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No. 12 Creighton Looms For Drake With Berth In MVC Championship Game On The Line

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: November 08, 2012
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Drake continues its stay in Peoria, Ill., having advanced to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Men's Soccer Championship and a date with top-seeded and No. 12 Creighton on Friday (Nov. 9) at 3:00 p.m. in Shea Stadium.  A victory over the Bluejays and the fifth-seeded Bulldogs will reach Sunday's (Nov. 11) championship game to battle the winner of Friday's other semifinal showdown between SIU Edwardsville and Central Arkansas.  The tournament semifinals will be video streamed via MVC Live.

Creighton (13-3-2, 5-0-1 MVC)
comes into play this week unbeaten in its last nine games, including eight-straight wins.  Freshman Timo Pitter paces the Bluejays' attack with a team-high eight goals, while Jose Gomez and Sean Kim have contributed four goals each.  Sophomore Alex Bolowich and freshman Jeff Gal have nearly split the minutes in goal for Creighton this fall recording 38 and 34 saves, respectively, while sporting 1.03 and 0.33 goals against averages.

Drake maintains a 8-13-2 mark in 23 matches in MVC Championship history, including 6-8-1 under head coach Sean Holmes.  The Bulldogs are meeting Creighton for the seventh time with the Bluejays holding a 5-1 advantage.  In the last meeting in 2009, the Bulldogs captured a berth in the championship game of the tournament with a 3-1 semifinal victory past Creighton at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

  • The Bulldogs are 8-13-2 all-time in tournament action, but are 3-2 in their last five contests.
  • Drake is 5-6-0 all-time in quarterfinal matches, 2-6-2 in the semifinals and 1-1 in championship tilts.
  • The Bulldogs are 0-2 in games decided by penalty kicks.
  • With its 2-1 victory over Evansville on Wednesday (Nov. 7), Drake is now 3-3 in MVC Tournament play in contests played in Peoria, Ill. In 2005, the Bulldogs edged Missouri State in the quarterfinals, 2-1, before falling in the semifinals to Bradley, 1-0. In 2006, Drake bettered Evansville in the quarterfinals, 2-0, before losing on penalty kicks to the Braves, 5-3, in a 0-0 double-overtime tie. In 2010, Bradley downed the Bulldogs, 1-0, in the quarterfinal round.
  • The only active Drake players owning goals in MVC Tournament play are junior Ross Payne (Overland Park, Kan./Pembroke Hill), redshirt sophomore Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport) and freshman Eric Williams (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley). Holding assists are senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) and junior Brian Grand (North Branch, Minn./North Branch).
  • Junior Garrett Crall (Norwalk, Iowa/Norwalk) and sophomore Kyle Whigham (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) are the Bulldogs' active leaders in MVC Tournament starts with three apiece, while also garnering the starting assignment in two games each is Thaden and junior Nick Marshall (Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville).

The Bulldogs are meeting Creighton for the 33rd time with the Bluejays leading the all-time series, 21-3-8.  Drake has found recent success against Creighton as the Bulldogs own three wins and three ties in the last 10 meetings between the schools.  Earlier this season, the Bulldogs and Bulldogs battled to a 0-0 double-overtime tie, on Sept. 29, 2012.

Creighton: Elmar Bolowich
is in his second campaign directing the Bluejays and owns a 34-5-3 (.845) record and is 314-149-43 (.663) in 24 years overall as a head coach.

In his 15th year on the Drake sidelines as head coach is Sean Holmes, who owns a 128-128-31 mark (.500), including 206-154-33 (.566) overall, in his 19th year as a head coach.

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 128-128-31 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 206-154-32 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.

Freshman Eric Williams made his first career goal a game changer as his tally with 24.8 seconds remaining lifted Drake to a 2-1 victory past Evansville in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Championship on Wednesday (Nov. 7) at Shea Stadium.

The game-winning goal was set-up by a pass from senior Michael Thaden, 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.

Redshirt sophomore Jarred Arde 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.

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).

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.

Statistically comparing the senior campaigns of Michael Thaden, Drake's leading scorer this season and last year's scoring leader Matt Kuhn are closer than one might imagine.  Thaden leads the Bulldogs through 20 games in goals (6), assists (3), points (15), shots (47), shots on goal (15) and game-winners (2).  In 20 games in 2011, Kuhn, a two-time first-team All-MVC performer, registered team highs in goals (11), points (26), shots (44), shots on goal (20) and game-winners (3), while ranking second in assists (4).

The Missouri Valley Conference announced that redshirt junior goalkeeper Rich Gallagher was named the league's Men's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 29 - Nov. 4.  The honor marks the second for Gallagher this season and in his Drake career.

Gallagher turned in his fourth shutout of the season, including his third in conference action, in Drake's 1-0 road victory at Missouri State (Nov. 2).  The triumph was the first for the Bulldogs in Springfield since 2005.

Gallagher pulled in four saves in the affair, including a pair in each half, en route to his league-best third shutout of the conference campaign.

On the season, Gallagher owns 113 saves and has posted a 1.59 goals against average.  In conference-only affairs, led the MVC in saves (7.33) and shutouts (0.50) per game, while pacing the league in overall saves at 5.63 per contest.

Junior Nick Marshall earned recognition for his efforts in the classroom as he was tabbed a first-team Capital One Academic All-America All-District VI selection.

Marshall was named to the first team for the second-consecutive year and remains in contention for national Academic All-America laurels.

To be nominated, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at his/her current institution.  Nominated athletes must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's games at the position listed on the nomination form (where applicable).

Marshall, who boasts a perfect 4.00 GPA majoring in computer science and chemistry, has started all 20 games for the Bulldogs recording two goals on 16 shots from his defender's position.

The Bulldogs have been involved in seven overtime games this season, including four of their six MVC encounters.  This marks the most OT affairs for Drake in a single campaign since 1992.
In 1992, the Bulldogs played in a school-record eight overtime contests, posting a 3-3-2 mark in those affairs.  Drake also was involved in seven overtime games in 1990 (2-2-3) and eight in 1988 (3-1-4).


  • The Bulldogs registered a season-high 21 shots in their triumph past Evansville on Wednesday (Nov. 7). The mark surpassed its previous high of 19, also versus the Purple Aces on Oct. 27.
  • Drake's win over Evansville marked the first for the Bulldogs in the MVC Tournament in an even-numbered year since 2006. That season, Drake also registered a victory over the Purple Aces, 2-0, also in Peoria, Ill.
  • Michael Thaden was selected as the MVC's Men's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 29. It marked the second occasion this season that a Bulldog has been honored, while Thaden garnered recognition for the second time in his Drake career.
  • Drake has registered a 4-1 mark in its last regular season road game over the last five seasons.
  • Drake was tied or ahead after 90 minutes of play in all six of its MVC contests this season. In those contests, Drake is 2-0 in regulation and 0-2-2 in overtime tilts.
  • Rich Gallagher's 113 saves this season is the second-best single-season mark in school history.
  • The Bulldogs have started their league slate with a win or tie in their first two MVC games in each of the last six seasons. During that span, Drake has not had a losing campaign overall.
  • Drake garnered 15 and 13 shots, respectively, from Michael Thaden and Addison Eck in six league games this season. The Bulldogs also got 10, 10 and nine shots courtesy of Jarred Arde, Brian Grand and Nick Marshall.
  • After missing all of last season, Michael Thaden has picked up where he left off in 2010 as he leads the Bulldogs in goals (6) and shots (47) this season.
  • Thaden has registered a career high in goals (6) this season, surpassing the previous mark of four, which he set in 2010.
  • Thaden is Drake's active career leader in goals (10), assists (5), points (25), shots (88), shots on goal (33) and game-winners (3). Nick Marshall leads active Bulldogs on the roster in games played (55) and contests started (51).
  • The Missouri Valley Conference announced that Rich Gallagher was named the league's Men's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for the period of Sept. 24-30. Gallagher was honored for the first time in his Drake career.
  • The Bulldogs improved to 5-4-6 in conference lidlifters under head coach Sean Holmes with the result against Creighton, including 5-0-6 in the last 11 league openers.
  • 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 (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North).
  • Despite Drake's offensive struggles this season, Rich Gallagher has been solid in net, registering 113 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 34-10-8 since 2006 in home games, including 21-8-3 since 2009.

Drake has garnered contributions from eight of its nine newcomers this season.  Austin Reutzel (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) and Alex Troester (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City West) have led the way earning starts in 17 and seven games, respectively.  Ben LeMay (Hugo, Minn./Saint Thomas Academy), who has since been lost for the season with a knee injury, joins Reutzel and Eric Williams as the only Bulldog rookies to earn a point, after collecting an assist against Loyola (Aug. 31).

The Bulldogs are nationally-ranked in several NCAA statistical categories this season.  As a team, Drake is 14th in saves per game (5.75).  Individually, Rich Gallagher is ranked fourth and 15th in total saves (113) and saves per game (5.65).

The Bulldogs own a 2-2-1 mark in their last five contests, with four of the five occurring away from home.  Jarred Arde, Addison Eck, Michael Thaden, Brian Grand, Nick Marshall and Eric Williams own Drake's eight goals in that span registering two, two, one, one, one and one, respectively. Thaden paces Drake with 16 shots, while Eck, Grand and Arde have added 13, 12 and 10.  Rich Gallagher has been peppered by 98 shots in goal in that span and has recorded 34 saves.

In their six victories this season, the Bulldogs are registering 11.5 shots, 3.0 corner kicks and 4.3 saves, while their opponents recorded 13.8 shots, 3.3 corner kicks and 3.7 saves.  In its 10 losses, Drake is recording 10.0 shots, 4.2 corner kicks and 6.2 saves, while surrendering 16.5 shots, 5.9 corner kicks and 3.1 saves.

The Bulldogs face their fourth contest in program history on Nov. 9 when the squad plays Creighton.  Drake is 3-0 on the date with the Bulldogs earning wins over Central Arkansas (2011), Missouri State (2005) and Illinois State (1994).

Drake 0, Creighton 0 (2OT) (Sept. 29, 2012)
On the strength of nine saves from goalkeeper Rich Gallagher, Drake registered a 0-0 double-overtime tie with No. 12 Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both schools at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

Drake earned its first result over a ranked opponent since collecting a 1-1 double-overtime decision versus No. 12 UC Irvine on Oct. 2, 2010 at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

The Bluejays got off to fast start in the affair recording the game's first six shots before freshman Jon Choda (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee), in his first career start, notched Drake's first shot at the 22:41 mark.
Creighton went on to hold a 11-5 margin in shots in the initial 45 minutes of play.

The Bulldogs picked up their offensive pace in the second half registering eight shots, but were bettered 13-8 by the Bluejays.

Gallagher came up with arguably the biggest save of the game in the 67th minute (66:20) flying in the air to his right to spear the shot fired by Christian Blandon to maintain the shutout.

Creighton outshot Drake in overtime, 4-2, en route to owning a 30-15 advantage in the affair, including 9-1 on goal.

Garnering the Bulldogs' shot attempts in double-overtime were Eric Williams and Jarred Arde.

Alex Troester paced the Drake attack with a three-shot performance.  Gallagher pulled in nine saves for the Bulldogs.

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.

A victory by the Bulldogs and they advance to the MVC Tournament championship game for a date with either second-seeded SIU Edwardsville or sixth-seeded Central Arkansas on Sunday (Nov. 11) at 1:06 p.m.  A loss ends the campaign for Drake.

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