THE local Division 1 derby game is the annual match between the SIUE Cougars and SLU Billikens womens programs. In it’s fourth year, the Billiken’s visited SIUE tonight in the Cougars home opener. As has been the case in the three games I’ve now covered, the visiting team walked away with the win.
The Billiken’s accomplished that by coming back from a first half deficit, tying the game in the 75th minute when Cristina Rodriguez sent Kirsten Clemen’s in with a thru ball and Clemen’s held off her defender before slotting her shot to the far post. A very composed run and finish.
SIUE had taken the lead in the 35th minute against the run of play. A long punt by Jennifer Pelley was headed on by Cassidy Sherman, sending Caroline Hoefert towards goal. A chip shot from outside the box bounced once on the way in and gave the Cougars the boost they needed after holding off an aggressive and fast Billiken squad. The momentum continued into the second half and was only broken by the SLU’s tying goal.
The first overtime almost came to an early end when Hoefert rose high to nod a corner kick towards goal. It rang off the cross bar and into play but was sent over the crossbar. The Cougars had another opportunity early in the second OT period by Tristin Stuteville, who came on at the start of the second half and played to the conclusion, slid out to snuff the attack.
The game-winner came as the Billiken’s counter-attacked, picking up a loose ball in their end. Tori Marshall, who partners with Danielle Tolmais as defensive midfielders, received a square ball from her partner and struck a low ball from 30+ yards out that found the back corner of the net. Celebration ensued.
I’ve got 300+ pictures to edit and some more thoughts on both teams and players to recognize. Come back tomorrow!
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