Men’s soccer winless in last seven games

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The men’s soccer team added another tie to their record on Sept. 24 against VCU at Hermann Stadium in front of 5,439 fans at their annual homecoming game. SLU earned the early goal in the match, but VCU answered in the last 20 minutes of regulation to force the game into extra time. Despite a few quality chances, neither team could find the back of the net in the final 20 minutes of play. SLU appeared to have the upper hand in the beginning of the game. Freshman forward Saadiq Mohammed took the first shot on goal for the Billikens in the fifth minute, only to be denied by the Rams’ goalkeeper to keep the game tied. The Bills continued to press on offensively. SLU earned a corner, and freshman midfielder Constatin Heider curled the ball straight into the net, giving him his first goal of his SLU career. The two teams played each other quite closely in the first half, with VCU outshooting SLU, 5-4, and SLU edging out VCU on corner kicks, 5-4. In the second half, SLU saw a transformed VCU team, firing an astounding 12 shots on goal and earning 5 corners. Te Bills were able to ward off the Rams for a solid portion of the second half, but VCU found the back of the net on a set piece of their own by burying a free kick at the top of the box in the 73rd minute. Regulation ended in a 1-1 draw, and both teams headed into overtime, VCU having the momentum in their favor. The Rams dominated overtime, much like the second half of the game, with 6 shots to SLU’s 2. However, junior goalie Sascha Otte stayed solid throughout extra time, coming up with a big save at the end of the first overtime period. The Billikens moved to 1-3-3 on the year and 0-0-1 in Atlantic-10 Conference play. The men journeyed to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers on Sept. 27. SLU led the all-time series between the two teams, 3-1- 1. Last season, the Badgers defeated the Billikens in double overtime, 2-1. Contrary to the VCU game, the men gave up an early goal and were unable to recover from the deficit, dropping the match, 2-0. Free kicks were working against SLU once again, as Wisconsin buried a drive from just beyond the box to take a 1-0 lead. The Bills pressed hard offensively, earning three corner kicks, but were unable to convert any chances in front of the net. While SLU took five shots on goal, none made it on frame or tested the Badgers’ keeper. Otte kept Wisconsin at 1 goal with 3 big saves, hoping to give his team a chance to score in the second half. The men saw an optimistic second half. They delivered a strong corner, and junior defender Jair Hernandez just missed a quality chance at an equalizer. However, the Badgers took the wind out of the Billikens’ sails when a Wisconsin midfielder smashed a volley into the back of the net from a 73rd minute cross. SLU had a good 15 minutes to regroup and fight through the game. Junior forward Grant Owens finally gave the men their first shot on goal with a crack from the top of the box that ricocheted off the cross bar. The men dropped to 1-4- 3 on the season. However, the Billikens have played the third toughest schedule in the NCAA so far this season. Their first seven opponents have appeared in a national poll this season. Owens and sophomore forward Anthony Brown carry the team offensively with 3 points each. Otte is dominating between the posts, currently ranking 29th in the NCAA with 4.86 saves per game. Over his career, he has earned 20 shutouts, posting up at the fifth spot in the nation. Te Billikens now look on to consistent conference play, save one game against Indiana in late October. SLU was picked to finish first in the Atlantic-10 Conference coaches’ preseason poll for the fourth time in a row. SLU will travel to Philadelphia to play La Salle on Oct. 1. The squad’s goal is the A-10 Conference Championship in Davidson, N.C. on Nov. 10-13, where they want to successfully conclude their conference season.