The Bradley mens soccer team split the past weekends matches for the second time this season, dominating at home against the University of the Incarnate Word and suffering a loss on the road against No. 17-ranked University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Friday night, against Incarnate Word both teams were sluggish in the first half, but the Braves were able to secure the first tally in the 61st minute. Freshman forward Gerit Wintermeyer provided his first assist when he brought the ball down for freshman midfielder Younes Dayekh, who confidently scored his first goal of the season.
Wintermeyer, from Germany, noted how quickly he was able to build chemistry with other members of the team, especially with Dayekh and sophomore Roman Schindler.
The relationship between us and how we have adjusted to Bradley life is a big part [of playing well together], said Wintermeyer. Roman and I both speak German, so it makes it easier for us to communicate on and off the pitch. We are also very technical players, and thats where Younes comes in; he sets us up to finish. Theres definitely more to come from us.
Junior forward Frank Bak was able to provide insurance in the 77th minute after receiving an assist from Schindler. Then, Wintermeyer capped off the scoring, finding the back of the net just 28 seconds later.
Head coach Jim DeRose said he is not surprised how well his team is playing together.
After last season, the [coaching] staff and I sat down and looked to identify key players immediately, DeRose said. We werent in a position to wait for a year or two of development; therefore, we arent surprised by their current attacking output. It bodes well for the future.
Bradley was on the road again Sunday night, taking on one of their toughest opponents yet in University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Looking for their third shutout victory, Wintermeyer gave Bradley the 1-0 lead in the 78th minute. The Mavericks didnt quit though, and scored two late goals to stun the Braves as they pulled off a late-game 2-1 victory. The loss put Bradley at 3-3-0 on the season.
In regards to our record, its an improvement [in comparison to the start of last season] and a product of the teams overall solid defending, said DeRose. Theres no other team in the country thats expended this much within the first weeks of play, though. Its been a drain on us physically, and we have to be mindful.
The players said they have also felt the fatigue from the teams busy schedule.
Not having a lot of rest time has been a struggle for the team, Wintermeyer said. Our defending isnt the problem. Weve been working our butts off, but we need to get more shots on net.
The Braves defeated preseason MVC favorite, Loyola Chicago, 1-0 Wednesday. The lone goal in the match came from Dayekh in the 79th minute.
We defended really well throughout the game, Dayekh said. We were getting the same amount of chances as them. We just stayed loyal to how we play. We knew that we would end up getting goals as long as we kept pushing till the end of the game.
The Braves will host Fort Wayne in the annual Bradley University Homecoming game this Saturday at 7 p.m. The match can also be found on The Valley on ESPN3.