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Soccer picks up first Valley win heading into Homecoming

Photo by William Craine

Originally slated as a home game for Bradley, the Braves found themselves picking up their first conference win, road win and overtime win of the season on Tuesday against Valparaiso.

The game originally started on Sunday, when Valparaiso came to Shea Stadium and scored a goal in the first half.

However, due to severe weather and three lightning delays, the game was abandoned in the 66th minute. According to NCAA rules, 70 minutes of play must be completed in order to be considered a full game.

That led the teams to quickly reschedule for Tuesday night, this time at Valparaiso. The Braves won this rescheduled matchup 2-1 in the second half of overtime.

Like Sunday, the Cursaders struck first, scoring the first goal off of a 19th minute penalty kick from junior Ryan Madondo.

Head coach Jim DeRose noted some differences between the abandoned game and the game on Tuesday night.

“In the first half of the first game, they outshot us,” DeRose said. “But in the second game we outshot them 12 to 3, we flipped the script.”

After the half, the Braves’ scored their first goal on a header from junior forward Gerit Wintermeyer in the 65th minute to tie the game at one. Senior midfielder John Pollifrone provided the cross off of a free kick to assist Wintermeyer. The tying goal was Wintermeyer’s third of the season.                                                      

On top of the offensive turnaround, DeRose continued to praise their defense for keeping them in the game.

“We aren’t conceding multiple goals,” DeRose said. “In games like against Drake when they score two on us, we’ll likely lose. But when teams only get one or no goals on us it’s easier for us to keep the tie or get the lead.”

The game would remain tied at the end of 90 minutes and again at the end of 105 minutes of play.

In the 109th minute of play, redshirt-junior forward TJ Rea knocked one in to the left side of the goal for the game winner. Senior Roman Schindler was responsible for the assist.

DeRose acknowledged that Rea’s goal had been a long time coming.

“I’ve known him since he was six, since he’s a local kid,” DeRose said. “ He’s overcome a lot of injuries and even last week he was playing with a broken ear drum. It was very, very cool to see him get the game winner as his first.”

DeRose continued by commenting on Rea’s impact on the team.

“TJ Rea coming into the line-up gives us composure,” DeRose said. “When he’s on the field he’s one of those guys that makes everyone better.”

The win brought Bradley to 2-3-3 overall and 1-1-1 in the Missouri Valley.

Heading into the Homecoming Game against Drake, DeRose commented on some of the things to look out for in their second matchup.

“Our performance against Drake was poor in the first half and better in the second half,” DeRose said. “Drake has the best player in the league in Leroy Enzugusi. They pose a lot of problems.”

The Braves are home for homecoming tomorrow night against MVC opponent Drake, who sits at 5-4. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Shea Stadium following a tailgate.

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