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Men’s Soccer falls short of third straight NCAA tournament appearance

Drake was eliminated from last week’s State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship by No. 5 seed Bradley in a tough 1-0 first-round loss. Giving up a first-half goal proved to be the difference as the Bulldogs couldn’t muster a response and ended up with an early exit.

The loss ended the Bulldogs’ season with an 8-8-2 record.

Bradley’s deciding tally came in the 28th minute when Christian Meza beat redshirt junior keeper Jordan Kadlec for the only goal of the game. Drake created its own chances in the second half, as it outshot the Braves 9-6 after the break.

Redshirt junior Charles Schwartz sent a volley wide in the 46th minute, and freshman Brian Grand sent a shot barely wide in the later minutes of the game.

Drake Head Coach Sean Holmes said the team knew playing a formidable opponent on its home field was going to be difficult and that finishing .500 is a fitting end to the season.

“I don’t think we played the best we can,” he said in a Drake athletics press release. “But we created a lot of chances at the end and throughout the second half, and to give up a silly goal like we did early in the first half is difficult.”

While the loss ended the Bulldogs’ season, eight different players were awarded by being named to All-MVC teams.

Senior Nick Foster was selected as a first team All-MVC member while seven other players were named to other teams. Foster started all 18 games this season and all 80 games of his career. He also tallied a goal and an assist from his defender position this season.

“I’m particularly excited for Nick [Foster], who’s had a tremendous career and has served as a cornerstone of our program over the last four years,” Holmes said in another release. “To have started all 80 games of his career, a number which ranks third all-time in games played at Drake, is quite an accomplishment.”

Juniors Thomas Ostrander and Michael Thaden were named to the second team, while Kadlec and Schwartz were honorable mentions.

Ostrander appeared in all 18 games this season and led the team in goals with five. Thaden capped his breakout season by leading the team in points with 11.

“Postseason accolades are always a great honor for our guys,” Holmes said. “They serve as either just rewards for hard work or further incentive to achieve more. It is good to know their efforts are appreciated by other schools in the conference.”

While Kadlec garnered an MVC honorable mention in his first season as a starter, he hauled in the second-most saves in a single season in school history with 98. Those good hands helped him post a 1.32 goals against average and rank ninth in the NCAA for saves per game with 5.44. He was also honored as Drake’s only All-MVC tournament selection.

Following tremendous freshman seasons, defenders Garrett Crall and Nick Marshall made the all-freshman squad along with midfielder Max Duncan.
“I’m excited for our three newcomers gaining recognition for their efforts on the field,” Holmes said. “I’m hopeful this is a harbinger for the bright future of Drake soccer throughout their careers as Bulldogs.”

Photo: File Photo


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