MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Concluding a stretch in which the Drake men's soccer team played eight of its first 10 games away from home, the Bulldogs suffered a 5-0 setback at Memphis on Saturday (Sept. 22).
"Tonight concluded one of the most arduous months in recent Drake men's soccer history," Bulldog head coach Sean Holmes commented. "I think to some degree I miscalculated our preparedness to compete at this level as the opponents we've played with two home games and eight away was clearly a stretch for us. With an injury or two mixed in, we've had to rely on a lot of young players and as such we've come up short."
The Tiger staked themselves to an early 1-0 advantage on a goal by Wil Linder at the 6:59 mark.
Memphis extended its margin to 2-0 on the strength of a 15th-minute (14:50) tally by Lewis Ellis.
"Remarkably, before we gave up the early two goals, we had several opportunities to take the lead, but sometimes the confidence of a young team is a fragile thing," said Holmes.
The Tigers tacked on three second-half goals to account for the 5-0 final.
"Memphis was a good team and we made them look even better this evening," Holmes explained.
Memphis outshot the Bulldogs in the affair, 19-8, led by four players recording three shots apiece. Drake was paced by two-shot performances from juniors Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) and Bryan Jantsch (Mission Hills, Kan./Rockhurst).
"Despite the drubbing we received this evening, there were still some real bright moments," Holmes expounded. "The challenge for our team is to see which of our upperclassmen can step to the forefront and lead our team forward into conference play. I still believe in my heart that we can be competitive, but it is going to require some real resolve, some clear focus and maybe even a little bit of luck."
Redshirt junior Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) pulled in two saves for the Bulldogs, while Conor Hurley and Cody Uzcategui each collected two stops for Memphis.
"Monday night we'll get back to basics and point our team in the right direction," Holmes stated. "Conference play begins next week with everyone at 0-0 and that is just the plain truth about it. Getting everyone healthy and concentrated on the task ahead is our primary goal."
Holmes also expressed praise for a number of members of his squad for their play.
"I though that Alec (Bartlett), Austin (Reutzel) and Jon (Choda) had strong performances in the back tonight."
Drake opens Missouri Valley Conference action hosting No. 7 Creighton next Saturday (Sept. 29) in a 7:00 p.m. affair at the Cownie Soccer Complex.