The Bradley soccer team was denied their first conference win yet again on Oct. 13 at Shea Stadium as the Braves fell 0-2 to Valparaiso. The loss moves the team to an 0-4 record in MVC play.
The Braves could not initiate any offense, putting only two of their 10 shots on goal as they were unable to find the back of the net for the third consecutive game.
“We hit the cross bar, we missed the follow up, we missed a breakaway and we missed a header,” head coach Jim DeRose said. “They did what they needed to do, and we didn’t score. That’s kind of been our thing the last several games; we really haven’t scored.”
Valparaiso captured the lead in the 16th minute on a goal by Lucca Lacerda. Lacerda scored again right out of the half in the 46th minute with an impressive 35-yard strike.
“We have to be better in key moments throughout the game,” junior goalkeeper Albert Reinwart said. “Whether it be defensively or offensively, we just have to make sure we are winning these moments in order to come out ahead.”
The Braves bounced back from the conference loss with a 3-1 non-conference victory over Omaha on Tuesday night. The victory brings the Braves non-conference unbeaten streak to 12 games and moves their record to 6-4-3.
The three-goal performance sets a new season high for the Braves. Bradley took the lead after an Omaha own goal late in the first half and sophomore Younes Dayekh added to it in the opening minute of the second half with an incredible shot into the upper left corner of the goal.
“I got a good initial touch to beat the first defender and I decided to keep moving forward,” Dayekh said. “I found myself in a pocket of space and struck the ball with my right foot and I tried my best to keep it on frame and it went into the top corner.”
Omaha responded quickly with a goal of their own in the 51st minute. The match remained a one score game until the 76th minute, when Reinwart made a key save on a Mavericks penalty kick, which led to Dayekh finding the back of the net again just 30 seconds later.
“[Wintermeyer] passed me the ball and I took my defender one-on-one and I cut the ball to my left foot and struck the ball well and it finished into a similar spot as the first goal,” Dayekh said. “After the goals I was just boosted that I can help the team win, especially after the third goal we scored because it happened right after Albert made a spectacular penalty save.”
Bradley will look to capture their first conference win tomorrow at Drake. Currently, the Braves sit in seventh place in the MVC standings and need to be in at least sixth by the end of the regular season to secure a spot in the MVC playoff bracket.
“Right now it’s a tough uphill battle,” DeRose said. “I think we’re going to have to win out at Drake and at home to Evansville to even give ourselves a chance to get into the conference tournament. That’ll be our sole focus. This is a place we certainly didn’t think we’d be or want to be, but that’s where we are.”