Junior Chris Cutshaw’s foot, along with 17 seconds remaining on the clock, was all the soccer team needed to score the game-winner against Xavier Friday.
With the clock winding down, freshman Bryan Gaul found Cutshaw past the back line of Musketeer defenders.
As the goalkeeper came up, Cutshaw was able to get a foot on the ball and knock it past the goalie to score on an empty net and capture a 2-1 victory for the Braves.
“The keeper came out, I felt him coming,” Cutshaw said. “I just chipped it over him and it rolled in to the goal.”
The goal was Cutshaw’s team-leading fourth of the season, and his second game winner. He has now scored six game-winning goals in his career on the Hilltop.
Cutshaw hadn’t scored a goal since scoring three in the season opening tournament.
He said he was glad the team has been winning games, but would like to score more goals.
“It does suck when you don’t score a goal for three games.” he said.
Coach Jim DeRose said although he was already thinking about overtime, his team played hard for a full 90 minutes.
“It’s just like what you tell a kid,” he said. “Play to the end of the whistle.”
Cutshaw just missed the Bradley record for least amount of time remaining after a game-winner.
He was four seconds short of the all-time record of 13 seconds remaining, set in 1993.
The win was Bradley’s first come-from-behind victory of the year.
Bradley outshot Xavier 16-12 behind Cutshaw’s team-leading six shots. Gaul and fellow freshman Christian Meza each recorded three.
Junior goalkeeper Drew Van Kampen recorded two saves in the game.
The Braves have given up just four goals all season, tying the best start in program history.
With the win, the team improved to 4-2-1, which matches the record of last years Elite Eight team through its first seven games.
Bradley stands at 198 wins all time, just two short of the 200-win mark.
Bradley 2, Xavier 1
The Musketeers scored the first goal of the game with just over three seconds remaining in the half, and Bradley was held scoreless throughout the first 45 minutes.
The Xavier goal was the team’s second of the year.
The Braves didn’t trail for long.
Just 82 seconds into the second half, Meza recovered a loose ball and found the back of the net with a shot off his left foot.
Meza is one of many freshmen whom contribute a lot to the team.
“I just consider myself another player on the team,” Meza said. “I don’t think about my age or size.”
DeRose said Meza was back to 100 percent after a bad bone bruise in his right foot during the game against Northern Illinois.
DeRose said he is happy the team has been getting different players on the scores sheet, especially the freshmen.
“I think they’ve adjusted and are through that deer-in-a-headlight stage,” he said.
Cutshaw missed a goal in the 74th minute, but capitalized on his chance in the final minute to give the Braves the win.
Bradley starts a three-game home stand, the first of which will be against Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
“I think we could be happy but we can’t be satisfied,” Cutshaw said. “We have to get better.”
DeRose said he expects Cal State Fullerton and Alabama A&M, the Braves’ next opponent, to be two of the better attacking teams they face before conference play begins.
He said this year’s schedule was laid out so the Braves would face tough teams at home.
“We don’t just want to pick up wins, we want to pick up quality wins,” DeRose said.