Last Sunday, the Drake men’s soccer team lost a physical double overtime match 3-2 to the University of Illinois at Chicago. The match concluded the two-game UIC Soccer Classic for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs suffered a slow start as Ivan Stanisavljevic of UIC scored in the fifth minute. Drake senior Matt Kuhn netted the equalizer in the 41st minute to tie the game at one. That goal began a back-and-forth four minutes to end the first half. Stanisavljevic scored another goal off of a penalty kick in the 43rd minute. However, Kuhn answered with his own penalty kick goal in the 44th minute. The game stayed at 2-2 throughout the second half.
“No one ever wants to go down early in the game like that,” head coach Sean Holmes said. “I don’t think we helped (redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Rich Gallagher) too much. The other part is that the back half of our team is young. That half had a little bit of everything. Both penalties were deserved, but on the road you have to have composure. Our group sometimes has that and sometimes we don’t.”
Kuhn felt the team definitely had its moments throughout the game.
“At times we were fantastic,” he said. “We moved the ball around, we got some great opportunities, but we just couldn’t put them away.”
The first half proved much more productive for the Bulldogs than the second half. Neither team scored in the second half or in the first overtime period. The Bulldog defense and Gallagher held strong despite an offensive onslaught from UIC in the second half. The Flames posted 13 shots compared to three for Drake after the break.
“It definitely felt like we were being bombarded,” Gallagher said. “We had some defensive breakdowns in the second half, but that’s our guys getting tired. It’s my time to step up. The other team really put up the pressure in the second half. We just couldn’t keep up with their offense.”
Holmes said the game wasn’t particularly chipper, but the conditions and weariness had a lot to do with the sloppiness and fouls. Both teams combined to draw seven cards, including one red card apiece. Holmes felt multiple factors contributed to this.
“When you play the Friday and Sunday games, everyone on Sunday is a little bit punch-drunk,” Holmes said. “People are just a little bit late here and there. It rained hard and when the fields get wet and slippery, things happen.”
With just 18 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, Stanisavljevic struck again with the golden goal to give the Flames the victory and finish the game with a hat trick. Holmes felt frustrated with the result, but felt his team was resilient.
“It was heartbreaking when I resigned myself to know that we were going to get the tie, and we should have come out of there with a tie,” he said. “We had a couple of real golden chances where we could have capitalized, but I think it toughened us up for the long haul.”
Seniors Kuhn and Charlie Schwartz were named to the all-tournament team for the UIC Soccer Classic. Kuhn was honored with the recognition, but kept the focus on his team.
“It is nice to be recognized, but I’d rather have two wins out of the weekend than losing both those games,” he said.
Drake took on DePaul last night at Cownie Soccer Complex. Details from that game will be available in the next issue of The Times-Delphic. The Bulldogs also remain at home on Saturday, when they take on No. 20 Northern Illinois at 7 p.m.
“It definitely will be nice to play games at home,” Gallagher said. “We get to sleep more. We get to eat regular food. It is definitely a comfort zone to be home. It is a good schedule here, and we try hard to win at home.”
THE GREENEST GAME ON EARTH
SATURDAY, SEPT. 24
vs NO. 20 northern illinois
Cownie Soccer Complex, 7 p.m.