Goal(keeper)! SIUE star earns prestigious school award
The soccer season has just started, but one Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) player has already scored big.
SIUE goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo has earned the 2017 Jack Blake Award, the highest award an SIUE player can receive. Blake is one of the top players in SIUE history and played for the Cougars from 1969-1971, scoring 25 goals and racking up 15 assists. Blake represented the Pan-American soccer team in 1971 and the U.S. Olympic team in 1972.
At SIUE, Dal Santo, a senior from Bolingbrook, was named All-West Region third team and All-Missouri Valley Conference second team and had a save percentage of .838, the highest percentage in the MVC and ranked ninth in the NCAA. Dal Santo played every minute last year and recorded nine shutouts, bringing his total to 20, the second most in school history. He also finished the year with a 0.71 goals against average.
The majority of recipients of the Jack Blake award have been alumni whose playing careers are over. In a press release, SIUE head coach Mario Sanchez said that Dal Santo has been a key player and deserved the award.
“People are shocked that a current student would get it, but when you look at the criteria for the Jack Blake award, Kyle nailed it," Sanchez said in the release. "He is a great athlete. He is a game-changer. He excels in the classroom and excels in the community. What Jack Blake was all about was hard work and a team-first guy. Kyle is definitely that."
The Jake Blake Award was established in 1997 by Blake’s friend and former teammate Tim Tighe and Tighe’s wife, Lynn. Dal Santo is only the third goalkeeper to receive the award and the 19th overall recipient.
The Cougars' season got underway on Aug. 18 when they tied Northwestern, 1-1. SIUE then dropped games to Michigan State, Syracuse and Lipscomb.
SIUE claimed its first victory with a 2-0 win over Memphis. Dal Santo recorded his 21st career shutout and Lachlan McLean scored both goals. Dal Santo recorded six saves in the win.
At the time of publication, the Cougars were 4-6 on the season, including wins against Valparaiso, Princeton and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dal Santo recorded a shutout in all of SIUE's wins and now holds the record for most shutouts in school history. During the first 10 games of the season, SIUE has only lost one game by more than a single goal, and Dal Santo has a .722 save percentage, with 26 total saves..
The Cougars season will continue throughout the fall against several conference foes, including Akron, Northern Illinois and West Virginia. The Mid-American Conference Tournament will get underway on Nov. 10.
For more information about the team or to view SIUE’s upcoming schedule, visit www.siuecougars.com.