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November 05, 2003

Eagles start quest for a GLVC title and NCAA II Tournament berth

When the University of Southern Indiana menís soccer team resumes GLVC Tournament action Friday evening (November 7), it will be in search of two things Ė a GLVC championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The semifinals and championship matches are hosted by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The third-seeded Screaming Eagles, who are 10-6-1 overall this fall, advanced to the GLVC semifinals with a 2-1 victory over Bellarmine University last Sunday. The win marked the second straight season that USI has reached double digits in wins, something they had not done since 1991 and 1992.

A GLVC championship would be the 10th since 1979 and the first since 1991 for the Eagles. USIís nine conference championships are the most by any GLVC school, followed by Lewis University with six.

The league title also could mean a trip to the NCAA Division II Central Regional. The Eagles, who are 9-4-1 and ranked fourth in the region, are percentage points behind Rockhurst University, who is currently in the third and final tournament slot. USI tied Rockhurst earlier this year at Strassweg Field, 1-1.

Leading the way for the Eagles is senior midfielders Duncan Bray (Scotland) and Matt Settles (Evansville, Indiana). Bray, who scored the game-winner in the tournament win over Bellarmine, is first on the team with 19 points on six goals and seven assists.

Settles, who leads USI with five game-winning goals in 2003, is two points behind Bray with 17 points, tying Bray with six goals and following him with five assists.

Between the posts is the ever-improving sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Penick (Evansville, IN). Penick, who started the fall 0-3-0, has posted a 9-3-1 record and a 1.03 goals against average in his last 13 starts. He also has five shutouts in the 13-match stretch.

USIís opponent in the semifinals is Lewis University. The Eagles defeated the Flyers, 1-0, at Strassweg Field during the regular season and leads the all-time series 16-12-0. USI defeated the Flyers in the GLVC semifinals last year on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 double overtime tie.

Lewis is led by freshman forward Cathal Brady, who is tied for sixth in the GLVC with 25 points on 10 goals and five assists. In addition to Brady, the Flyers have three other players in double digit scoring. Sophomore midfielder/forward Tito Lara follows Brady with 16 points on six goals and four assists, while sophomore midfielder Gabe Leon has 15 points on six goals and three assists.

Junior goalkeeper Jordan Gustman leads the way between the posts with a 0.84 GAA and five shutouts in 17 matches.

If the Eagles are victorious over Lewis, USI will play the winner of the match between top-seeded SIUE and fifth-seeded Quincy University in the championship match Sunday, November 9, at SIUE.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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