Golden Goal Lifts Bradley Past Drake In Overtime, 3-2
The setback was the first for the Bulldogs in Missouri Valley Conference play this season.
"Tonight was a magnificently played game on arguably one of the best fields in NCAA Division I soccer on a horribly rainy night that saw two teams battled in a deluge that lasted for the majority of the game," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. "I thought we were the better team for most of the first half and then we endured a 35-minute halftime, because of the weather, and Bradley was the better team to start the second half as we came out flat. I feel we grabbed hold for the last 25 minutes or so of the game and we were rewarded by a great goal after several close chances."
"I was pleased with our play across the while 92 minutes as we have to remember we are still very young in a lot of ways and sometimes young players make mistakes, especially in the 16th game of a long and grueling season."
Junior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) gave Drake an early 1-0 advantage connecting on a header off of a pass from junior Brian Grand (North Branch, Minn./North Branch) in the 10th minute (9:37).
"The first goal made and scored by Addison (Eck) was off a beautiful cross from Brian (Grand)," said Holmes.
Scott Davis netted the equalizer for Bradley at the 24:19 mark.
Andrew Brown gave the Braves 2-1 lead after delivering a goal in the 62nd minute (61:43) off passes from Keegan Balle and Davis.
Extending the contest into overtime for the Bulldogs with his second goal of the season at the 85:02 mark was redshirt sophomore Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport).
"Our second goal was a great finish by Jarred (Arde) and capped a series of opportunities where we were close to evening the score," Holmes explained.
Bradley posted an 18-13 advantage in shots in the affair, including 13-4 on goal, led by four shots apiece from Ross Williams and Balle. Senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) registered a game-high five shots for Drake.
"Michael (Thaden) was our most influential player in the midfield and I thought Bryan (Jantsch) did very well moving from the wing to the center of our team," stated Holmes. "I'm happy with our intelligence, desire and willingness to go forward, but part of our journey this year has been learning how to win, especially in the fiery cauldron of MVC play. We were disappointed to give up three goals after posting shutouts in our first two league games."
Redshirt junior Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) pulled in a game-high 10 saves in the contest for the Bulldogs. Brian Billings recorded two stops for the Braves.
Holmes praised the efforts he received off the bench in the contest.
"Most notable, we were provided spark off the bench by many players and college soccer is not a game contested by 11 players, it is a bigger collective effort that requires significant contributions from the whole squad."
He also praised the efforts of his defensive unit and the play of redshirt freshman Alec Bartlett (Overland Park, Kan./St. James Academy).
"I think Alec (Barlett) has emerged as one of the top-class center backs in the league. I'm excited for the development of our backline for not only this year, but also over course of four years. They provide a lot of smooth, intelligent passing out of back that sets the tone for our team."
Drake returns to action on Saturday (Oct. 20) with a 7:00 p.m. tilt at SIU Edwardsville.
"We have to now regroup and travel to SIU Edwardsville and cobble together a good effort against a team having a great season and one most likely to earn an at-large NCAA Tournament berth," Holmes commented.