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Bulldogs fall to Evansville, MVC berth in danger

Photo: File photo

Three second-half goals by Evansville, including two in the last three minutes of the match, delivered Drake a 3-0 loss on Sunday in Evansville, Ind. The Bulldogs (3-10-4, 1-4 MVC) now face a difficult situation tonight in order to earn a berth in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

Evansville’s Breana Beine scored in the 88th and 89th minutes to secure the win for the Purple Aces (2-11-4, 1-4 MVC). Kaitlin Robinett of Evansville tallied the game’s first goal in the 67th minute with an assist from Beine.

Drake outshot the Purple Aces 16-15 and was led by sophomore Paige Dusek, who recorded a team-high four shots. Sophomore goalkeeper Kalena Litch collected seven saves.

Each side was deadlocked in a 0-0 tie after the first half. Both squads registered four shots apiece in the initial 45 minutes.

With its season on the line, Drake hosts Northern Iowa tonight at the Cownie Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. If the Bulldogs win and Evansville falls to league-leader Missouri State, then the Bulldogs earn the right to host a first-round match in the conference tournament. If this were the case, Drake would host Northern Iowa again on Sunday.

If both Drake and Evansville lose, then there will be a three-way tie for the tournament’s final two spots. The tiebreaker in this scenario would be goal differential. Heading into tonight’s contest, Drake trails Evansville by four goals in that department, but holds a one-goal advantage over Indiana State. The Sycamores have already finished 1-5 in the MVC.

If both Drake and Evansville win, then these two teams will be tied with Northern Iowa at 2-4 in conference play. Drake would earn the tiebreaker advantage over the Panthers (8-8-2, 2-3 MVC) for the fifth seed, while Evansville would be seeded fourth. UNI would earn the sixth slot.

“We have to keep working hard to change our luck in front of the goal,” head coach Lindsey Horner said in a Drake athletics press release after a 1-0 loss against Creighton.

If Drake does not qualify for the MVC tournament, the Bulldogs’ disappointing season will come to an end. Should Drake qualify, the first round match will be on Sunday.


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