TULSA, Okla. - The SIUE men's soccer team continued its perfect start to the season with a 1-0 victory over SMU in the opening game of the Hurricane Classic Friday night.
"This win is a credit to our guys," Head Coach Kevin Kalish said. "They got a deserved win against a quality SMU team. It was a good game between two teams playing the game the right way."
Forward Christian Volesky, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week, scored the only goal of the game less than two minutes into the second half to lead the Cougars to their third victory in as many matches.
Goalkeeper John Berner made two saves en route to his second consecutive shutout, as SIUE begins the season with an unblemished 3-0-0 record for the second year in a row.
"Our guys have been good since the beginning," Kalish said. "Nobody stops, nobody wants to rest, and we continue to work very hard and show resiliency."
SMU (0-3-0) created several chances in the first half, but SIUE withstood the Mustangs' pressure to send the game into halftime with the score still at 0-0.
The Cougars responded almost instantly in the second half, however, as Volesky scored in the 47th minute for his fourth goal in three games.
The junior beat Mustangs goalkeeper Jaime Ibarra unassisted from close range, directing the ball home from a yard out to give the Cougars a 1-0 advantage.
The goal turned out to be all SIUE would need, as the Cougars controlled play throughout the second half in outshooting the Mustangs 5-2 and holding a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks over the final 45 minutes.
For the game, SIUE registered more shots on goal (3-2) and dominated the corner kick stat line (6-1).
"The players are showing they want it," Kalish added. "We have a strong culture within this team and everyone is contributing in different ways."
SIUE will be back in action Sunday when it takes on No. 22 Tulsa in the Cougars' second and final game of the weekend of the Hurricane Classic. The match is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
"We have another challenge ahead of us on Sunday against Tulsa," Kalish said. "We will go into the match with the same mentality we bring to each game. We believe in what we're doing, we believe in our approach and how we play, and we believe in each other as a team."