ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Adnan Gabeljic's goal in the 70th minute (69:30) lifted Saint Louis (1-1) to a 1-0 victory past the Drake men's soccer team in the finale of the Billiken Classic on Sunday (Aug. 26).
For the second-consecutive contest, the Bulldogs (0-2) were unable to find the back of the net, as the Billikens registered the shutout on the strength of 10-9 advantage in shots.
"In many ways I'm happy with our progress this weekend despite the results," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. "We have demonstrated that we have been a team that likes to attack and score goals, so to create so many chances and not score is a little frustrating."
"We were again undone by a single silly goal in what otherwise was a solid defensive outing. We have to find the personnel, the intelligence and the will to finish off our opponents when we have the opportunity."
Junior Garrett Crall (Norwalk, Iowa/Norwalk) directed the Drake attack with a game-high two shots, while seven other Bulldogs notched one shot apiece. Saint Louis was led by two shots each from Gabeljic, Kalil Karl and Jon Roeckle.
"I think we have an attacking team and collectively when we go on the road against a Big East opponent like Cincinnati on Friday and Saint Louis today, you have display a little more maturity and wisdom to finish off opponents like that," Holmes explained. "Our biggest challenge as a staff is to figure out which combination of the six we played up front can mesh together to produce the goals that will help us garner a better result."
Redshirt junior Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) collected four saves for Drake, while his counterpart Nick Shackelford also made four stops.
"Rich (Gallagher) again was strong in goal," said Holmes. "I think one of our most significant contributions this weekend came from Kyle (Whigham), who's tireless effort in the midfield helped everyone else perform at a higher level."
Holmes also applauded the efforts his freshmen to step in and make contributions to the Bulldogs.
"What was most gratifying today was that we were able to get playing time for more freshmen and in doing so we were able to lengthen our bench and as the season progresses it will show who is able to compete at this level," Holmes said. "We need to be ready when the moment presents itself. There were some moments of real craft and ingenuity, but we still need to show a little more composure and a steely resolve to get it done."
Drake is in the midst of playing eight of its first 10 games away from home and the challenge is what excites Holmes most.
"We knew when we constructed our schedule with eight road games out of the first 10 that we'd be tested, but our program is now where we want to play as challenging set of opponents as possible. We are far more concerned with testing ourselves against the very best rather than be content to grind out wins against lesser opponents."
Drake opens its home campaign on Friday (Aug. 31) as the Bulldogs host Loyola in a 7:00 p.m. tilt at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
"We have a little under a week to prepare for Loyola and Marquette and I think boys are relishing the opportunity to play on our home field," Holmes commented.