EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With field temperatures around 104 degrees and the game split into quarters, the Green Bay (1-0) men's soccer team kicked off regular season play with a 1-0 victory over SIUE (1-1) Thursday at Korte Stadium in Edwardsville, Ill. The win was the first as a head coach for Kris Kelderman who was hired in May to lead the Phoenix.
"I have a lot of fun and fond memories throughout my career and this is just one of them," said Kelderman. "It was a great start for us to get the result we did."
After a quiet first half with one corner kick and a combined nine shots fired, Green Bay scored its first goal of the season with 16:28 to play in the game when senior Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) found classmate Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) in the back of the box off a corner kick for the 1-0 lead.
"We were playing on the road against a very good team knowing they had a quality game under their belt," Kelderman said. "It was a great effort by our guys in fighting the weather and being patient."
SIUE battled back, attacking the Phoenix offensively late in the contest, but junior Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) came up with huge saves for Green Bay to earn the shutout.
"He has to play well for us to have success and he did just that," Kelderman said of Wehking's performance.
Wehking finished with five saves on the night while SIUE outshot the Phoenix 9-7. Walls led Green Bay with two shots on the night.
The Phoenix knew the battle against SIUE in its home opener would not be easy as the Cougars entered the contest coming off a 3-1 upset victory over No. 29 Tulsa in its regular season opener Aug. 27.
"The first half wasn't the most exciting," Kelderman said. "I'm proud of the guys for sticking to the game plan, it was a great start for us."
Green Bay will continue its challenging opening road trip with a stop at undefeated Bradley (3-0) Saturday at 7 p.m.