Drake Upsets No. 14 New Mexico, 1-0
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A goal by senior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) in the 88th minute (87:29) lifted the Drake men’s soccer team to a dramatic 1-0 victory at No. 14 New Mexico (3-2-1) on Friday (Sept. 20).
The win for the Bulldogs (2-3-2) was their first over a ranked opponent since downing No. 13 Ohio State, 1-0, in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
“I am so happy about where we are at this point in the season,” Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. “I know that sounds somewhat odd at 2-3-2, but to not give up any goals in 200 minutes this week, and travel halfway across the country to face a formidable nationally-ranked opponent and play with such discipline and tenacity is really exciting.”
“Our team is an interesting blend of seniors and underclassmen and for larger periods today we had Darrin (MacLeod), Austin (Reutzel), Alec (Bartlett), Mueng (Sunday), Ben (LeMay), Danton (Irelan), Eric (Williams) and Alex (Troester) up the middle of the team for us, and all are either in their first or second years with our program. Ultimately, our seniors carried us to victory. It was a fantastic, clever finish from Addison (Eck) and a tremendous deep cross from Nick (Marshall) late in the game.”
In only his second career start, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod (Waterloo, Ontario/Resurrection Catholic) stonewalled a New Mexico squad that came into the game averaging a 2.4 goals and 18.8 shots per game, registering six saves en route to posting his second consecutive shutout.
“Darrin (MacLeod), in only his second career start was outstanding,” said Holmes.
The two sides battled back-and-forth through a scoreless first half with the Lobos owning a 7-2 advantage in shots.
The Bulldogs proved undaunted over the final 45 minutes as MacLeod made four second-half saves to set the stage for Eck’s heroics.
Starting the run that evolved into Eck’s game-winning tally was senior Nick Marshall (Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville), who sliced a long ball into Eck for a one-touch goal beating New Mexico goalkeeper Michael Lisch. The goal was the first of the season for Eck.
“In every respect this was good victory,” Holmes explained. “New Mexico had a week to prepare for us, while we came off a grueling 110-minute affair against a talented Big East opponent in DePaul on Tuesday and then played after a wicked turnaround tonight.”
The Lobos garnered a 13-4 advantage in shots in the affair, led by a game-high four shots from Michael Calderon. Drake received one shot apiece from senior Bryan Jantsch (Mission Hills, Kan./Rockhurst), Eck, redshirt freshman Ben LeMay (Hugo, Minn./Saint Thomas Academy) and sophomore Brandon Welter (Mankato, Minn./Mankato East). The Bulldogs scored on their only shot on goal in the game.
“I’m so proud of our guys that after a rough start to season that we have responded with a home win, a home tie and a tremendous road victory,” said Holmes. “As the boys sat eating breakfast this morning there was a sense of optimism that pervaded the squad and we really sense that these are the type of games, in front of big crowds, that we want to be playing. Now we will enjoy our biggest break of the year, eight days, and our boys will use this time to refresh themselves, get healthy before playing UMKC next Saturday.”
Holmes praised the defensive efforts of redshirt sophomore Alec Bartlett (Overland Park, Kan./St. James Academy) as well as freshman Mueng Sunday (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) in helping the Bulldogs earn the shutout.
“I’m not sure there is a better center back in the country than Alec (Bartlett). His ball winning, composure is all very terrific and Mueng (Sunday) was nearly flawless in midfield.”
Drake returns to action next Saturday (Sept. 28) when the Bulldogs host UMKC in the Ralph Gross Alumni Classic at the Cownie Soccer Complex. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.
“I’m excited to get back to training as I think there are still more guys capable of contributing and that is key to being successful, being ready when the moment presents itself,” Holmes commented. “There were so many good performances by so many guys that I’m filled with optimism.”