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Drake Opens MVC Play Hosting No. 12 Creighton

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: September 25, 2012
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WHAT'S AHEAD
After one of the more challenging stretches of games in recent Drake men's soccer history, the Bulldogs return home this week opening Missouri Valley Conference action hosting No. 12 Creighton on Saturday (Sept. 29).  The showdown with the Bluejays is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

SCOUTING THE BLUEJAYS
Creighton (5-2-1, 0-0 MVC)
comes into play this week after suffering only its second loss of the season, 3-1, at home versus Saint Louis on Saturday (Sept. 22).  The Bluejays will face a road test at Tulsa on Tuesday (Sept. 25) before Creighton ventures west on I-80 for Saturday's encounter.  Junior Sean Kim paces the Bluejays' attack with a team-high three goals, while three other players have contributed two goals each.  Sophomore Alex Bolowich owns the majority of minutes in goal for Creighton this fall recording 24 saves, while sporting a 1.15 goals against average.

SERIES HISTORY
The Bulldogs are meeting Creighton for the 32nd time with the Bluejays leading the all-time series, 21-3-7.  Drake has found recent success against Creighton as the Bulldogs own three wins and two ties in the last 10 meetings between the schools.  Last season, the Bluejays dispatched the Bulldogs, 2-0, on Oct. 26, 2011.

THE COACHES
Creighton: Elmar Bolowich
is in his second campaign directing the Bluejays and owns a 26-4-2 (.533) record and is 306-148-42 (.561) in 24 years overall as a head coach.

Drake: In his 15th year on the Drake sidelines as head coach is Sean Holmes, who owns a 123-125-29 mark (.496), including 201-151-31 (.565) 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' 15-year tenure, the Bulldogs have posted a 123-125-29 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 201-150-30 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 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.

MEMPHIS HANDS DRAKE A 5-0 SETBACK
Concluding a stretch in which Drake played eight of its first 10 games away from home, the Bulldogs suffered a 5-0 setback at Memphis last Saturday (Sept. 22).

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.

The Tigers tacked on three second-half goals to account for the 5-0 final.

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).

Redshirt junior Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) pulled in two saves for the Bulldogs.

BULLDOGS SNARE 1-1 DOUBLE-OT TIE AT DEPAUL
In its showdown at DePaul last Wednesday (Sept. 19), the Bulldogs and Blue Demons waged through 110 minutes before settling for a 1-1 double-overtime tie.

The Blue Demons took an early 1-0 advantage on a goal by Antonio Aguilar just 3:17 in the game.
The lead didn't last long as the Bulldogs were the beneficiaries of an own goal at the 10:50 mark that squared the affair at one.

Drake had scoring opportunities as six of its nine shots were blocked, including a pair off the foot of senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) in double overtime.

DePaul outshot Drake in the game, 21-9, including 10-2 in the second half.  The Bulldogs were paced by two shots from Thaden, while six other players recorded one shot apiece.  A seven-shot performance from Aguilar led the Blue Demons.

Rich Gallagher collected a game-high six saves for the Bulldogs.

IN VALLEY LIDLIFTERS
Drake opens Missouri Valley Conference play this Saturday (Sept. 29) when the Bulldogs host Creighton.  Drake is 7-9-5 all-time in league openers in the Valley, including 5-4-5 under head coach Sean Holmes.  The number under Holmes is deceiving as the Bulldogs have gone 5-0-5 under his leadership, including a 1-0 victory last year versus Bradley, since dropping the league lidlifter in each of his first four campaigns as head coach

BULLDOG BITES

  • After missing all of last season, senior MIchael Thaden has picked up where he left off in 2010 as he leads the Bulldogs in goals (2) and shots (19) this season.
  • The Bulldogs have gotten strong production out of their junior class as Garrett Crall (Norwalk, Iowa/Norwalk), Nick Marshall (Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville), Addison Eck and Logan North (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) have accounted for four of Drake's eight goals this season, while combining to record 29 shots, including 12 on goal. Eck also has posted a team-high two assists
  • The Bulldogs' game versus Old Dominion (Sept. 16) marked the 275th in the Drake coaching career of head coach Sean Holmes.
  • After being held without a goal in its first two games of the season, Drake erupted for three tallies in the Bulldogs' 3-1 victory past Loyola, all of which were scored by a different player in juniors Nick Marshall, Addison Eck and Logan North.
  • Despite Drake's offensive struggles this season, redshirt junior goalkeeper Rich Gallagher has been solid in net, registering 50 saves.
  • Junior Garrett Crall was named a first-team selection on the College Sports Madness MVC Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team.
  • Crall accounted for a team-best five of the Bulldogs' 22 shots at the Billiken Classic. A year ago, Crall registered eight shots for the entire campaign.
  • Drake collected its fifth consecutive triumph in a home opener after defeating Loyola, 3-1,on Aug. 31. The Bulldogs own a 17-10-0 ledger all-time in home lidlifters, including 12-3-0 under head coach Sean Holmes.
  • The Bulldogs are 32-9-7 since 2006 in home games, including 19-7-2 since 2009.

FRESHMEN MAKING A MARK
Drake has garnered contributions from eight of its nine newcomers this season.  Alex Troester (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City West) and Austin Reutzel (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) have led the way earning starts in seven games each.  Ben LeMay (Hugo, Minn./Saint Thomas Academy), who has since been lost for the season with a knee injury, joins Reutzel as the lone Bulldog rookies to earn a point, after collecting an assist against Loyola (Aug. 31).

NATIONALLY SPEAKING
The Bulldogs are nationally-ranked in several NCAA statistical categories this season.  As a team, Drake is 36th in saves per game (5.1).  Individually, Rich Gallagher is ranked fifth and 35th in total saves (50 and saves per game (5.0).

OVER OUR LAST FIVE GAMES
The Bulldogs own a 0-3-2 mark in their last five contests, with all five occurring away from home.  Michael Thaden, Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport) and Crall own all three of Drake's goals in that span.  Thaden paces Drake with 11 shots.  Rich Gallagher has been peppered by 103 shots in that span in goal and has recorded 32 saves.

DRAKE TO HOST FOURTH-ANNUAL GREEN GAME
Drake will host its fourth annual "Greenest Game on Grass" contest on Oct. 13 when the Bulldogs battle UIC (Illinois at Chicago) at the Cownie Soccer Complex beginning at 7:00 p.m.

For the fourth-straight campaign, the Bulldogs will don green uniforms that will be auctioned off during the game.  The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a "Drake Soccer Goes Green" T-shirt.

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
The Bulldogs face their seventh tilt on Sept. 29 when the team plays Creighton on Saturday.  Drake owns a 2-4 record in the previous six encounters with wins over Valparaiso (1996) and DePaul (2002).  

IN OUR LAST MEETING
Creighton 2, Drake 0 (Oct. 26, 2011)
OMAHA, Neb. -
A pair of second-half goals from Ethan Finley lifted No. 3 Creighton to a 2-0 victory over Drake.

The initial stanza proved to be one statistically dominated by the Bluejays, who owned a 9-1 shot advantage, but the Bulldogs, on the strength of four first-half saves from Jordan Kadlec, held Creighton off the scoreboard.

Drake's lone shot in the first 45 minutes came from Bryan Jantsch in the 18th minute (17:28).

Finley broke the stalemate at the 68:13 mark, connecting on his 10th goal of the season off an assist from Jose Ribas.

Finley cracked the scoring column again in the 78th minute (77:27) delivering his 11th tally of the year off a header pass from Kris Clark.

The Bulldogs were able to only garner one second-half shot as Creighton and goalkeeper Brian Holt registered their 11th shutout of the season.

The Bluejays posted a 20-2 margin in shots, led by a game-high five shots from Finley and Dion Acoff. 

Drake was paced by shots from Jantsch and Hunter Kennedy.  Kadlec pulled in six saves for the Bulldogs.

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.

HOMES GAMES TO BE STREAMED LIVE
Drake men's soccer home games will now be streamed live on GoDrakeBulldogs.com over the True Blue TV platform.  The games are shot using a one-camera shoot and will be available on a subscription basis starting as low as $9.95 per month.  This subscription also includes access to other Drake streaming events such as volleyball, men's and women's basketball and football games.

UP NEXT
Drake continues its three-game homestand entertaining Western Illinois (Oct. 3) and Central Arkansas (Oct. 7).  Both contests will start at 7:00 p.m. at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

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