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Soccer gets back on the right track in the MVC

Originally published October 22, 2010

The pressures of playing in front of a packed house were all the Braves needed to break out in Missouri Valley Conference play on Homecoming weekend.

“Winning at Homecoming is always a great thing. The best part is the fans and the energy and that makes it a doubly special thing.” coach Jim DeRose said. ”With a lot of sports, you get to pick your Homecoming game, and ours just happened to be a conference game. It was just kind of the schedule fell.”

The Braves secured a 3-1 victory over Central Arkansas behind Bryan Gaul’s two first-half goals.

Gaul’s first goal came in the 37th minute off an assist from freshman Aodhan Quinn. It was Quinn’s sixth assist of the season.

Gaul’s second tally came less than three minutes later, off a pass from freshman Wojciech Wojcik.

“It’s probably poor coaching on my part not to move [Gaul] up there quicker,” DeRose said about Gaul’s offensive surge. “Bryan is certainly one of the most talented technical players in the country. He has given us such a composure level, to hold [the ball] until we can attack. I think the most important thing is his goal-scoring prowess. The amount of goals he has compared to his shots taken is ridiculous.”

Central Arkansas halved the score to kick off the scoring in the second half in the 60th minute.

Gaul set up the final goal in the 69th minute for freshman Keegan Balle, who put the game out of reach with his second goal this season.

This victory not only came on  the soccer team’s biggest night, but it put the Braves in the win column in MVC play for the first time this season.

“It’s obviously important to hopefully get that win behind us,” DeRose said. “I thought the guys had a pretty comprehensive performance and they got the goals they needed. It was a good performance.”

On Wednesday, the Braves traveled to Charleston to play the Panthers of Eastern Illinois. Bryan Gaul pushed his team-high goal total for the season to 10 with a goal in the 62nd minute.

His goal gave the Braves the lead, which they held until the 84th minute when the Panthers tied the game for good.

The Braves return home on Sunday to host the Evansville Purple Aces.

“Our conference stretch now is arguably the three most talented teams in the conference in a row,” DeRose said. “Evansville was the preseason conference pick of the year. We’re just going to have to try to continue to be competitive for 90 minutes.”