Despite leading for 57 minutes, the Bradley men’s soccer team lost 2-1 to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday in the Missouri Valley Conference semi-finals. A goal in the 22nd minute by senior Cody Lofgren wasn’t enough to fend off the Cougars.
“The shot count was disproportionate,” head coach Jim DeRose said. “But Logan [Ketterer] didn’t have to make many saves.”
Although SIUE attempted 27 shots in the contest, only six of the team’s shots were on goal, while four of the Braves seven shots were on net.
“Before the game, we talked about wanting to keep their shots from distance and to not let them get behind us,” DeRose said. “I think we did a good job at that.”
The Braves’ only goal came off a cross from Richard Olson on the right side to Lofgren, who headed the ball into the back of the net. It was Lofgren’s seventh goal on the season. Lofgren’s seven goals led the Braves and the MVC as well.
However, a controversial call in the 79th minute led to a penalty kick and goal for SIUE.
“The penalty changed the complexion of the game,” DeRose said. ”They started pressing, and we came out of our shell.”
DeRose said that the Braves did a good job of keeping the Cougars in front of them on the defensive end. However, Bradley let the Cougars back into the game with a penalty kick to tie the game at one with 78:04 left in the game.
Another goal in the 85th minute by Cougar would be the last score of the contest, effectively ending Bradley’s season.
“The kid scored a great goal; he just got behind us,” DeRose said.
The Braves finished the season with a losing record of 8-10, but DeRose said that there are definitely areas that need to be improved for next season.
“We led the league in scoring and assists, but in conference play, we didn’t do very well on the attack.” DeRose said.
DeRose said that he also wants to see a tighter defensive effort throughout the season next year. Overall, the head coach said this season was much different than in previous years.
“It was one of those seasons where it was game-to-game,” DeRose said. “We had disjointed lineups because of all the injuries. It’s hard to characterize the season…but I think it was a lost opportunity for the players and the team. We overcame a lot this year, though, and I thought the kids did a good job.”
With the Braves’ season over, DeRose said that the goals for his teams remain the same every year: getting back to the NCAA tournament.
“We try to make it to the NCAA tournament every year, and we were one game away from that,” DeRose said. “We also finished under .500, which isn’t what we wanted.”