Bradley soccer survived and advanced in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over Evansville.
The Braves made program history with the win as it marks the first time the Braves have beat the same opponent three times in a single season.
Both teams were essentially equal in offensive productiveness, with the Braves managing 13 shots to the Purple Aces’ 11.
The first bit of action occurred in the 21st minute when senior Nathan Wisbey saved an Evansville penalty kick. Soon after, in the 25th minute, Bradley drew a penalty kick of its own. Just like Saturday, junior forward Gerit Wintermeyer converted the penalty, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead.
Coming out of halftime, the Braves were hot, taking three early shots in the first few minutes. Action subsided until the 88th minute, when senior defender Jack Lang set the ball up for another Wintermeyer score, which gave the Braves a 2-0 lead they held the rest of the way.
Head coach Jim DeRose was ecstatic about Wisbey’s five save performance.
“Nathan made an unbelievable save on a penalty kick,” DeRose said. “He had one of the best games of his career.”
Wisbey credits his success to his concentration, while also giving props to both his defense and Wintermeyer.
“I was just trying to stay locked in and have the same focus on every play,” Wisbey said. “It was a great defensive effort and fortunately Gerit came and made our penalty.”
Wintermeyer touched on what made the difference compared to Saturday’s game.
“Playing against 11 guys actually helped us,” Wintermeyer said. “We made the penalty and that boosted us.”
When thinking ahead to Friday’s semifinal match up against Loyola that sports a 6-1-2 home record, DeRose acknowledged the tough road in front of them.
“It’s a daunting task, they just don’t lose at home,” DeRose said.
For Wisbey, doing well against Loyola is all about talking with his teammates.
“As long as we communicate, we’ll be alright,” Wisbey said. “We’ll let our box defense speak for itself.”
Wintermeyer explained what they would need to do offensively versus Loyola in the semifinal matchup at 4 p.m. today.
“We have to do better in and around the box, we have to be more efficient,” Wintermeyer said. “It’s going to be a very tactical game. It’s going to come down to who is better on the day.”