PEORIA, Ill. - A trio of second-half goals lifted Bradley (12-6-2) to a 3-0 victory past Drake (8-8-4) in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Soccer Championship on Friday (Nov. 15) at Shea Stadium.
The two sides waged a scoreless first half with each team garnering six shots apiece. The Bulldogs’ lone shot on goal in the initial stanza came off the foot of redshirt sophomore Alec Bartlett (Overland Park, Kan./St. James Academy) at the 18:00 mark.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod (Waterloo, Ontario/Resurrection Catholic) was stellar for Drake over the first 45 minutes making four key saves to keep the Braves off the scoreboard.
Bradley cracked the scoring column first with what proved to be the game-winning tally when Cody Lofgren capitalized off a defensive miscue at the 48:49 mark on an unassisted goal.
Just over three minutes later, in the 53rd minute (52:13), the Bulldogs were whistled for a handball in the box resulting in a penalty kick for the Braves. Zach Kovacevic stepped to the line and delivered his third goal of the season past a diving MacLeod to extend the lead to 2-0.
Drake was not without scoring opportunities in the second half as freshman Mueng Sunday (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) struck a shot that narrowly missed going in as it ricocheted off the crossbar at the 62:57 mark.
Senior Nick Marshall (Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville) nearly added his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the 69th minute (68:18) as only a team save by Christian Okeke clearing the ball off the line prevented the score.
Andrew Brown capped the scoring for the Braves at the 85:53 mark with a laser off a free kick to account for the final 3-0 margin.
Bradley registered an 18-16 advantage in shots in the affair, including 10-5 on goal.
Sunday led the Bulldogs with a game-high five shots, while Marshall, senior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) and Bartlett added three, two and two shots, respectively. A pair of four-shot performances by Wojciech Wojcik and Jason Lesch led Bradley.
MacLeod directed the Bulldogs with a game-high seven saves, while Brian Billings made four stops for the Braves.