Playing in its first home game in 15 days, the SIUE men’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of UIC Saturday night at Korte Stadium.
“Our margin for error at the moment is very slim,” Head Coach Kevin Kalish said. “We are going through a rough stretch where our confidence isn’t 100 percent.”
The Flames (6-2-0) scored the only goal of the match four minutes into the first half, when Bob Novak scored from 20 yards off an assist from Jorge Alvarez.
“The difference between winning and losing often comes down to belief,” Kalish said. “We have been a bit unlucky and lack that killer instinct in the final third. With that said, I believe we are one result or a timely goal away from getting things back on the right track.”
The Cougars (4-5-0) dictated the flow of the game and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession throughout the match. SIUE outshot UIC by a 12-3 margin and forced eight corner kicks while only giving away one.
“I believe our character is being tested at the moment,” Kalish added. “Ultimately, this will be something we look back upon and say that it made us stronger as a group.”
Five players had two shots or more for the Cougars, who created a number of golden scoring chances after UIC’s opener.
One of the best chances came midway through the second half, when Christian Volesky’s close range header forced a quick reaction save from Flames goalkeeper Andrew Putna.
Saturday’s match was the Cougars’ final non-conference game before the team’s Missouri Valley Conference opener.
SIUE opens its MVC slate with a home matchup against Central Arkansas next Saturday at Korte Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“Our non-conference schedule was built to test and see what areas we need to improve prior to Missouri Valley Conference play,” Kalish said. “We have yet to play our best soccer and similar to years past, we will peak at the right time as we enter the major portion of the season.”