Drake Battles Central Arkansas To 1-1 Double-OT Tie
CONWAY, Ark. - In its regular season finale, the Drake men’s soccer team collected a 1-1 double-overtime tie at Central Arkansas (4-11-2, 0-4-2 MVC) on Friday (Nov. 8).
“I think we started out tonight thinking that we were in Peoria playing next Friday night in the MVC semifinals,” said Bulldog head coach Sean Holmes. “Their early goal on their second or third great shot of the game shocked us back to reality and for 105 of the next 110 minutes we looked like the team we could be. Central Arkansas played with a lot of endeavor; after all it was their senior night and the boys who were not playing their last game looked like they were playing for contracts. They certainly didn’t lack motivation.”
“If not for some brilliant goalkeeping by Darrin (MacLeod), it was a real possibility that we could have and should have lost the game.”
The Bears garnered the game’s initial tally when Logan Miller connected on his fifth goal of the season at the 2:42 mark off an assist from David Ngwenya.
Drake (8-7-4, 3-1-2 MVC) evened the affair at one in the seventh minute (6:43) on the fourth goal of the year by senior Nick Marshall (Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville). Senior Bryan Jantsch (Mission Hills, Kan./Rockhurst) earned the assist on the tally.
The Bulldogs were outshot in the first half by Central Arkansas, 8-4, including 4-1 on goal.
The Bears bettered Drake in the second half in shots, 9-5, before owning a 5-1 shot advantage in overtime.
A game-high seven shot performance from Taylor Hart led Central Arkansas, while the Bulldogs received a team-high two shots from senior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin).
Redshirt freshman Darrin MacLeod (Waterloo, Ontario/Resurrection Catholic) collected a game-high eight saves for Drake. Paxti Shortsleeve made two stops for the Bears.
“Tonight very much encapsulated our season, some very sharp impressive soccer from box to box, punctuated by silly lapses of concentration and failure to capitalize on some opportunities in front of their goal,” said Holmes. “We had multiple chances to win the game, but to be honest, we had opportunities to lose outright, perhaps in the end, a tie was a fair indication of the game.”
The Bulldogs played the game without redshirt junior Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport), who was serving a one-game NCAA penalty after receiving a red card at UIC (Illinois at Chicago) on Sunday (Nov. 3).
“We missed Jarred (Arde), perhaps more than we thought we would,” Holmes explained. “His work rate, his ideas and his leadership were all missing components in our attack.”
Holmes offered praise to a number of players for their efforts against Central Arkansas.
“The same cast of characters stepped up for us and represented themselves well. Bryan (Jantsch), Nick (Marshall), Logan (North), Addison (Eck) and Jackson (Teeling) played as if it was their senior night and helped provide the senior leadership that we will need to keep playing into November. Thomas’ (Schermoly) effort and attitude up front were also worthy of praise.”
Holmes also touted the play of MacLeod and freshman Mueng Sunday (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West).
“As always, Mueng (Sunday) was absolutely fabulous in the midfield running, chasing, connecting and doing everything that he has done so well all year. Both Mueng (Sunday) and Darrin (MacLeod) are legitimate candidates for MVC Freshman of the Year accolades this season.”
Drake now awaits the outcome on Saturday’s MVC contests for final seeding at next week’s MVC Championship in Peoria, Ill. The Bulldogs own the No. 2 tournament seed and will play next Friday (Nov. 15).
“Due to the nature of the game, I think ultimately our energy and attention was focused on next Friday and I don’t think that mistake will happen next week when every game is do or die,” Holmes stated. “Our goal is to play eight more games starting with two next weekend in Peoria. The guys now get a well-deserved weekend rest and we will get back to training for our next game on Monday.”