The Bradley soccer team came out with another last-second, extra-time win against Purdue University-Fort Wayne last Friday. The Braves unbeaten streak is now 12 games overall, through seven games this season (5-0-2).
The game went in the Mastodons’ favor early as they scored in the fourth minute. The Braves gave up a foul in their defensive third that allowed Purdue’s Romain Lopez to provide service to a running Matthew Lieshout, who then headed in the cross.
Fort Wayne’s goal started and concluded the excitement of the first half, as neither team scored for the remaining 41 minutes.
Bradley head coach Jim DeRose said that falling down 1-0 early was a lack of concentration from the team that shouldn’t have happened.
“Truth be told, we had a bad lapse in the fourth minute of the game,” DeRose said. “I told the players at halftime that we don’t want to go down early, because it’s college soccer. Anybody can beat anybody. The notion that getting two or three goals in a half is something difficult for teams.”
The second half started with high pressure from sophomore midfielder Younes Dayekh, who had three shots within the first five minutes. All shots were saved by Fort Wayne goalkeeper Erik Larsen. Nevertheless, Dayekh was vital in helping score Bradley’s first goal.
In the 56th minute, Bradley was awarded a free kick near the half-line. Dayekh sent a ball deep into the left corner of the penalty box, which found senior defender Alex Ciaramitaro’s head, to tie the game at one. Ciaramitaro’s header was his third goal of the season.
The second half concluded with chances from both Bradley and Fort Wayne, but was still tied at 1-1. The Braves outplayed the Mastodons in shots (6-0) in both extra-time halves. It wouldn’t be until 54 seconds remaining before Bradley finally put one in.
Bradley was given a free kick from 20 yards out. Dayekh served the ball in again; this time he found sophomore forward Gerit Wintermeyer. Wintermeyer headed the ball past the keeper to score in the 110th minute of the game to win 2-1. This was his team-leading fourth goal and third game-winner for the Braves this season.
Dayekh went down to his knees in celebration as Wintermeyer and the rest of the team slid into each other in celebration. The Braves notably beat Oral Roberts University with only two seconds left in their first game of the season.
Wintermeyer noted how his last-minute goal gave him more individual confidence and the team the incentive to push on in the final minutes.
“It gives me a kind of confidence, but I think it was a team effort,” Wintermeyer said. “We were working hard there for 110 minutes. As seen in this game [against Fort Wayne] and against Oral Roberts, we will never give up. I think it’s a good team attitude and team effort. Also, I think two games in extra time shows how we’re doing fitness wise. I think we’re more fit than most of the other teams, which is why I think we score late goals.”
Wintermeyer additionally said his chemistry both on and off the field with Daykeh is what helps lead to goals.
“We’re totally different types of soccer players, but we’re the type of players that need each other to create goals,” Wintermeyer said. “Younes gives the flank service, and I’m the type of guy who needs the flank service. We both depend a lot on each other.”
The Braves were scheduled to play Appalachian State University on Sunday as well, but the match was canceled due to severe weather conditions from Hurricane Florence.
Bradley’s next match will be against the defending Missouri Valley Conference champions, the University of Central Arkansas. DeRose said that Central Arkansas is a great team and Bradley will be prepared to compete with them.
“At their place last year, they really handled us quite easily,” DeRose said. “I don’t think the score was indicative of the game. They were much better than us. We’ll have a challenge, but we’re as prepared as we can be this year.”
Bradley plays at Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. on Saturday in their first MVC match of the year.