The Drake men's soccer team commences its 2012 campaign this weekend traveling to St. Louis, Mo., to compete in the Saint Louis Billiken Classic. The Bulldogs open tournament action versus Cincinnati on Friday (Aug. 24) at 4:00 p.m. before battling the host Billikens on Sunday (Aug. 26) at 3:00 p.m.
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS
Cincinnati (0-0) enters its 2012 campaign seeking to build upon a 6-11-1 mark a season ago. The Bearcats return their leading scorer from 2011 in sophomore Cole DeNormandie, who registered a team-best seven goals on 29 shots, including 15 shots on goal. Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hafling is the lone returning goalkeeper with game experience after making 20 saves in five contests for Cincinnati last season.
SCOUTING THE BILLIKENS
Saint Louis (0-0) returns nine starters this season from a squad that registered a 6-10-1 record in 2011. The Billikens welcome back their top-two leading scorers from a year ago in sophomores Robbie Kristo and Raymond Lee, who collected six and four goals, respectively. Junior goalkeeper Nick Shackelford also is among the returners after recording 75 saves and owning a 1.28 goals against average in 14 games last season.
BULLDOGS IN SEASON OPENERS
In their previous 26 season lidlfiters, the Bulldogs own a 13-11-2 ledger (.538), including 9-4-1 under head coach Sean Holmes. Drake will be eyeing its fifth-consecutive season-opening triumph when it battles Cincinnati on Friday (Aug. 24), a streak that includes registering a 1-0 road triumph at Michigan, who went on to reach the College Cup, in 2010.
The Bulldogs square off against Cincinnati for only the fifth time and first since 1990. Drake owns a 2-1-1 series advantage, including a 4-1 road triumph on Oct. 13, 1990.
Drake is meeting Saint Louis for the fifth time in program history with the Billikens owning a 3-1 series advantage. The Bulldogs claimed their first-ever victory over the 10-time NCAA champions with a 4-3 home win last season. In the last previous two encounters before 2011, Saint Louis garnered a goal in the final minute of double-overtime to register 1-0 victories.
Cincinnati: Hylton Dayes is in his 12th campaign at the helm of the Bearcats' program, registering a 92-89-30 (.507) mark. He owns a 189-174-49 record (.518) in his 23rd year as a head coach.
Saint Louis: Mike McGinty is in his third campaign directing the Billikens and owns a 15-17-4 (.472) record.
Drake: In his 15th year on the Drake sidelines as head coach is Sean Holmes, who owns a 122-118-27 mark (.507), including 200-144-29 (.575) overall, in his 19th year as a head coach.
DRAKE HEAD COACH SEAN HOLMES
Sean Holmes was named head men's soccer coach at Drake in 1998 and this season marks his 15th campaign directing the Bulldogs' fortunes.
During Holmes' 14-year tenure, the Bulldogs have posted a 122-118-27 record, building a legacy of excellence on Drake's campus and in the Missouri Valley Conference. In 19 years as a head coach, he has amassed a 200-144-29 overall record.
His 2011 squad turned in a strong campaign finishing with an 11-8-1 mark en route to a berth in the semifinals of the State Farm MVC Championship.
Led by seniors Matt Kuhn and Charles Schwartz, who were selected as first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selections, seven Drake student-athletes garnered All-MVC accolades. Seniors Hunter Kennedy and Thomas Ostrander, along with sophomore Garrett Crall, were tabbed second-team selections, while senior Jordan Kadlec was recognized as honorable mention. Capping a stellar campaign with All-Freshman team accolades was Kyle Whigham.
Kuhn, an MLS supplemental draft selection by DC United, was named to the Capital One Academic All-America first team, and joined Ostrander on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team. Kuhn was named to the second team, while Ostrander became only the third Bulldog to pull in honors more than once with his selection to the third team. He was a first-team honoree in 2010.
Kuhn, Ostrander and Schwartz also were chosen 2011 Continental Tires/National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Midwest Regional selections. Tabbed to the second team was Kuhn, while Ostrander and Schwartz were named to the third team. It marked the fourth consecutive season and 10th time in program history that the Bulldogs have garnered at least two players on the all-region squad.
Coming on the heels of the most successful season in school history in 2009, the 2010 edition of the Bulldogs featured a young core of players facing arguably Drake's most challenging schedule ever playing the likes of national powers Michigan, Indiana, Notre Dame, Saint Louis and UC Irvine.
Infused with 14 newcomers, the Bulldogs turned in a successful 8-8-2 record (4-2-1 MVC), including a 1-0 road victory over Michigan, who advanced to the College Cup, and 1-1 double-overtime tie with No. 12 UC Irvine.
Senior Nick Foster, who was named as a first team All-MVC men's soccer selection, led eight Drake student-athletes garnering All-MVC accolades. Ostrander and junior Michael Thaden were tabbed second-team selections, while Kadlec and Schwartz were recognized as honorable mention recipients.
Capping stellar freshman campaigns with All-Freshman team accolades were Crall, Max Duncan and Nick Marshall.
Additionally, Foster and Ostrander were both tabbed 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Performance Subaru All-Midwest Regional third-team selections.
The Bulldogs were equally successful off the field as Foster and Ostrander became the first-ever Bulldogs named to the first team NSCAA Men's College Scholar All-America Team. The duo became the ninth and 10th Drake players to garner NSCAA Academic All-America accolades, and the first two to be named to the first team.
Drake posted a school-record 16-7-2 mark in 2009, capped off by winning its first ever MVC Tournament championship while advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Drake earned its highest ranking in school history, being rated No. 8 in the final 2009 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top-25 National Poll. The Bulldogs also rated eighth in the final 2009 NCAA RPI tabulation.
The Bulldogs posted 2009 NCAA Tournament victories past Western Illinois (2-1), No. 13 ranked Ohio State (1-0, overtime) and Boston College (6-4) before falling at nationally ranked North Carolina (2-1).
Garrett Webb was a semifinalist for the 2009 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy that is the highest individual honor in college soccer. He also became the second Drake player to earn All-America status with his selection to the NSCAA and College Soccer News second and third team All-America squads, respectively.
A national-best three Bulldogs were named to the 2009 CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America teams led by senior Brian Wurst, who became the initial first team Academic All-American honoree in school history. Joining him on the second and third teams, respectively, were junior Matt Kuhn and senior Calvin Clark. Drake's three selections marked the most of any school in the country in the university division (Division I), besting Akron and South Carolina, who garnered two selections each.
Drake's progress also has been noticed at the next level with four players being drafted by the Major League Soccer. Matt Nickell and Kuhn were selected by the DC United in 2004 and 2012, respectively, while Corey Farabi and Chris Hamburger were both drafted by the Kansas City Wizards in 2005.
Holmes came to Drake after serving as the top assistant at conference-rival Evansville from 1995-98. During his tenure at Evansville, the Aces compiled a 47-30-6 record, winning the 1996 MVC championship. The team, which he helped build, garnered an NCAA Tournament berth and a top 20 ranking.
BULLDOGS DROP 2-0 EXHIBITION TO NEBRASKA OMAHA
A pair of second-half goals lifted Nebraska Omaha to a 2-0 victory over Drake in men's soccer exhibition action on Aug. 15 at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
The Bulldogs dominated the pace of play in the initial stanza as Drake's starters posted a 6-0 advantage in shots, although unable to crack the scoring column in a scoreless first half.
Drake head coach Sean Holmes inserted a number of players into the lineup to begin the final 45 minutes, many of whom were seeing their first collegiate soccer action.
The Mavericks broke the stalemate in the 53rd minute (52:16) when Vance Rookwood delivered a strike past freshman Darrin MacLeod (Waterloo, Ontario/Resurrection Catholic) off a corner kick sent in by Jesus Perez to give UNO a 1-0 advantage.
Just over two minutes later at the 54:35 mark, Logan Mendez capped the scoring striking the ball into the back of the net courtesy of an assist from Rookwood.
The Bulldogs managed only three shots in the final stanza to register a 9-8 advantage in shots.
Holmes was able to garner playing time for 26 players in the game, including 10 newcomers.
Mendez paced all players with a game-high three shots, while Drake received two shots apiece from senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley), junior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin), redshirt sophomore Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport) and sophomore Ross Payne (Overland Park, Kan./Pembroke Hill).
Collecting minutes in goal for the Bulldogs were MacLeod, redshirt junior Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) and sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Hustiger (White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake).
- Junior Garrett Crall (Norwalk, Iowa/Norwalk) was named a first-team selection on the College Sports Madness MVC Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team.
SENIOR CLASS ESTABLISHES VICTORY MARK
The Bulldogs' 2-0 win over SIU Edwardsville last season enabled Drake's senior class of Matt Kuhn, Jordan Kadlec, Hunter Kennedy, Michael Noonan, Thomas Ostrander, Matt Reindl and Charles Schwartz to surpass the Bulldogs' 2010 seniors for most wins by a class in program history with their 47th victory. The class finished with 48 career wins.
HOLMES WINS NO. 200
Drake head coach Sean Holmes collected his 200th career coaching victory on the strength of the Bulldogs' 3-0 triumph over Central Arkansas in the 2011 Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
The Bulldogs were nationally-ranked in several NCAA statistical categories last season. Drake rated 17th, 22nd, 33rd and 68th, respectively, in scoring offense (1.85), total goals (37), saves per game (4.9) and won-loss percentage (.575). Individually, Charles Schwartz was 21st nationally in total assists (8) and 32nd in assists (0.4) per game, Matt Kuhn was 24th in total goals (11), 31st in total points (26), 35th in goals per game (0.55) and 37th in points per contest (1.3), while Jordan Kadlec ranked 40th, 62nd and 72nd in saves per game (4.63), total saves (74) and save percentage (.779).
IN OUR LAST MEETINGS
Drake 4, Cincinnati 1 (Oct. 13, 1990)
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Drake received goals courtesy of Brett Bjorkman, Scott Graves, Ezra Hendrickson and Chuck Reid en route to posting a 4-1 road victory over the Bearcats.
Drake 4, Saint Louis 3 (Oct. 1, 2011)
DES MOINES, Iowa - Senior Matt Kuhn's goal in the 86th minute (85:31) helped Drake escape with a 4-3 men's soccer victory over Saint Louis (2-5-1) on Oct. 1, 2011 in the second annual Ralph Gross Classic at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
The Bulldogs registered a dominating 18-5 advantage in first-half shots.
A bicycle-kick goal from the middle of the box by Ostrander at the 53:21 mark stretched Drake's margin to 3-0. Earning the assist on the tally was Kennedy.
On the strength of outshooting the Bulldogs in the final 45 minutes, 15-7, the Billikens scored the first of three unanswered tallies in the 58th minute (57:29) when Mike Roach nailed a header off Chad Vandergriffe's corner to beat goalkeeper Jordan Kadlec cutting the deficit to 3-1.
William Hildago brought Saint Louis to within 3-2, delivering a goal off a serve from Roach at the 68:17 mark.
The Billikens evened the affair at three in the 81st minute (80:32) when Raymond Lee nailed his fourth goal of the season off another Roach assist.
It was then all the creativity and perseverance of Kuhn to give the Bulldogs what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 85:31 mark.
Drake was forced to play nearly the last three minutes of the game a man down after Noonan was issued his second yellow card of the game for dissent.
The Bulldogs outshot the Billikens in the tilt, 25-20, with Ostrander and Kuhn each recording a team-high five shots. Adding four shots apiece were Charles Schwartz, Noonan and Kennedy.
Kadlec pulled in three saves for Drake.
DRAKE WELCOMES BACK ALUMNI
Drake will hold its eighth annual alumni reunion in conjunction with the Bulldogs' clash against Evansville at the Cownie Soccer Complex on Oct. 27.
Drake head coach Sean Holmes and the current Bulldogs welcome back all of the proud alumni that have contributed to the growth and development of the Drake men's soccer tradition over the course of the program's 27 years.
ON THIS DATE IN BULLDOG HISTORY
Drake's game against Cincinnati marks the earliest regular season contest in program history and the first to be played on Aug. 24. The Bulldogs are also facing their initial game on Aug. 26 when Drake battles Saint Louis on Sunday.
MVC ANNOUNCES PRESEASON HONORS
The Missouri Valley Conference released its 2012 Preseason Men's Soccer Coaches' Poll on Aug. 14 and Drake was tabbed to finish fifth, while placing junior defender Garrett Crall on the preseason All-MVC squad.
Pegged ahead of the Bulldogs are SIU Edwardsville (27 points), Bradley (34 points), Missouri State (38 points and three first-place votes) and Creighton, who was selected as the preseason favorite to win the league crown with 46 points and four first-place tallies. Rounding out the poll were Evansville (18 points) and Central Arkansas (12 points).
Crall was among 13 players named by a vote of the seven MVC men's head soccer coaches to the All-MVC Preseason team.
Starting in all 19 games he appeared in for the Bulldogs as a sophomore, Crall collected eight shots from his defender's slot en route to earning second-team All-MVC accolades. He helped anchor a Drake defensive unit that registered three shutouts, all versus conference opponents.
Drake opens its home campaign entertaining Loyola and Marquette on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, respectively, at the Cownie Soccer Complex. The Bulldogs showdown with the Ramblers is slated to commence at 7:00 p.m., while the game with the Golden Eagles will start at approximately 2:00 p.m.