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Early goal propels Drake over Kangaroos

Story by Will Thornton

Photo by Joel Venzke

msoccer_joelBW-w2000-h2000The Bulldogs were atypical on Saturday night in their 1-0 win over the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos, as the only goal of the night came in the first few minutes of play.

While the Kangaroos were given the kickoff and put in an early shot on the Drake goal for sophomore goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod to save, the Bulldogs responded with patient offense in the following couple of minutes.

Drake won the ball back in its half from the Kangaroos in the third minute, and within seconds, it was played to redshirt freshman midfielder Ben LeMay.

His pass set up senior midfielder Bryan Jantsch for a one-on-one battle with junior UMKC goalkeeper Chris McGaughey.

A deft touch from Jantsch opened even more space in the box for Drake’s first shot at goal, which slipped past the keeper and into the bottom right corner of the net.

The goal was Jantsch’s second of the season and proved to be the deciding factor in an otherwise evenly-matched game.

“(Bryan Jantsch) has emerged as our biggest offensive threat in the past couple weeks,” Drake head coach Sean Holmes said in a Drake Athletics press release.

“This is a guy who has matured and grown up a whole lot over the last couple years, and he’s been really good.”

The rest of the first half was less decisive offensively.

UMKC found a good deal of possession later on and even managed a shot at the Drake goal that flew wide of the reach of MacLeod but fortunately found the goalpost and ricocheted back into play.

The second 45 minutes proved to be much more in favor of the Bulldogs as they registered 10 shots to the Kangaroos’ four. UMKC’s proved to be more accurate, however.

Both MacLeod and McGaughey were forced to make three saves in the half.

“Tonight, we created a ton of chances: full chances, half chances, quarter chances, and we found ways to not finish them off,” Holmes said.

“Part of me is pleased about that because it kept us playing until the 90th minute.”

The Kangaroos also fought hard until the final whistle, but their efforts proved futile against the solidified Bulldog defense.

“I’m super excited for Darrin MacLeod who, now in his third collegiate start, has not given a goal up in 290 minutes,” said Holmes.

“I think that’s really tremendous.”

Coach Holmes expressed his satisfaction in earning yet another win, but noted that conference play will require more consistent and quality performance if the Bulldogs hope to come out ahead.

“Usually, I’m more concerned about the performance than the result,” Holmes said.

“Tonight, I was happy with the result, but with lots of room for improvement in the performance.”

The Drake Bulldogs travel to Macomb, Ill., on Tuesday for an away game against Western Illinois.

Their first conference game is on Saturday against Evansville in Evansville, Ind.

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