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How Sweet It Is; Cougars Advance to Sweet 16

How Sweet It Is; Cougars Advance to Sweet 16

INDIANAPOLIS – SIUE men's soccer is Sweet 16 bound after bouncing No. 11 Butler 5-4 on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw in double overtime.

SIUE goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo denied Butler sophomore Marco Charalambous with a diving save to his right on the sixth round of penalties, setting off the celebration from the SIUE Cougars.

SIUE moves to 10-4-7 overall and will meet No. 2 Wake Forest Sunday in a 4 p.m. CT game at Spry Stadium.

"I could not be more proud of these guys," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "This is our fourth game in seven days. For everything they've been through throughout the season they're showing their resiliency."

Both teams had one shooter miss through the first five rounds of kicks, setting up a sudden-victory situation. Devyn Jambaga converted for SIUE, opening the door for Dal Santo's heroics. Keegan McHugh, Andrew Kendall-Moullin, Greg Solawa and Austin Ledbetter each made successful kicks in the shootout.

This is the first time SIUE has advanced past the second round since a national semifinal appearance at the Division II Tournament in 2005.

The Bulldogs outshot SIUE 22-5 for the game and 4-1 over two overtime periods. Dal Santo made five saves for SIUE. Ivan Gutierrez recorded the only shot on goal for SIUE, forcing BU goalkeeper Eric Dick to make just a single save.

"Butler played very well," Sanchez added. "I give so much credit to their staff and their players. We found a way to hold on and that's all part of it, but we didn't back down for one second. I am extremely proud of these guys."

The Cougars have played nine overtime games this season, equaling the school record set in 2014 when SIUE advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"It was an absolute team effort from start to finish," Sanchez said.

SIUE was well represented inside the Butler Bowl with a loud contingent of parents, fans, student-athletes and alumni.

"It's awesome, our fans," he said. Today they were, quite honestly, louder than the Butler fans which is amazing. It's an absolute privilege to represent this school and the alumni." 

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