By, DRAKE LOHSE
There is no better indication of a defensive slug match than a game that ends in a tie. That’s just
how Drake’s women’s soccer match ended Saturday night against Evansville. Aside from being the first match to end scoreless and tied all season, Saturday was also Senior Night. Before the game, the team’s five seniors—Elaine Gorom, Alyssa Brand, Linda Fiorito, Shannon Steurer, and Tawny Carroll—took the field and were honored before the team hits the road for the next two weeks. It was a special moment for all involved, but especially for Brand, who has living with the reality of her last season from the very beginning.
“For me, probably the fifth game in I tore my meniscus, and was just able to come back and play for the first time last weekend (vs. Loyola), which is not at all how you want your last year to go,” Brand said. “So for me I was just taking in every moment that I could, on and off the field.” Before the game, Alyssa Brand joined Tawny Carroll and took the time to reflect about their time at Drake, imparting the advice that was passed down to them and sharing a few laughs in the process. When it comes to the four years the two have spent as members of the team, they both agree—it’s the bond that’s forged that sticks out the most.
“I have to say that the relationships with my teammates, I think that we go through so many ups and downs together, we see each other at our worst and we also see each other at our best when we’re winning,” Carroll said. “The team dynamic that we’ve created is pretty special when compared to other schools.”
Those words aren’t just spoken—they’re put into action whenever Drake takes the field. It is easy for anyone in the stands to feel the intensity and passion for the game that is molded amongst them. Even when the opposing team scores, or the game is lost, the Bulldogs are quick to bounce back and pick each other up. That’s what they’ll need to do following the tie at home against Evansville. Sophomore goalie Kelsie Stone kept the relentless Ace’s offense at bay with a total of five saves, one of them after a header from the corner in the second half from Evansville. Drake’s tenacious offense did plenty to match it’s physical defense. The Bulldogs outshot the Purple Aces 12-6 and 6-5 on shots on goal.
Freshman Allison Walls commanded the charge, delivering three shots on goal, two of them in the first overtime. With only five seniors, the Bulldogs are very much a young team. Their up-and-down
season thus far has just been an indicator of a team forming a chemistry that is a requirement of long-term success. Brand and Carroll were asked this week what advice they wanted to leave behind to both the young and future Bulldogs. “Be a total sponge. Absorb everything. Learn as much as you can. Be humble, don’t have an ego, when you come here you have so much to learn, just like everyone else,” Brand said. “Take these opportunities that you have and take them all in, it’s pretty incredible to be here.” The Bulldogs hit the road to take on the UNI Panthers on Wednesday in Cedar Falls.