The Drake men’s soccer team was surprised by Central Arkansas (2-7-4, 1-1-2 MVC), losing 2-1 in Conway, Ark., last Saturday. Drake’s five-game winning streak was snapped, and the Bulldogs lost to a team that had only won one other game on the season. Head coach Sean Holmes felt that his team was solid to begin the game.
“We had some early chances in the game that we let slip by early on, and you can’t do that playing against someone on the road,” Holmes said. “They played with a lot of pride and tenacity.”
Central Arkansas struck first to go ahead in the score column with David Ngwenya netting a goal during the 36th minute. That didn’t put as much pressure on Drake as Holmes would have originally thought.
“We gave up kind of a fluky goal at the end of the first half,” Holmes said. “We played really well. I didn’t think we were really in danger, then we gave up that second goal in the second half. Then we had to chase the game.”
The second goal, scored by Matt Taphorn, pushed the score to 2-0 in the 61st minute and ended up as the deciding goal of the contest.
Senior Thomas Ostrander brought the Bulldogs within one as he put a goal in the back of the net in the 63rd minute. Senior Matt Kuhn has seen the team at its highest during the five-game winning streak, but he said he feels that playing on the road has worn the team down.
“We’ve been on the road for the past three weeks now,” Kuhn said. “Long bus trips have kind of taken a toll on the team. We also have had some nagging injuries. To do it with the result of that, we didn’t play terribly too well when we had a team that really had nothing to lose.”
Drake was very much an offensive power as it had a 19-11 advantage in shot differential. The defense was solid but prone to mental mistakes, senior goalkeeper Jordan Kadlec said.
“We had a couple mental lapses,” Kadlec said. “I mean, they really didn’t have too many chances, but when they did have chances, they capitalized off of them. And we got punished for that.”
Drake capped its five-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville last Wednesday. Sophomore Erik Boyer and Kuhn notched goals in that victory.
The Bulldogs are 10-5-1 on the season and 3-1 in the Valley.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a tough road test against the nationally ranked Creighton Bluejays in Omaha, Neb., on Wednesday. Creighton is No. 3 in the latest NCAA rankings.