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August 24, 2004

USI menís soccer opens at home this weekend

The University of Southern Indiana menís soccer team opens the 2004 regular season this weekend when its hosts a pair of NAIA foes at Strassweg Field. The Screaming Eagles play Harris Stowe State College Friday at 7 p.m. and Columbia College Sunday at 2 p.m.

USI enters its fifth season under the direction of Head Coach Dan Hogan, who has led the Eagles to two straight GLVC Tournament appearances for the first time since 1990 and 1991. Hoganís squad is an impressive 15-5-0 in the GLVC the last two years and has garnered respect around the Central Region with an overall record of 23-15-1 since 2002.

The Eagles enter the 2004 season led by their defense. In the last two seasons, the defense has improved to the point of lowering its goals against average (GAA) nearly one goal per game compared to the previous five years.

The defense starts between the posts with junior goalkeeper Kyle Penick (Evansville, Indiana). Penick the 2002 GLVC Freshman of the Year, had a rough start to 2003, but finished as one of the top goalkeepers in the GLVC with a 1.41 GAA and five shutouts.

Sophomore sweeper Brian Shepherd (St. Louis, Missouri) and junior outside back Billy Moore (Newburgh, Indiana) spearhead the wall in front of Penick. Shepherd was a finalist for the 2003 GLVC Freshman of the Year award, while Moore was solid defensively before missing the final 10 matches last fall with an injury.

Testing this USI defense will be Harris Stowe and Columbia.

Harris Stowe was 2-14-0, 1-6-0 in the American Midwest Conference, in 2003. USI leads the series with the Hornets, 4-0-0, and won the last meeting in 1986, 5-0, at Strassweg Field.

Columbia, which will start the 2004 season at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Friday, completed 2003 with a 15-7-0 record and was ranked 16th nationally in the NAIA. The Cougars are led by senior forward Juan Pablo Irrera, who had 43 points on 17 goals and nine assists, and senior goalkeeper Steve Williams, who had a 1.35 GAA and 6.5 shutouts last fall.

Sundayís USI-Columbia contest will be the first meeting between the two schools. The USI-Columbia game also will be the first match-up between the two schools since Hogan became the head coach for the Eagles. Hogan led the Cougars for nine seasons and to a 122-60-8 record (.653) before making the move to USI.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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