(All photos by Scott Kane)
EDWARDSVILLE - A valiant comeback effort wasn't enough for the Cougars, as No. 3 seed SIUE men's soccer dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 6 seed Bradley in Tuesday night's Missouri Valley Conference Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinal.

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"I think it was a little back and forth," said SIUE Head Coach Cale Wassermann following the match. "Bradley did what we expected them to do - they were very direct and very aggressive. No surprises but credit to them, they put two goals in and we didn't. It doesn't take away from our effort and workrate - the guys put themselves out there and fought to the final whistle. I thought we had a chance at the end that didn't go our way and we have to learn to live with those big moments."

The Cougars and Braves battled back and forth for the opening 45 minutes, mustering just seven shots between them. The second half was a different story altogether, which saw 16 combined shots, four corner kicks, and six yellow cards. It also saw the match's three goals: first from the visitors, as Bradley's Danny Collins found the ball at his feet following a flurry of Braves shots and netted his second goal of the season in the 54th minute to give the visitors the 1-0 lead. However, the lead would be short-lived, as Harvey Moyes would net his first of the season just two minutes later to level the scoreline at one goal apiece. It would be the Braves who would net the final goal of the match, as the Bradley striker took a deflection and a cross into the box to put the visiting Braves up for good.

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Tor Erik Larsen stood tall in the net for the full 90 minutes, making four saves on the night including three in the second half. Vincent Jackson II and Pau Palacin led the Cougars with two shots each, followed by Moyes, Andres Delascio, Alex Pontoni, and Kelby Phillips who each added one shot to the Cougars' total of eight.

The Cougars end their season at 6-10-2 overall and 4-6-0 in their first season of Missouri Valley Conference play.

"I've been here for two-and-a-half years now, and there are guys in this program who have been here for five," added Wassermann. "They [the SIUE seniors] have put in a tremendous effort not just in their three, four, or five years here, but the time and energy that they've put into this game and developing as humans over the years. This is a special group and I'm very sad for them to see it come to an end like that but at the same time, I'm excited to see where they end up and their futures - we have some really mature, good people in the program and I'm excited to see where they end up."

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