Wisconsin Edges Drake In Physical Affair, 3-2
“Midweek non-conference games are always extremely challenging and with two-evenly matched opponents like this on the home field of a Big Team opponent, you have to be ready to play,” Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. “Our rhythm at the start of the game was good, but we gave up a silly early goal by being sloppy in our possession and that changed the game a little bit. I was encouraged that we finished out the half competing. The second half was a much more feisty affair and I was pleased with the way we fought for the ball.”
“There were moments tonight when we were really good, but ultimately our mistakes undid us. Part of growing up is having the concentration and focus to battle for the entire 90 minutes. No excuses, we’re on the road playing at tough places and if we want to be an NCAA Tournament team, these are the type challenges we need to expose ourselves to and overcome.”
The Badgers cracked the scoring column first in the game’s 13th minute (12:25) when Jacob Brindle recorded his third goal of the season off an assist from Nick Janus.
Wisconsin garnered a 4-2 differential in shots in the initial stanza to take a 1-0 lead into the second half.
The Badgers extended their advantage to 2-0 when Paul Yonga converted on a set piece from 35 yards out at the 60:59 mark.
“Their second goal was probably the hardest hit free kick I have seen in my 25 years as a college coach, their guy hit an absolute laser,” said Holmes. “So down 2-0, the guys had to make the decision of whether to roll over or to pull something out of this and Alec (Bartlett), the leader he is, outfought everyone for his chance.”
Redshirt sophomore Alec Bartlett (Overland Park, Kan./St. James Academy) converted on his opportunity cutting Drake’s deficit to 2-1 registering his first career goal in the 81st minute (80:04) off an assist from redshirt freshman James Grunert (Muskego, Wis./Muskego).
“Once we cut it to 2-1, it was game on,” stated Holmes.
A handball in the box was whistled against the Bulldogs at the 83:22 mark and Janus converted the penalty kick to provide Wisconsin a 3-1 lead.
Redshirt junior Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport) closed out the scoring in the affair in the 85th minute (84:13) with his third goal on the campaign for Drake.
“The third goal was a tough call to go against us and down 3-1 we refused to die,” commented Holmes. “Jarred (Arde) hit an absolute cracker on a knock down off a free kick and we continued to battle down to the final whistle.”
The Badgers posted a 13-8 margin in shots on the evening, including 6-2 on goal.
The game proved to be a physical contest highlighted by 30 combined fouls and four yellow cards being issued.
Redshirt freshman Ben LeMay (Hugo, Minn./Saint Thomas Academy) led the Bulldogs with a team-high two shots, while Janus directed Wisconsin with a game-high six shots.
“I was pleased with our ability to go into a hostile environment and not quit,” said Holmes. “Ultimately, when you play these midweek games not only do you want to make yourself better for conference play, but you also want to challenge yourself against highly-competitive squads in the RPI.”
Holmes also offered praise to several players for their efforts against the Badgers.
“Alec (Bartlett) was very good in the back tonight and again, Mueng (Sunday) was tidy at the midfield. Jarred (Arde) had a quality effort, not only for his goal, but for his link up play, athleticism and willingness to battle.”
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod (Waterloo, Ontario/Resurrection Catholic) recorded a pair of saves for Drake. Casey Beyers didn’t make a save for the Badgers.
The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday (Oct. 12) hosting Missouri State in a 7:00 p.m. tilt at the Cownie Soccer Complex.