The Bradley soccer team (5-3-3, 0-3 in MVC) had a rough week on the road and were unable to score in their two games. The Braves fought to a draw in a non-conference game against the University of Cincinnati and lost 1-0 against Missouri State University due to an own goal.
While the contest against Cincinnati ended scoreless, the Bearcats had a 20-6 shot advantage. Bradley redshirt junior goalkeeper Albert Reinwart made the only save of the night for both sides after stopping an 89th-minute attempt from Bearcats midfielder Marcello Jones.
Reinwart said that he was happy with the team’s defensive efforts and obtaining a clean sheet.
“Honestly, not many of the shots were relatively close, so defensively we did our jobs,” DeRose said. “I’m satisfied with the clean sheet; that’s all that matters.”
The Braves had a chance of their own to seal the game just minutes earlier in the 87th. Sophomore forward Gerit Wintermeyer serviced redshirt senior forward Richard Olson from six yards out of the net, but a Cincinnati defender deflected Olson’s effort over the crossbar.
Bradley head coach Jim DeRose said the Braves had their chances to seal the game in both halves, even though they’ve been shorthanded.
“[The Bearcats] had hopeful shots, because they were shooting from far out at times,” DeRose said. “We missed a couple of chances very early on, with an open header from Walid [Kherat] and Rich [Olson] had a good chance. I think the guys we had available did well.”
On Saturday night, Missouri State (7-0-4, 2-0-1 in MVC), the Missouri Valley Conference leader, hosted the Braves at Allison South Stadium.
The first half was evenly fought, with the Bears having a slight advantage in shots, 6-5, but it only took almost three minutes into the second half for Missouri State to go up 1-0.
After a Bears’ corner, Wintermeyer attempted to clear the incoming ball with a header, but found the back of Bradley’s net in the 48th minute. This would end the excitement for the remainder of the game, as Bears goalkeeper Michael Creek stopped the Braves’ five shots.
DeRose believed that it was a big task for newer players to go up against Missouri State. Nevertheless, he noted that the team still needs to get into scoring form.
“I think when [the team] losses impactful players [like Alex Ciaramitaro and Nathan Wisbey], the team doesn’t react well,” DeRose said. “But again, we are 0-3 [in the MVC], and the reality is, in those games, [our opponents] score only one goal. I’m hoping with Roman [Schindler] coming back in, that’ll be a big help, because he’s an integral part of the offense.”
Reinwart added that the team is working on its defensive abilities and staying positive.
“We’ve had to double down on the simple things, like defensive principles,” Reinwart said. “We just need to make sure we cover those things perfectly and good things will come. We’re trying to stay positive. Our identity is still the same and always there.”
With the Braves winless in their last four games (0-3-1), they’ll be trying to obtain conference points against rival Valparaiso University (2-7-2, 0-1-1 in MVC) at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
According to DeRose, the team has prepared heavily for this MVC matchup.
“The only thing that matters is the conference orientated match this weekend,” DeRose said. “[The team is] all in on trying to get this result, because it’s Bradley’s postseason future. We can’t just find balls, we’ve got to find more chances.”