SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The SIUE men's soccer team got its 2013 regular season off to a winning start Friday night, defeating Santa Clara 2-1 in extra time at Buck Shaw Stadium.
"Overall, this was a good experience for our team," Head Coach Kevin Kalish said following the match. "To get a result this early in the season against a quality Santa Clara team is a positive that we can take away."
Junior Christian Volesky headed home the game winner with six minutes remaining in the second period of extra time to give the Cougars the victory, marking the third consecutive season in which SIUE has won its season-opening game on the road.
Sophomore Justin Bilyeu scored the Cougars' first goal early in the match with a curling free kick from just outside the penalty area.
The Cougars, now 1-0, outshot the Broncos 21-7 in a physical match that featured six yellow cards and one red. SIUE dominated for long stretches of the match and enjoyed much of the possession throughout.
SIUE got off to a fast start when Bilyeu put the visitors on the board with a perfectly-placed direct kick, bending a shot from 20 yards around the Santa Clara wall to beat Broncos goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh at the near post. The goal was Bilyeu's first in a Cougar uniform.
After the teams went into halftime with the score still at 1-0, the action picked up quickly in the second half when Santa Clara's Jared Hegardt was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on SIUE's Gabe Christianson.
The Broncos didn't let up after being reduced to 10 men, however, as SCU's Carlos Montes latched onto a long ball and scored just two minutes later to level the score at 1-1.
"I thought our first half performance was quite good, and there were long stretches where we felt that we should've gotten more from the game," Kalish said. "I was disappointed in the way we started the second half, but we had a positive response from that point forward."
SIUE used its man-advantage to wear down the Broncos as the game progressed. The Cougars created several quality scoring chances late in the second half, but the match was forced to go to sudden death extra time.
After a scoreless first overtime period, Volesky scored his first goal of the season to give SIUE the win in the 103rd minute. Freshman Andrew Kendall-Moullin whipped in a cross from the right and Volesky, the team's leading scorer in 2012, rose highest to provide the game-winner.
"There were moments in the game where it was chippy and there wasn't a lot of flow," Kalish added. "But we had a number of chances to win late in the match and Christian's finish was quality."
The Cougars will now prepare for the second and final game of their season-opening trip to California, as SIUE takes on San Jose State Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.
"We now have another difficult game coming up against San Jose State," Kalish said. "We're going to put this game behind us and turn our attention to Sunday."