The Bulldog men’s soccer squad went 1-1 last week and is now 5-4-1 for the year.
Last Saturday, Drake fell 1-0 to No. 20 Northern Illinois in its yearly “Greenest Game on Grass” match.
The Bulldogs whipped out their green jerseys and took on a very tough Huskies squad.
A defensive misplay allowed James Stevenson to score the game’s only goal at the 25:30 mark for Northern Illinois. The Bulldogs could not even up the score as they headed to the break, down 1-0. Both squads registered five shots in the first half.
In the second half, Drake pushed on forward and tried to even up the score. But the effort fell short, despite outshooting the Huskies 8-5 in the second half and 13-10 for the game.
“I thought we played with a lot of heart and intensity, but our mental breakdown was our undoing,” head coach Sean Holmes said in a Drake athletic press release. “We created a lot of chances, but only after we were down a goal and forced to play with some urgency.”
The loss marked the first time the Bulldogs have been shut out at home since a 2-0 loss to Central Arkansas on Sept. 29, 2006.
“I can’t remember the last time we were shutout at home, and this is a team that I think is always capable of scoring, but at some point we have to stop giving up soft goals,” Holmes said.
Last Wednesday, the Bulldogs bested the DePaul Blue Demons 4-2 in another home contest.
The game had many ups and downs, but the Bulldogs pulled out the win against the pesky Blue Demons. The game started off with a bang as senior Charlie Schwartz put one in the back of the net with less than a minute on the board.
“We started out pretty fast,” Schwartz said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. The ball came across, (senior Matt) Kuhn shot it, and it hits off one of their players and falls right in front of me. I just teed up on it and was just really fortunate.”
Getting off to a fast start at home was important to the Bulldogs after dropping two road games in Chicago. They obviously did with the first goal in under a minute. Holmes felt this game was a showcase of the whole body of work the team has this season.
“It felt great playing at home,” Holmes said. “Playing at home is always a plus, but that game sort of encapsulated our season; outstanding play followed by shoddy mistakes followed by an outstanding recovery.”
Kuhn scored his fifth goal of the season in the 51st minute, putting the team up by two and giving Drake a solid cushion. Then the game got extremely interesting. The Blue Demons scored two straight goals from David Selvaggi and it tied the game. Sophomore Bryan Jantsch had an assist in the game and noted that the back line is still playing well.
“I think that with more games comes more experience,” Jantsch said. “I think each game we are getting better and better. Each game we are giving up way too many chances. We have the technical stuff down. We just need to fight a little harder.”
Almost immediately after Selvaggi’s second goal in the 78th minute, redshirt junior Jordan Stanley put the Bulldogs up for good just 17 seconds later. Freshman Thomas Schermoly finished the Blue Demons off by putting in one last goal in the 85th minute.
“I have never really experienced that roller coaster of a game,” Schwartz said.
Holmes talked about the intensity of being at home and its importance.
“I think we were certainly fired up; you cannot underestimate being at home to build momentum,” he said. “We have not had that opportunity, but we were trying to schedule aggressively and we got the teams that we did. Not all those guys are begging to come to Des Moines. Statistically, it’s harder to play on the road.”
The Bulldogs take on Saint Louis this Saturday in the Ralph Gross Classic at the Cownie Soccer Complex.