Drake Garners Dramatic 2-1 Victory Past Evansville At MVC Championship
The triumph enabled the Bulldogs to move into Friday's semifinals and a date with top-seeded and No. 12 Creighton at 3:00 p.m.
The game-winning goal was set-up by a pass from senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley), who delivered the ball to Williams just outside the 18-yard box. Williams swung past the Evansville defender and beat goalkeeper Eric Teppen top shelf.
Evansville outshot Drake in the game, 22-21, despite the Bulldogs registering a season-high in shots in the showdown, surpassing their previous high of 19 set against the Purple Aces on Oct. 27.
Evansville cracked the scoring column first in the affair when Joel Craig connected on his second goal of the season at the 16:33 mark. The unassisted tally was the first for the Purple Aces in three lifetime tournament meetings against Drake in the quarterfinal round.
Redshirt sophomore Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport) evened the contest at one in the 24th minute (23:56) on a header that was initially saved by Purple Aces' Teppen. The linesman though ruled that the ball went past the line before the save and the third goal of the season for Arde went into the stat column. Earning the assist with a strong cross into the box was junior Brian Grand (North Branch, Minn./North Branch).
After being outshot 4-1 to begin the game, Drake finished the half on a flurry and won the battle of the shots, 11-10, led by four shots from Thaden.
The Bulldogs continued their offensive exploits in the second half recording eight shots on goal capped by Williams' game-winning tally.
Thaden turned in team-best six shots in the affair, while the Bulldogs also received four, three and three shots, respectively, from Grand, Arde and junior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin). A game-high eight shots from Faik Hajderovic paced the Evansville attack.
One of the stars of the game for Drake was redshirt junior goalkeeper Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy), who pulled in six saves. Teppen finished the affair with eight saves for the Purple Aces.
Drake will battle Creighton in the MVC Championship for the first time since the semifinals of the 2009 tournament, a 3-1 victory by the Bulldogs at the Cownie Soccer Complex. The two teams battled to a 0-0 double-overtime tie on Sept. 29.