The Bradley soccer team was able to come out with a 2-2 draw in their second Missouri Valley Conference match on the road against Evansville last Wednesday.
Bradley was the first to score as senior defender Clark Emerson converted in the 14th minute after dribbling through two Evansville defenders. He finished with a difficult shot onto the right post, claiming his first goal of the 2017 season.
The Braves would hold the lead for the remainder of the first half, but the Purple Aces were able to draw even thanks to a controversial 61st minute equalizer.
Evansville was able to lob a ball over Bradleys defense near the 18-yard line. Emerson, being the last defender, shielded the ball for goalkeeper Brandon Barnes to collect. Evansville senior midfielder Ian McGrath was then able to draw a foul, as he ran into Emersons back. As a result, McGrath calmly finished the penalty kick for Evansville, tying the game.
Bradley head coach Jim DeRose said the penalty given to the Purple Aces was definitely a game-changer.
It was a questionable penalty, DeRose said. Our goalkeeper had possession of the ball, and we were up 1-0. When they equalized it, the penalty was a turning point in the game.
Freshman midfielder Younes Dayekh was able to help Bradley regain the lead, capitalizing on a poor attempt from an Evansville defender to clear the ball in the 70th minute.
With this being Dayekhs fourth goal of the season, he now sits alongside teammate Roman Schindler for top goalscorer this season.
McGrath was able to equalize again for the Purple Aces in the 79th minute, forcing the 2-2 draw into extra time.
Evansville received a red card in the 99th minute when sophomore midfielder Jesse Stafford-Lacey hit Dayekh in his stomach with an elbow. Regardless of being a man down, Bradley was unable to take advantage of it, and the game ended as a 2-2 draw.
Barnes notably won his second straight MVC Defensive Player of the Week award for last weeks career-best 11 saves in Bradleys 1-0 victory against Depaul University. He was also able to make 10 saves against the Purple Aces, bringing his total to 48 saves this season.
Barnes performance was nothing short of spectacular, DeRose said. He was very good again last night [against Evansville], and he marshals in a good way in the back line. Theres a great confidence level in front, knowing that hes there to protect the net.
Bradley, who is now 1-0-1 in MVC league play, 6-3-1 overall, will be hosting Drake University at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. at Shea Stadium. The Braves will be celebrating their 30th anniversary season as an NCAA Division I program during the match.