Women’s soccer dominated SIUE in a contest at Hermann Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 11 by a score of 4-1. As it was the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the team decided to designate the game as “Salute to Service Day.” Members of the armed forces entered the stadium for free and were presented with soccer scarves at halftime in appreciation of their service to the country. Parks Guard also was in attendance and presented the nation’s colors during the national anthem.
The starters for the Billikens were junior goalkeeper Mary Niehaus; senior defender Kacey Bright, sophomore defender Carli Bond and sophomore defender Isabella Palazzolo, and freshman defender Alli Klug in the backfield; sophomore midfielder Maddie Pokorny, senior midfielder Shaney Sakamoto, senior midfielder Tori Marshall, and senior midfielder Cristina Rodriguez, and freshman midfielder Courtney Reimer at midfield; and sophomore forward Lindsay Sands up front. Junior midfielder Molly Ream and junior defender Lauren Merlo; senior forward Danielle Tolmais and senior forward Kirsten Clemens; and freshman midfielder Evie Lavelle, freshman defender Emma Farley, freshman defender Julia Peterson and freshman forward Alyssa Seitzer also saw playing time for the Billikens.
The Billikens got on the board within the first two minutes of play, with Sands scoring off of a pass from Palazzolo. The Billikens would score again in the 13th minute, with Sakamoto assisting Pokorny. Not long after, the Billikens scored a third time in the 18th minute. Seitzer scored off of a pass from Tolmais. Tolmais would score outright in the 33rd minute off of a pass from Palazzolo. SLU carried a 4-0 lead to halftime and maintained that lead for a large part of the second half until SIUE scored in the 74th minute. SIUE continued their attack for the rest of the second half, but the Billikens held on to win 4-1 over SIUE.
With this win, the Billikens are tied with the Fall 2000 team for the best sevengame start in team history. Sophomore Karley Kucera, a midfielder who is currently injured, attributes this success to hard work: “We have put in so much work since last spring season and it is so exciting seeing it all pay off.” Kucera also thinks the team is looking strong heading into conference play.
“Our team has an incredible bond and dynamic on and off the field which helps us enjoy being around each other so often and strengthens our chemistry on the field.” On the field, Kucera says the group plays as a team and “everyone has their own role for the team to make it all run smoothly and work efficiently.” Looking ahead, Kucera is excited to see what happens: “We’re excited to keep working even harder to keep our success going.”
The Billikens play next at Southern Methodist in Dallas with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday and return to Hermann Stadium on Sept. 20 to face Murray State. Kickoff at Hermann is set for 4:30 p.m., with the revealing of the new mascot and men’s soccer vs. Louisville to follow.
After an eight-day hiatus, the women will begin conference play against conference-rival Dayton. They travel to Ohio on Sept. 29 to face the Flyers, who were picked to win the conference this year.
Other conference match-ups include Rhode Island, Richmond, George Mason, Fordham, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, VCU and George Washington. The Bills will host five of their ten conference games at Hermann Stadium.