bowling Green for the final regular season game Saturday night before taking part in the MAC Tournament. All six teams will play for the championship with the top two teams getting a bye to the semifinals.  

"We have one more game left against Bowling Green and then the conference tournament," Sanchez added. "I am looking forward to it."

Prior to the game Hull and three other SIUE seniors, Johan DePicker, Keegan McHugh and Greg Solawa were honored for their careers.

"Keegan and TC they have seen it all. From NCAA tournaments from the MVC to the MAC. They are everything that a student-athlete is. They are both going to graduate in December," Sanchez said of the two seniors.

"Johan decided to transfer here and he has had a huge impact on our program. He took a risk leaving the school he was at to come here and he has definitely left a mark here," he continued. "Greg was a National recruit who went to Ohio State and then he decided to come to us. He helped us win a conference championship and make an NCAA run. They are great ambassadors for SIUE and I couldn't more proud of them. We told them their season is not even close to being done. We expect to play into November."