10 p.m., Sept. 22: Kentucky had just shut out UE’s men’s soccer team, the third loss in a row for a bunch that started 4-0.
The UE women, at the time 1-6-2, were due to face top Missouri Valley Conference preseason pick Illinois State the next day.
Things really weren’t going well.
10 p.m., Oct. 17: Things have changed.
The UE men are 4-2 since the Kentucky loss, and the women went on to beat Illinois State 4-1. They’re 3-1-3 in their last seven matches.
Both squads won Wednesday in a soccer doubleheader at Arad McCutchan Stadium, elevating the programs’ status as MVC championship contenders. The UE men are third in the Valley standings, a game behind Bradley, and the women are tied for second with Missouri State.
Evansville hasn’t won a Valley title since the women’s basketball team took its conference tournament in 2009 with a sub-.500 record. The Aces’ soccer squads are in the mix as their seasons wind down.
Mike Jacobs’ men’s team has four matches left before the MVC Tournament starts Nov. 7.
“We talk to our guys all the time about Missouri Valley Conference games,” Jacobs said after the Aces’ 1-0, rain-shortened win over Southern Illinois Edwardsville. ”You have to have a certain amount of mental toughness. You have to have a certain level of resolve. You need to be composed.”
Krista McKendree’s women’s squad finishes its season Saturday at Creighton. Drake controls its destiny in terms of a regular-season championship, but UE stands a chance if the Bulldogs stumble in their last two matches.
“We talk about it a little bit just because I don’t want their first sense of pressure to be in the tournament,” said women’s coach Krista McKendree after the Aces’ 3-0 win over Indiana State. “We’re not going to focus on it, but we will talk about how they’ve put themselves in a very good position to finish anywhere from possibly first to who knows.”