Western Illinois Edges Men?s Soccer, 1-0
BOONE, N.C. Western Illinois edged Georgia Southern, 1-0, Sunday afternoon, garnering the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center Appalachian Classic title.
The Eagles fall to 1-1 in the early season, while non-conference opponent WIU, seeking to defend their 2006 Summit League title, remains undefeated with a 2-0 record.
The Leathernecks fired six shots in the first half, but were unable to convert their shots to goals as GSU’s sophomore keeper Joey Ralph (Martinez, Ga.) made three stops.
Though the Eagles tallied three corner kicks in the first stanza, they struggled to threaten offensively, failing to get a shot off until the second half.
It wasn’t until the 48th minute that GSU fired its first shot on goal, which came by way of Austin Steele (Kennesaw, Ga.). Steele’s shot was stopped by WIU keeper Charlie Sales.
Steele tallied another shot in the 59th minute which was followed three minutes later by teammate Matt Crowell (St. Augustine, Fla.) who registered a shot on goal, but it was saved by Sales.
The game remained scoreless until Western Illinois snapped the drought in the 72nd minute. Leatherneck Luke Greenwell converted a pass inside the box from teammate Martin Browne, Jr. into a winner, giving WIU the 1-0 advantage.
Georgia Southern’s next best opportunity to score came in the 81st minute when David Leonard (Augusta, Ga.) unleashed a shot on goal, but Sales was there to make the third of three saves on the day and claim the victory.
Western Illinois held the advantage in the shots category, 9-6, but the Eagles had a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.
“I was overall pleased with the way we played,” said head coach Kevin Kennedy. “We were able to possess the ball and I felt that we played very good defensively. They capitalized on the opportunities, but the opportunities we had, we didn’t capitalize. It was a tough loss, but I was pleased overall with the way we played.”
With only two games down in the record books, second-year coach Kennedy sees the improvement in just a short amount of time.
“I think that although the results didn’t go our way, we are playing better,” added Kennedy. “I really thought we showed a lot of maturity and character. I was pleased with the effort.”
“I think Kim, Joey and Jon all had a great tournament. I think Joey had some great stops. Kim gave us composure and control in the back. Jon went 90 minutes in both games and his work rate at midfield was excellent.”
Georgia Southern will look to bounce back as the team next travels to Macon, Ga. to compete in the Mercer Invitational. There the Eagles will first battle Alabama A&M, Friday, Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. Two days later, the Eagles will face tournament host Mercer with the match kicking off at 5 p.m.
- Category: Men's Soccer
- Published on Sunday, 02 September 2007 00:22