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Saint Louis has a bounce to its step
by Paul Kennedy, November 19th, 2009 8:45AM



[NCAA DIVISION I MEN] Making the NCAA Tournament doesn't get old, even at Saint Louis, which leads all programs with 46 postseason appearances. The Billikens have a first-round date with Missouri State, and Coach Dan Donigan reports that his players have a bounce to their step.

Saint Louis earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by claiming their first Atlantic 10 championship with a 2-0 victory against Dayton on Sunday. The Billikens opened the season at 4-4-0 but they've won seven of their last eight games.

"We have had a number of obstacles throughout the regular season that we have had to overcome -- from injuries, to guys changing positions, etc," Donigan said after the Dayton game. "It was a crazy year where we never really had a set lineup game to game. We've taken some tough losses and had a few decent wins, but this weekend we had two great victories to solidify our position as one of the better teams around."

Sophomore transfer Mike Roach had two goals at the A-10 Tournament to give him 10 for the season and earn MVP honors. Senior keeper Ross Kaufman has allowed only eight goals in the last 12 games.

"It's going to be a great challenge," Donigan said of Thursday's NCAA opener. "You can throw out the fact that we beat Missouri State in the exhibition season because neither team will be the same when we step on the field Thursday. Hopefully we come out and play the way we are capable of playing. The guys have a bounce to their step, and rightfully so. We are ready to get going on Thursday."

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