EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE men’s soccer remained undefeated, downing Western Illinois 1-0 Sunday at Korte Stadium.
The Cougars improved to 3-0. Western Illinois fell to 0-3-1.
“A clean sheet and a one goal,” SIUE coach Cale Wassermann said. “We’ll take it any day of the week.”
The lone goal came in the 77th minute when Jacob Bilyeu struck for his first of the year. Oskar Lens made a run down the right side, while Bilyeu overlapped and ran towards goal. Lenz slid a hard cross into the box, where Bilyeu redirected to the back post to break the scoreless deadlock.
“Oskar has been phenomenal creating chances for us,” Wassermann said. “Even before the goal. He’s always a half-second away from creating something. It was a great run from Bilyeu and obviously a good finish.”
After a scoreless first half where the team’s combined for six shots, the second half opened up and each team took seven shots.
“We actually started being more patient in the second half and our chances got better,” Wassermann said. “We just started attacking wide areas a little more which is where we found success.”
Redshirt-sophomore Lluís Martorell started in goal, making five saves for his fifth career shutout. The game started 15 minutes late because of a weather delay and was delayed again immediately after kickoff.
“We’ve talked to the guys and they know, we’re going to have surprises with weather, covid, injuries, travel and whatever,” Wassermann said. “Our guys have kind of embraced that and stayed ready. I don’t think it affected either team a ton. Our facilities staff and athletic training crew did a great job of communicating the time and getting the field cleared.”
The Cougars will next open Mid-American Conference play against Western Michigan.
“Western Illinois is a good team,” Wassermann said. “They provided some good challenges for us with their front three. We’ll see some of that from Western Michigan. They have an athletic front group that we’ll have to deal with and account for.”
SIUE will welcome the Broncs for a 1 p.m. Sunday kickoff at Korte Stadium.
“Going into conference play 3-0, only conceding one goal and knowing that we haven’t hit our peak…we’re still learning from each of these games,” Wassermann continued. “It is a good confidence booster to know we can close games out even when we’re not at our best. It is going to ramp a notch next week and we’re excited for it.”