EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE men's soccer made it 12 games without a defeat and took over sole possession of first place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 3-0 win over Incarnate Word Thursday at Korte Stadium.
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SIUE is now 9-0-3 overall and 4-0-1 in the OVC. The nine wins mark the most in a season under Head Coach Cale Wassermann, and the most since 2018.
UIW dropped to 5-5-3 and 3-1-1 in the league.
"It was a massive result against a very good team which challenged us," Wassermann said. "Our boys managed it well."
All three of SIUE's goals came after the two teams played a scoreless first half, with UIW outshooting SIUE 4-3.
"It was a quiet first half," Wassermann said. "It was a little bit of a feeling out period. Both teams played a little conservative. We were certainly a little more lively with energetic combinations; and were more aggressive in the attack in the second half and it paid off."
Jake Karolczak scored the first two goals of the game, putting the Cougars ahead in the 53rd minute with a shot from the near the top of the box. His second strike came in the 70th minute, when he blasted in near post over UIW goalkeeper Hugo Constant.
"He is an absolute player," Wassermann said. "His mind is a step ahead. He is very good at creating for others and he's been rewarded with some clinical finishes.
"The first goal put some pressure on the goalkeeper," Wassermann continued. "He did enough to squeak it in. The second he absolutely blasted that ball in the top corner. That certainly changed the game for us. It was a massive moment."
Andres Dealscio assisted on the first goal and Jacob Bilyeu picked up the assist on the second.
Pavel Dashin put the game out of reach with just over three minutes to play when he corralled a long pass from Bilyeu. Dashin pulled the ball back from his right to his left foot before tucking it in at the far post.
Shots were even 11-11 with SIUE putting eight shots on goal to UIW's five. Sam Gomez made five saves and he and the Cougars picked up their six shutout of the season, and the fourth in OVC play.
"We talk about being organized and doing the dirty work defensively," Wasserman said. "At the same time, how we attack is a big part of how we defend."
SIUE will have a short turnaround, playing host to Houston Christian Saturday in the Homecoming game at 7 p.m.
"It's a conference game and the adrenaline will push us through," Wassermann said.
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