ROCHESTER, Mich. – SIUE men's soccer scored its first win of the season Sunday, shutting out defending Horizon League champion Oakland 1-0 at Oakland Soccer Field.
SIUE improved to 1-1 for the season, while Oakland dropped to 1-1.
"It was good to see the 'real team' show up, go out, compete and do the little things that we have been focusing on," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said of his team. "We played within ourselves."
After a scoreless first half, in which the Cougars outshot the Golden Grizzlies 7-2, Oakland appeared revitalized and controlled much of the possession to start the half. The Golden Grizzlies had four shots compared to just one from SIUE over the first 15 minutes of the second period.
"One of the strengths of our team is it is a family," Sanchez said. "They believe in each other, fight for each other and work for each other. We got rattled a little Friday. We learned from that. Today we had more composure and more team togetherness."
Senior Jabari Danzy netted the game-winner for the Cougars in the 64th minute. Mohamed Awad lofted a perfect pass from midfield into the penalty area and Danzy leapt high over a defender to get a head on the pass from just outside the six-yard box.
Danzy's shot was over Golden Grizzlies' goalkeeper Wes Mink for the only goal of the game. The Cougar senior now has both goals this season for the SIUE.
"He is such a handful," Sanchez said of Danzy. "He's dangerous everywhere, whether it's in the air or just with his pure speed."
The assist was the first points of the season for Awad, a sophomore who transferred to SIUE from St. John's.
"We need more of that from Mohamed," Sanchez said. "That's why he is here -to make a difference."
For the game SIUE outshot Oakland 11-10. The Golden Grizzlies managed eight second half shots . SIUE goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo, who earned the second shutout of his career, was forced to make only two saves, but came up big for the Cougars in the 59th minute.
Oakland's Austin Ricci took a pass over the top and was free on a breakaway. Dal Santo came quickly off his line and made a sliding stop near the top of the box, denying Ricci the scoring chance and keeping the game scoreless at the time.
"Seems like every game you need one big save from your keeper," Sanchez said. "We got that today from Kyle."
The Cougars begin the home season Friday with a 7 p.m. game against UMKC at Korte Stadium.