Sophomore Laura Moklestad scored twice, and Drake came from behind for the second consecutive game to defeat Evansville University in their first conference match of the season.
Moklestad scored her second goal of the match in the 98th minute, following a pass from junior Lauren Berner, giving the Bulldogs the golden goal victory.
Playing its first Missouri Valley Conference foe at Cownie Soccer Complex, it was imperative for Drake to make its home-field advantage felt.
“Each of our three home conference games are going to be ones where we have to get points from in order to achieve our goals,” Head Coach Lindsey Horner said.
The Bulldogs did not get off to a very hot start. Even though they outshot the Purple Aces 9-8 in the first half, it was Evansville who struck first when it found the net after a Bulldog deflection in the 26th minute.
With Evansville enjoying the first-half lead, Drake came out in the second half determined to get back in the game early on. It took them only seven minutes to tie the score again.
Junior Danielle Figliola found Moklestad to level the score at 1-1 with a lot of soccer left to be played.
Both Drake and Evansville wasted valuable scoring opportunities, as the tightly contested match headed into overtime.
While Drake rallied from behind against North Dakota State to earn an overtime tie last Thursday, the Bulldogs decided to finish off the comeback and earn three very important points early on in conference play.
“At half time, we discussed how already this season we’ve been down a goal before and come back to win or tie,” junior Melanie Fielder said. “We needed to continue attacking and keep shooting.”
Moklestad scored eight minutes into the first overtime session to end the game and propel the Bulldogs to a hard-earned 2-1 win.
“Defensively speaking, we were able to thwart several attacks by the Aces, primarily due to communication, help from the midfield and initiating quick counter attacks or long clearances,” Fielder said.
On Monday the Missouri Valley Conference recognized Moklestad’s scintillating performance. In fact, two Bulldog players earned awards from the MVC.
Moklestad was named MVC Offensive Player of the Week, while freshman goalkeeper Kalena Litch was named MVC Defensive Player of the Week.
“Laura Moklestad has been such a hard worker for us this year and is someone we have to have on the field,” Horner said. “She showed a lot of growth in that she wanted the ball and worked to make something happen and her efforts clearly impacted the game (Sunday) afternoon.”
Drake will prepare to face South Dakota State today at Cownie Soccer Complex. This will be their last non-conference match of the season.
“We need to remain focused, continue to talk to each other on the field, continue to play possession-orientated soccer and keep shooting,” Fielder said.
Photo: Eduardo Zamarripa