ST. LOUIS, Mo. - A goal by Cole DeNormandie 63 seconds into the season-opening contest for the Drake men's soccer team on Friday (Aug. 24) proved to be the game-winner lifting Cincinnati (1-0) to a 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs (0-1) at the Billiken Classic.
Drake entered the affair eying its fifth-consecutive season-opening triumph, but the Bulldogs were thwarted in their effort, despite owning a 13-6 advantage in shots in the game.
"It was very much an early season game as both teams were a little tentative and sloppy, but we demonstrated some quality effort," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. "Ultimately, we gave up a silly goal in the second minute of the game after we ran down 1v1 on our own in the first minute. I thought in general we created more good chances and we had the run of play against a pretty strong Big East opponent."
DeNormandie's tally came off a run down the middle of the field and courtesy of an assist from Peter Jannelli that resulted in a shot that beat redshirt junior Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy).
Junior Garrett Crall (Norwalk, Iowa/Norwalk) paced the Drake attack with a game-high three shots, while senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) and junior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) added two shots apiece. The Bearcats received two shots each from DeNormandie, Jannelli and Ashani Walker.
"Some of our young players performed really well today," said Holmes. "I think one the questions we've been asking since last year when our seniors graduated is how we were going to score goals and I believe tonight we created enough chances and should have come away with more."
Gallagher recorded two saves for the Bulldogs, while Taylor Hafling made six stops for Cincinnati.
"Rich (Gallagher) was solid in goal and I think we came away with some real positives, but there are still some bugs to work out of the system," Holmes explained. "It was nice to have Michael Thaden's calming presence in the middle after a one-year absence and I'm optimistic that we can be a little sharper on Sunday."
Drake closes out its stay at the Billiken Classic with a 3:00 p.m. tilt with Saint Louis on Sunday (Aug. 26).