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October 07, 2003

USI menís soccer moves to 21st nationally
Eagles prepare for showdown with #3 Truman State

The University of Southern Indiana menís soccer team moved up a notch in this weekís NSCAA Division II Top 25 to 21st nationally. This is the first time USI has been ranked nationally in back-to-back weeks since 1995.

The Screaming Eagles, who enter this weekís action at 7-3-0 overall, will face one of their biggest test of the season Friday, October 10, when #3-ranked Truman State University comes to Strassweg Field for a 5 p.m. match.

In addition to Fridayís game being a match-up of two nationally ranked teams, it will feature two of the top three teams in the Central Region. Truman State enters the week with a perfect 10-0-0 overall record and is ranked first in the region, while USI is ranked third for the second straight week.

The Eagles are led on the field by a pair of senior midfielders in Duncan Bray (Scotland) and Matt Settles (Evansville, Indiana), who combined for the game-winning offense last weekend. Settles scored the game-winning goal against Bellarmine University last Friday and was assisted by Bray, while Bray scored the overtime game-winner against Northern Kentucky University Sunday off a pass from Settles.

For the season, the pair has 13 points each on four goals and five assists. Settles, who recently moved from forward to the midfield, leads the squad with three game-winning goals.

Along with offensive surges from Bray and Settles, the Eagles have benefited from a strong defense. Leading the USI defense is sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Penick (Evansville, Indiana), who now has a 6-3-0 overall record after starting the year 0-3-0.

During the six-match winning streak, Penick has a 0.64 goals against average in 561 minutes between the posts to go with three shutouts. Penick also has lowered his GAA from 2.94 in his first three games to 1.40 in 2003.

Truman State has been a road warrior team in 2003. The Bulldogs are an impressive 7-0-0 on the road this year (6-0-0 on the road, 1-0-0 at a neutral site), while just 3-0-0 at home.

Truman State is led offensively by sophomore midfielder Martin Clayes, who has a team-best 15 points on six goals and three assists. He is followed by sophomore forward Sean Birrell, who has 11 points on four goals and three assists.

Between the posts, Truman boasts Division IIís fourth leading goalkeeper in Nate Gibson. Gibson has seven shutouts and a 0.33 GAA in 820 minutes in goal.

Truman State leads the all-time series with USI, 7-4-1 winning the last four meetings with USI. The last time the Eagles defeated the Bulldogs was in 1991 at Strassweg Field when Truman State was still Northeast Missouri State University.

USI will finish this weekís action back in the GLVC when it travels to Kentucky Wesleyan College Sunday, October 12, for a 2:30 p.m. match. KWC, which hosts the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Friday, starts the week 1-8-1 overall and 0-4-1 in the GLVC.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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