DES MOINES, IOWA Drake senior midfielder Jesse Baker (Liberty, Mo.) netted a hat trick to give the Drake mens soccer team its first win in program history over No. 16 ranked Creighton, 3-2, in Missouri Valley Conference action at the Cownie Soccer Complex Wednesday night.
Bakers three goals ended the Bluejays 22-game, 15-year dominance over the Bulldogs, which dated back to 1990. Bakers hat trick was just the second allowed by Creighton in its program history, with the last coming in 2000.
Todays win felt good for a lot of reasons, said Drake head coach Sean Holmes, whose team defeated a top 25 team for the second time this season. One, I think weve generally underachieved this season and tonight we showed what we really can do. Two, I thought we were both more skillful and harder working than a real quality opponent, and lets be honest, knocking off a nationally ranked opponent weve never beaten before is a great accomplishment. Im really proud of the effort the guys gave.
Baker gave the Bulldogs momentum, scoring just five minutes into the match. Senior defender Corey Farabi (Overland Park, Kan.) sent in a free kick to junior midfielder TJ Howard that ricocheted low off the post an into Bakers path for the goal.
In the 39th minute, the Bluejays, which fell to 8-4-3 and 3-2-1 in the MVC, committed a foul in the box and Baker completed the ensuing penalty kick for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Baker applied constant pressure and attacked again a minute into the second half, with a shot that went off the Bluejays goalie, but his off balance rebound attempt went high and wide.
Creighton wouldnt go quietly, however, as Matt Wieland headed in a cross from Tyler Stansberry in the 71st minute. Bakers third goal came three minutes later as Farabi sent in a shot that Creightons goalie mishandled in front of the goal, allowing Baker to get a foot on the ball for the game-winner.
With 25 minutes left in the match, junior midfiedler Besmir Bega (Harper Woods, Mich.) rocketed a shot from 30 yards out that flew inches high of the crossbar.
Creighton scrambled the remainder of the game, rebounding from a 9-3 shot deficit in the first half to out-shoot Drake, 15-14 in the match. Ryan Junge scored in the 86th minute, but Drakes defense stepped up the pressure in the final minutes to secure the win.
Baker led Drakes attack with a game-high six shots, landing four on goal, to improve Drake to 6-8-2 and 2-2-1 in the MVC.
I thought our seniors were absolutely fantastic, added Holmes. Jess Richey and Corey Farabi at the back were impenetrable, Chris Hamburger was dominant in the midfield and Jesse Bakers goals were first-class. To be honest, I thought we should have scored four or five.
I think this will breathe new life into the team for the home stretch. Keith Gorczyca was incredible in the air and Besmir Begas work rate and creativity were really something else.
We went to Vanderbilt last weekend and played without five or six starters and we downplayed that, but any team that competes at a national level really has to have its upperclassmen healthy and firing at all levels. When we put our mind to it, I think we could compete with anyone in America.
The Bulldogs hope to take the momentum of their unprecedented win into Saturday's MVC match at league leader and No. 24 ranked Missouri State. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.