The Drake men’s soccer team earned a 2-2 double-overtime tie against Evansville (9-6-1, 3-1-1 MVC) on Saturday night at the Cownie Soccer Complex. With this result, the Bulldogs (4-10-4, 1-2-2 MVC) clinched a berth in the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
The Bulldogs also celebrated Senior Night, sending off four Bulldogs on a positive note. Fifth-year senior Michael Thaden and redshirt juniors Nick Mims, Joe Lyons and Jackson Teeling all played in their last home game at Drake.
“Of course, the boys never lack motivation on Senior Night. I knew the guys would be prepared to compete. And to come back from 1-0 down and 2-1 down and really make a game of it was, I think, awesome,” said head coach Sean Holmes in a Drake athletics press release. “It was competitive, this is what conference soccer looks like.”
Thaden made the most of his final game at Cownie Soccer Complex, helping Drake come back from a one-goal deficit twice in the match.
Evansville managed to break through at the 26:08 mark when Mark Gonzalez connected on his fourth goal of the year. Drake responded just before the break, with redshirt sophomore Brian Grand scoring his first goal of the year thanks to Thaden’s assist from the corner of the box.
The Bulldogs went into the break having outshot Evansville 11-9.
In the second half, the score remained tied until the Bulldogs were whistled for a foul inside the penalty box. Evansville put away the penalty kick to take a 2-1 lead at the 68:39 mark.
Just two minutes later, Grand was fouled inside the penalty box and also earned a penalty kick. Thaden put it away to tie the score again 2-2 at the 70:28 mark.
“Our back four is young and we know we’re gonna occasionally give up goals. But we sort of responded and played some very, very good soccer,” Holmes said.
Both teams pressed on forward trying to find the game-winner without any luck, as the game went into overtime.
The Bulldogs came closest to netting the golden goal but could not find the back of the net despite a 4-2 shot advantage in the two overtime periods.
“I was really pleased with Michael Thaden, I thought he was terrific. Brian Jantsch was good. Probably the difference maker in the game was Brian Grand, who we’ve played a lot sort of out of position all year long,” Holmes said. “He goes up front, he scores a well-taken sort of, knock down goal in the first one, earns a penalty in the second and just caused problems I think for Evansville all night long.”
Redshirt junior Rich Gallagher registered a game-high six saves. Grand paced the Drake attack with five shots. Junior Addison Eck and sophomore Jarred Arde added three shots each.
The Bulldogs will close its regular season on Friday at 7 p.m. when they hit the road to take on Missouri State.
Following that match, the Bulldogs are slated to play the MVC Championship tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Peoria, Ill. Drake’s opponent is still not finalized, but it will likely be Bradley, who defeated the Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 17.