Last Saturday night, the Bulldogs opened up their Missouri Valley Conference schedule with a 2-1 win over the Purple Aces of Evansville.
Senior Nick Foster provided the difference with a long-distance, nearly half-field length goal in the 76th minute of the game, which pushed the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind victory.
The Missouri Valley Conference opener for both schools lifted Drake to a 5-5-1 record, while dropping Evansville to 4-6-1 on the season.
The game was a tale of two halves, as the Purple Aces dominated the Bulldogs in the first half, outshooting them 7-3 and taking a 1-0 lead into the halftime break. Tyler Kincaid’s goal in the 18th minute gave Evansville the lead over Drake at the intermission.
The halftime adjustments made by Drake Head Coach Sean Holmes helped the Bulldogs in the second half almost immediately, as senior Evan Harrison knocked in a header against his hometown team in the 47th minute. Nick Foster’s cross provided the assist.
“For Evan to score that goal against his hometown team is beyond great,” Holmes said in a Drake athletics press release. “In front of his family, against his hometown, it doesn’t get any better. I’m really excited for him.”
The Bulldogs kept the pressure on throughout the second half, but they missed opportunities.
Foster, however, provided the catalyst to direct Drake to victory with a shot into the top-left corner of the net from nearly midfield.
“That we won on a fluky goal is kind of nice because we don’t score a lot of those, and we’ve had one or two go against us,” Holmes said. “I think when you get that sort of passion and commitment that flows through the rest of the team, the guys pick up their cues. Good things are going to happen.”
Harrison led the Bulldog attack with a game-high four shots while first-year Nick Marshall registered three. Two of those efforts were within three yards of the goal in the second half.
Bulldog keeper Jordan Kadlec hauled in four saves while the Purple Aces goalkeeper, Phil Boerger, brought in six saves.
“I think in the first month, in September, we would have never recovered from being 1-0 down, and from the missed opportunity to put them away, but we battled and matured,” Holmes added. “In the end, it could have been 3-1 or 4-1, as we had a couple of good naked chances, but of course they were chasing the game at the end, but I thought we did well.”
The Bulldogs return to action this Wednesday as they head to Peoria, Ill., to face off against the Braves of Bradley University at 7 p.m. Drake then travels to Missouri State to battle the Bears at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Ostrander earns another award
Drake junior Thomas Ostrander added to his list of MVC accolades when he was named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3.
Ostrander was named MVC Offensive Player of the Year that same week, receiving the honor for the second time this season. This is the first time he has been honored as scholar-athlete of the week, and the first time a member of the team earned the award.
Ostrander owns a 3.62 grade point average and is majoring in accounting. He scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win over Western Illinois, and then tallied the Bulldogs’ lone score in a 1-1 tie against then No. 12 UC Irvine.
Photo: Connor McCourtney