The Cale Wassermann Era Opens for the SIUE Cougars as they hosted the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Friday evening at Ralph Korte Stadium. In front of a lively crowd of over 2000 students enjoying their first week on campus, the Cougars finished in a 1-1 draw with Tulsa. The visitors scored first as Alenjandro Chavez (Broken Arrow) finished from the left side of the six yard box after being sent in by Koray Easterling. The goal came in the 17th minute after the Cougars had two chances denied in the 10th minute when Jorge Gonzalez (pictured above) saw his 28 yard direct kick ring off the top left corner of the woodwork. Sr. Captain Lachlan McLean then saw his headed rebound shot go just over the crossbar. His header from a corner minutes earlier suffered a similar fate as he worked very hard at the top of a 4-2-3-1.
PHOTO GALLERY Tulsa Golden Hurricane at SIUE Cougars
The Cougars tied the match in the 88th minute when Jr. defender Daniel Calvillo nailed a 21 yard direct kick just inside the left upright. His opportunity came as Gonzalez had just gone off in a late substitution and with the ball placed within the 22 yard circle and a 7 man wall facing him he finished.
Finishing was the biggest issue that the Cougars will examine this week after out-shooting Tulsa 15-9 with opportunities going to waste. That’s too be expected in preseason and in a situation where new Head Coach Cale Wasserman also made certain everyone had a chance to impress as 27 players appeared in the game.
Jr. Colin Hilpert (Rockwood Summit), who also wore a captains armband Friday, saw his header from a corner draw a remarkable save in the 25th minute. Hilpert only played in seven matches in 2018 so I’m guessing he’s made a big impression on Wasserman to earn the armband while starting at centerback. He was joined there by So. Jack Edwards (CBC) who started 17 games and played in 18 last year as a freshman, primarily at wingback as the team played a back three. The other local starter was Steven Bibas, on the left wing coming off his freshman campaign that included nine starts and 18 games played.
So. Eric Bauche (St. Dominic) did not make the game in an environment that sees the team fully loaded with four goalkeepers on the roster with a pair of upper classmen who have waited themselves after watching Kyle Dal Santos start 54 of the 60 games the last three seasons.
Fr. Jacob Bilyeu (Oakville) came in midway through the first half and I think showed enough to put himself into the mix for minutes this season. Bilyeu has blistering pace that he was able to show in Friday’s game that wasn’t always apparent in high school due to the different mix of players. His technical skills will also draw Wasserman’s attention. Having covered all three of the Bilyeu boys now (JJ at Missouri S&T when I began 15 years ago, Justin from Academy/CBC/SIUE/Swope) I think it’s safe to say Jacob has the opportunity to exceed his older brothers.
The boys are on the road for a trio of games including two in Michigan over the Labor Day weekend so mark your calendar for Friday September 6th for the next home game, followed the following week by the Bronze Boot game as the Saint Louis Billikens visit.
UPDATE check out the reply Head Coach Cale Wassermann offered on my tweet Saturday noting the captains armband Colin Hilpert
Well deserved. Big believer in leadership being a key factor in team success… honest, humble, vocal, accountable, and also has a personality to be one of the guys. @SIUEMensSoccer is in good hands with Colin and Lachlan McLean!
— Cale Wassermann (@CoachWassermann) August 18, 2019