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Braves’ offense explodes versus Leathernecks

Midfielder Jared Sinnaeve dribbles past a defender. Photo by Josh Schwam/Bradley Athletics

The Bradley soccer team (4-0-2) continued their success against non-conference opponents with a victory over Western Illinois (0-5-1) on Friday. The Braves put on a clinic on both sides of the ball, shutting out the Leathernecks and scoring the most goals of their season en route to the 4-0 victory.

Getting comfortable

The first few minutes of the match were a feeling-out period for both teams. The Braves and Leathernecks got through each other’s defenses but couldn’t get a decent look at a goal.

The tide turned in the 20th minute after a costly offside from Western Illinois. Following the error, Bradley quickly moved the ball down the field and scored courtesy of junior Kevin Mejias, his second goal of the year.

After the score, the Braves stayed on the attack. Seven minutes later, Bradley scored again, this time courtesy of junior Claudel Ngongang.

For the remainder of the first half, both teams kept each other at bay. Outside of the two scores from the Braves, hardly any shots were on goal. Bradley finished the first half with four shots while the Leathernecks had three.

Sealing the deal

In the second half, both teams came out aggressive. During the first 10 minutes, each team jockeyed for possesion to seize the upper hand. In that short span, Bradley and Western Illinois combined for three fouls and a yellow card.

At the 58th-minute mark, the Braves struck gold again.

Senior Jared Sinnaeve connected on a goal to give Bradley a commanding 3-0 lead. The goal was his first of the season after having multiple opportunities barely miss the target in previous games.

After the Braves’ third score of the night, the Leathernecks got more aggressive in their play, registering four fouls in two minutes. Despite the hostile play, Bradley scored again in the 71st minute. The Braves’ fourth and final goal came by way of junior Joao Saraiva, his first of the season.

As the game came to a close, Bradley kept Western Illinois at bay, allowing just two shots in the final 13 minutes and securing the 4-0 shutout.

The Braves look to keep their undefeated season alive on Saturday against SIU Edwardsville.

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