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Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Notebook: Saint Louis Billikens off to hottest start among A-10 teams

(Wilson Delgado / Wikipedia)

Saint Louis off to a hot start

With an 8-0-1 record to start the season, the Saint Louis women’s soccer team is off to a hot start in non-conference play. Averaging the most shots per game of any Atlantic 10 team thus far at 17, the team has shut out six of its nine opponents. The Billikens also sit atop the points, goals per game and assists per game leaderboards.

SLU senior goalkeeper Mary Niehaus currently leads all goalkeepers in the A-10 in goals against average. Playing over 800 minutes on the season, Niehaus leads the way with a 0.45 goals against average (GAA) and is third in the conference with a 0.862 save percentage; only University of Rhode Island keeper Olivia Sjodin and Duquesne’s Kyra Murphy have higher percentages.

Along with a solid defense, the Billikens have two players ranked in the top 10 for shots, forward Alyssa Seitzer and forward/midfielder Maddie Pokorny. Seitzer and Pokorny are also ranked one and two, respectively, on the points leaderboard. Seitzer has assisted on six goals in nine games, while Pokorny has scored five goals in nine games. With an offense backed by these two producers, SLU was able to start the season on a positive note, one that it hopes to follow as the season progresses.

The Billikens’ first game against an A-10 team comes on Sept. 21 against second-to-last-ranked St. Bonaventure (0-8-1), and all of SLU’s future games are conference outings before the playoffs begin after the team’s season closer on Oct. 22 against Fordham.

Last regular season, the Billikens went 14-4-2 but were shut out 3-0 by Dayton in the first round of the A-10 conference tournament, causing SLU to end its season unexpectedly early. With the way their season has been going so far, the Billikens look like they may have a shot to make a run in this year’s conference tournament.

Duquesne and La Salle square off

On Sept. 21, Duquesne (4-2-2) visits La Salle (5-3-1) in what will be an interesting match to open conference play. Currently, one player from each team, forward Linnea Faccenda from the Dukes and forward Kristin Haugstad from La Salle, has 23 shots on the season; Duquesne’s Faccenda holds the edge on shots per game because her team has played one less game than the Explorers have. Both teams have players high up on the points, goals and assists leaderboards.

The last time the two teams played each other was in the season closer of the 2016 season. In double overtime, the Dukes (10-5-3) were able to win 2-1 after forward Cydney Staton scored the game-winning goal, which was her second of the game. Duquesne was bounced in the first round of last year’s tournament, while La Salle missed out on the festivities altogether.

Liz Weeks can be reached at eweeks@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @lizweeks20.

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