Men’s soccer brought down by Bradley Braves

Michael Harms , Courier Staff

The men’s soccer team concluded their two-game road trip of non-Summit League play with a loss against Bradley University 0-1. The Leathernecks are eliminated from playoffs with a record of 3-10-3 and 0-3-1 in conference and will play for pride the rest of the season.

Bradley set the precedent of aggressiveness early in the match as they went against Tim Trilk, senior goalkeeper for Western, trying to score early. Bradley recorded three shots early in the first half with one going wide right, a save by Trilk, and a shot that made the fans hold their breath as it skimmed the cross bar. Trilk recorded two more saves before the 25th minute and looked poised to keep the clean sheet going.

At the quarter point in the game, Western turned the tables and went on the offensive side of the ball. With the substitution of Xavier Brown, the tides turned as Western looked to score instead of playing on the defense. With five recorded shots in the last 20 minutes of the half it looked as if Western had the edge.

Bradley had amazing play from junior goalkeeper Albert Reinwart with three saves in the first kept the game from having a goal before the first half. Both teams headed into halftime with offensive chances and good goalkeeping, but both teams eager to look ahead for a goal to pull away.

Back and forth play to start the second half with each team looking to find an edge. Last year, both teams ended the game in a 0-0 draw after regular play and two overtime periods. Both teams didn’t want to repeat this again.

The tight game resulted in tough play from both teams with the foul totals tallying up. The game ended with a total of 26 total fouls and 19 of them on Western alone. With no consistent flow and stoppage of play, it was tough for either offense to get a run on the other team.

The second half led to more offensive opportunities from both teams with seven recorded shots form Western and eight total shots from Bradley, but neither team could beat the keeper and find the back of the net. Ninety minutes was not enough to find the difference between these two teams so they headed to overtime periods to see if they could find a winner.

Bradley had the first opportunity, but Trilk remained dominant saving the shot and keeping Western’s hope alive. Then, Jonah Dancer attempted to be the hero of the match but was once more turned away by Reinwart. The first overtime period was not enough and one more remained before the game went to a tie.

Western looked to escape with a win, while Bradley defended its home turf. This period Western had a pair of fouls that led to a free kick opportunity for Bradley. The ball was tipped by a multitude of people and finally hit the ground in front of junior midfielder John Pollifrone, who scored his first goal of the season sealing the victory for Bradley.

The crowd erupted as Pollifrone scored his first goal of the season and cemented a victory for Bradley. Western will look to rebound in the senior day matchup against University of Purdue Fort Wayne on Nov. 3.