EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE men's soccer secured its 24th NCAA Tournament berth Saturday after winning the inaugural Ohio Valley Conference Championship with a 1-0 win over Incarnate Word Saturday at Korte Stadium.

"It feels amazing," SIUE Head Coach Cale Wassermann said. "Incarnate Word pushed us to the final whistle, and it took a special goal to beat them."

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SIUE will enter the tournament unbeaten at 16-0-3. The Cougars will learn their opponent and destination Monday afternoon when the bracket is revealed at 12:00 central time.

After scoring twice in the semifinal match, Ignacio Abeal Pou scored the lone goal in the title game and earned Tournament Most Valuable Player honors for his efforts.

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Nacho blasted home the game winner from 21 yards away in the 27th minute. Stephan Moreira delivered the short pass across the top of the box after getting a pass back from Jake Karolczak.

SIUE has won nine straight games, the longest current winning streak in Division I.

Abeal was joined on the All-Tournament team by goalkeeper Sam Gomez, midfielder Sam Layton and defender Aaron Crabtree.

SIUE is making its 14th appearance in the Division I tournament, and its third since the most recent return to Division I in 2008. The Cougars last appearance, in 2016, resulted in a run to the Sweet 16 where SIUE lost to eventual national runner-up Wake Forest.

"This is the icing on the cake," Wassermann said. "First the regular season and now the tournament, but we're not done yet."

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