The bitter rivalry between the Creighton Bluejays and the Drake Bulldogs remains. The No. 10 Creighton Bluejays scored a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs last Wednesday.
Drake then conceded a goal in the 80th minute to fall 1-0 at SIU Edwardsville last Saturday.
The Bulldogs are now 6-7-2, with a 2-2-1 ledger in the MVC.
The loss to Creighton snapped Drake’s 11-match home unbeaten streak, which dated back to last season. The Bluejays improved to 10-2-0, which includes a 3-0-0 record in Missouri Valley Conference play.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring column first when junior Michael Thaden, the current MVC Offensive Player of the Week, ripped a blast from about 35 yards out, which ricocheted into the net for his third goal of the season. The goal, which came in the 12th minute of the first half, was set up by senior Evan Harrison and redshirt junior Charles Schwartz.
The Bluejays tied up the score in the 20th minute when Kris Clark notched his first of two goals on the night.
Clark struck again and gave Creighton the lead in the 36th minute when he sent home a shot to the top shelf off a feed from Dion Acoff and Ethan Finley.
“Creighton is a very tidy team and their new coach has them competing and fighting for every ball over the field, and that is really the first time since back in early September that I thought we were outcompeted,” Drake Head Coach Sean Holmes said in a Drake athletics press release. “Thaden’s terrific goal, which will probably go down as the goal of the season for us, came a little bit against the run of play and set us up for a big opportunity to knock off a top 10 team, but after that I think the game got away from us a little bit.”
Drake goalkeeper Jordan Kadlec kept the game close with seven saves. Creighton keeper Brian Holt had four saves.
The Bulldogs created a chance in the 63rd minute when senior Nick Foster put a shot on frame after a long punt that put Holt off his line. Another came in the 85th minute when redshirt junior Michael Noonan took a shot that was saved by Holt.
“I was really excited by how we responded to start the second half, creating some very good chances,” Holmes said in the same release. “We showed some promise and composure. They have a tremendous amount of team speed, and in the end really that is essentially the same team we played last year in the MVC semifinals and we beat 2.5 out of three times, and we are effectively a whole new team with nine new starters.”
The Bluejays posted a 19-13 advantage in shots, including 10-8 in the second half. Schwartz led the Bulldogs with three shots while Noonan and Thaden added two.
“Jordan Kadlec was again terrific coming up with some big-time saves,” Holmes said. “I think if we’re going to be as effective as we can in the last three games, two of which are on the road, we’ll need our upperclassmen to compete. Not having Max Duncan at midfield hurt a little bit tonight; it didn’t give us the depth we require.”
Senior Kenan Malicevic returned from injury in the second half after a 12-game layoff.
“It was nice to have Kenan Malicevic back for a few minutes tonight, but his 12-game layoff was certainly apparent,” Holmes said.
SIU Edwardsville outshot Drake 13-6 in the Bulldogs’ 1-0 loss last Saturday. Kadlec hauled in five saves, but the effort was not enough for Drake.
Jordan Barnes beat Kadlec in the 80th minute to give SIU Edwardsville the conference win.
The Cougars moved to 9-5-1 on the season and 4-1-0 in the Valley.
“Tonight was awfully disappointing because one, the result, and two, our overall performance under difficult conditions on the road where no game is ever easy in the MVC, and we failed to respond,” Holmes said in another press release. “Our team is relatively balanced against a big opponent, and when our upperclassmen aren’t firing on all cylinders, then we could be in trouble.”
Thaden led the Bulldog attack with three shots. Drake was only able to put two shots on goal.
Drake returns to action this Saturday when it hosts Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Complex. The game is the team’s final home game of the year, and will also be senior night.
The Bulldogs travel to Eastern Illinois on Nov. 6 before the State Farm MVC Championship begins on Nov. 10.