Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slu-Indiana Rivalry Extends to Series-Record Dispute

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slu-Indiana Rivalry Extends to Series-Record Dispute

Article excerpt

Ever since the Bronze Boot game against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville began losing its kick more than a dozen years ago, Indiana has replaced the Cougars as St. Louis University's Arch-rival.

The Bills and Hoosiers annually are among the top-ranked teams in the country, and their Midwestern proximity makes for some fierce confrontations - on the field and in the recruiting wars.

They renew their "acquaintance" Sunday in Bloomington, Ind., and nothing has changed. Indiana (2-1-1) is ranked ninth, and SLU (4-1) is 11th. The Bills start eight players from St. Louis and the Hoosiers three.

"This game is one of the classics in the heartland of our country," Indiana coach Jerry Yeagley said. "Both teams are ranked, have strong traditions and impressive records. It's for the bragging rights."

Bragging rights are important in this emotional series. The schools are so competitive that they contest everything, including the series record. SLU insists that it's tied 14-14-4; Indiana maintains that it leads 14-6-3, but that's only counting the matches since 1973, when the Hoosiers gained NCAA Division I status.

Undisputed is the fact that Indiana has dominated recently, going 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings. The Hoosiers have been almost as dominant in head-to-head recruiting. They've pilferred several prize recruits from under the Bills' nose in the past five years. Former high school All-Americans Jeff Bannister of St. Louis U. High and Harry Weiss and Chris Klein, both of DeSmet, will start Sunday for Indiana.

But SLU reversed that trend last spring by mopping up locally. The Bills signed Mark Filla, Pat and Mike Moriarty, and Jeff Roseman in a banner haul. Part of SLU's recruiting success was attributed to the decision to switch home games this season to the natural grass of St. Louis Soccer Park. Ironically, Yeagley had campaigned for the Bills to abandon the artificial turf of SLU's campus facility.

Yeagley started his program more than 25 years ago with St. Louis recruits. He says the city is still an important recruiting base for the Hoosiers.

"That highway (between Bloomington and St. Louis) has been busy with recruits and parents for many years," he said. "St. Louis has provided us with a number of good players."

For that reason, Bills coach Joe Clarke probably would rather lose to almost any other team on his schedule. Two years ago in Bloomington, after a 3-0 loss to the Hoosiers, Clarke stood fuming and red-faced in his locker room long after the game. He vowed there'd be a different result if the teams met again in the postseason.

Unfortunately for area soccer fans, that rematch wasn't in the cards.

Players Of The Week: MIAA - Todd Rick of UMSL (three goals, two game-winners), Heart of America - Webster Groves' Phil Cotta of Culver-Stockton (three goals, two assists), St. …

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