EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's soccer improved to 4-0 and opened the Mid-American Conference season with a big win Sunday, besting Western Michigan 2-1 at Korte Stadium.
"With 10 games in conference play and no conference tournament, it's real important to get off to a good start," said SIUE Head Coach Cale Wassermann.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard early when Jacob Bilyeu, fresh into the game after an early SIUE injury, found an open net from five yards out at 7:54 on a pass from within the box from Kelby Phillips.
Phillips once again provided the assist on the eventual winning goal. This time Oskar Lenz hit the back of the net for his third goal of the season at 29:03.
"Both goals were well taken," said Wassermann. "I was happy with the way we started."
Western Michigan, now 1-1, outshot SIUE 8-3 in the first half and 13-6 overall. The Broncos played aggressively in the offensive third .
"The lead did two things," said Wassermann. "It made us a little more conservative and them a little more aggressive. They pushed us back all second half, but I was proud of the way our guys battled especially Kelby Phillips and Jake Meier in the back line. They were phenomenal."
The Broncos got on the scoreboard when Daniel Nimick scored off a free kick from 18 yards out and just outside the box.
"I know them well from my time in Michigan and I respect the program and the coaches a lot," said Wasserman. "We knew what to expect. They are a physical and a direct team. They're very effective."
Next up for the Cougars is the first road MAC contest. Next Sunday, SIUE travels to Bowling Green for a 1 p.m. contest.