BY DRAKE LOHSE
For most of the season, the Drake women’s soccer team has had a tough road schedule. The Bulldogs opened their season at the Montana Cup in Missoula, Montana. They didn’t stay in Des Moines for long—once they returned, their schedule called for four straight road games. The Bulldogs returned to Cownie Complex for a three game home stretch that began with a loss to Marquette, a loss to South Dakota followed.
Last Sunday, Drake was able to wrestle a 2-1 victory from Western Illinois on Family Night. The Bulldogs were able to capitalize off an aggressive offense that creates a high volume of shot opportunities. Following the win against the Leathernecks, the Bulldogs hit the road and wound up in Omaha, where they found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-2 loss. Stretches of road games can take their toll on both a team and a player.
“A lot of our season thus far has been on the road,” first-year Olivia Bruce said. “With the bus, and the travel, and the overnight trips, then having to get back on the bus to go play—it can take a huge toll on your body, your sleep patterns.”
The Bulldogs have tried to keep their fighting spirit alive, and it shows on the field. Any ball is up for grabs, and when a Bulldog has the ball there isn’t much that is going to stop them from getting a shot off. Despite what their 3-7 record means, if you want to play with the Bulldogs, you’re going to have to hit the dirt.
Despite the struggles they’ve faced thus far, the Bulldogs haven’t let their expectation waver. The expectation has, and always will be, to win. But setting their sights further is one thing Drake refuses to let a loss take from them.
“As we’ve progressed we’ve kept our eye on the goal that we want to perform in the conference tournament and we want to win the regular season conference and the conference tournament.” Bruce said. “I don’t think that just because we have the record we do that anyone would doubt we’re capable of that.”
Anyone who has been there to witness the Bulldog’s intensity would most likely agree.
As hard as they are fighting, Drake still needs your help. First-year Allison Walls understands the impact a healthy home crowd can have on the team.
“Our first home game was against Iowa State, and we had a huge turnout from our crowd,” Walls said, “The football team—a lot of them—men’s soccer. It was awesome, the energy the crowd brings is so different. I think the more support we have, the easier it is to be proud of what we’ve accomplished and to keep going when the game doesn’t go our way.”
The Drake Bulldogs hit the road again when they travel to Valparaiso on Sunday. They return to Cownie Complex next Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. to host Missouri Valley Conference rival Illinois State.