By, ERIN O’BOYLE
After securing their spot in the MVC tournament, the Bulldogs traveled to Evansville, Indiana on Wednesday, Nov. 7. The Bulldogs faced off against Valparaiso, who they had just lost to 5 days before during regular season play; however, the Bulldogs weren’t going to let that loss affect their play on Wednesday.
“Our team was confident going into the Valpo game despite the tough loss on the weekend,” said senior forward Steven Enna. “We knew we needed to be aggressive and make them uncomfortable when playing.”
The Bulldogs started off strong with a goal from Leroy Enzugusi in the fourth minute. Lucas Bartlett assisted Enzugusi with the goal by shooting a cross into the box that the Valpo goalie couldn’t wrangle thus allowing Enzugusi to head the ball into the goal for the first point of the game. In the 37th minute of play, Valpo tied up the game 1-1 with a goal from Tyler Curylo.
The second quarter was quiet for both teams which led to a score of 1-1 at the end of regular timed play. The first overtime was just as quiet as the second quarter with neither team being able to score. However, in the second overtime at the 105th minute, Steven Enna scored the game winning goal for the Bulldogs that allowed them to continue on in the MVC tournament.
With eight shots throughout the game, the game winning goal was characteristic of Enna’s stellar performance. The Bulldogs win against Valparaiso meant that they would face No. 2 Loyola in the semi-finals on Nov. 9.
On Friday, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m., the Bulldogs and the Loyola Braves faced off in Evansville, Indiana to see who would make it to the finals of the MVC tournament. The match was a defensive battle for both teams. The first real attempt on the goal for Drake came in the 13th minute from a corner kick from Cole Poppen that was headed by Steven Enna.
The Rambler’s defense, however, was quick to neutralize the threat. The other close call came again from Enna who headed the ball toward the goal in the 23rd minute, but was saved by Rambler’s goal keeper Josh Lagudah.
In the 38th minute, Ryan Johnston shot, but was stopped by the MVC Defensive Player of the Year, Grant Stoneman. Johnston and Enna both went on to have shots on the goal in the second half, but were again unsuccessful in securing a goal for Drake.
At the end of regular play, with the score 0-0, the Bulldogs and the Ramblers entered overtime play. Poppen, Enzugusi and Antonio Sanchez all had shots in the first overtime period, but all were saved. In the second overtime period at the 108th minute mark, Loyola’s Aidan Megally kicked the winning goal to end the Bulldog’s season.
“Overall the season was great and I’m super proud of our boys,” Enna said. “Every season will have ups and downs and though we struggled in conference play, but we made some pretty great memories knocking off some highly-ranked teams. It’s been a pleasure to play with these guys and I cannot wait to see what they do in the years to come. Go Bulldogs!”
PHOTO COURTESY OF DRAKE ATHLETICS