JUNIOR HUNTER KENNEDY controls the ball and looks to attack. Drake closes its regular season at Eastern Illinois on Saturday and prepares for the State Farm MVC Championship next Wednesday. Photo: Connor McCourtney
Drake heads into its final game of the regular season riding a 2-1 overtime victory over Central Arkansas last Saturday on senior night. Senior Evan Harrison’s goal 26 seconds into double overtime was the difference.
Drake sits in fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference, boasting a 7-7-2 overall record and 3-2-1 in league play.
Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs dropped a 1-0 decision at Southern Illinois Edwardsville.
“We haven’t gotten in a groove with wins because I think our conference is fairly even and each game could easily go either way,” junior Thomas Ostrander said. “Last year, there were teams that were clearly better than others, making it easier to put together a string of wins.”
After the road loss to SIUE, the Bulldogs sent its seniors off with a win in their final game at Cownie Soccer Complex.
Harrison’s game-winning goal developed from a long punt by redshirt junior keeper Jordan Kadlec. The ball then found senior Hunter Kennedy, who crossed it to Harrison to assist on the header in the 100th minute.
“It appears we don’t really like to do things the easy way, as our three wins in the conference have been come-from-behind against Evansville, Bradley and now Central Arkansas,” Head Coach Sean Holmes said in a Drake athletics press release.
Seniors Harrison, Nick Foster, Matt Kuhn, Tom Spiess and Kenan Malicevic were honored in the pregame.
The Bears struck the scoring column first in the sixth minute off a corner kick. That held until the 74th minute when redshirt junior Charles Schwartz banged home a free kick to tie it.
The Bulldogs look toward the State Farm MVC Championship next Wednesday, after they wrap up the regular season at Eastern Illinois this Saturday. The team will need to win the tournament to advance to its third straight NCAA tournament.
“We are focusing on the [MVC] tournament now because we have made it in, and if we want to continue to play into late November, we have to win the tournament,” Ostrander said. “We are just taking it one game at a time, though, and looking forward to finding out who we play on Wednesday and finding ways to beat them and advance.”