Men's Soccer Falls in NCAA First Round
PEORIA, Ill. DePaul’s season to remember ended in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Saturday night as the Bradley Braves scored two goals in the second half for a 2-0 decision at Shea Stadium. The Blue Demons end the season with 12 wins tying the program record while they lose just three players from the 2007 roster for next year.
The first half played even as the two teams braved the temperatures and each other. Bradley nearly got on the board in the 42nd minute after Brian Visser made a diving save on a shot. Ephraim Beard took the rebound, but his open chance from point-blank range hit the far post and the Blue Demons cleared the ball out of the box.
DePaul (12-8-0) outshot Bradley in the second half by a 7-5 margin, but two of the five Brave attempts found the net. Steffen Vroom and Alex Mangan set up Julian Chill for a 20-yarder at the top of the box for DePaul’s first solid opportunity of the second half, but his low liner was knocked away by Bradley keeper Mike Haynes to force a DePaul corner kick. Off the corner kick, DePaul got the ball to John Kornfeld on the left flank, but his liner sailed over the crossbar.
Bradley (15-5-3) broke through in the 61st minute when Stephen Brust gathered a loose ball on the right side of the penalty box. Brust put a shot to the far upper corner past Brian Visser at 60:19 for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Blue Demons nearly knotted the match with just over 13 minutes left when Mangan’s shot was blocked by a Bradley defender. The carom went over to Vroom whose attempt was saved by Bradley defender Rudy Garcia as goalkeeper Mike Haynes was trying to recover.
Just over five minutes later Justin Bigelow added the insurance goal when he teamed up with Chris Cutshaw on a give-and-go. Bigelow fed Cutshaw who led Bigelow and he finished the play at 82:59.
Bradley finished the match with 14 shots while DePaul totaled 11 attempts. Visser made two saves while Haynes made three stops. The Blue Demons took five of their six corner kicks while all five of Bradley corner kick opportunities occurred in the first period.
Match Notes: DePaul made its first NCAA Championship appearance... Bradley advances to the second round for the first time in four NCAA appearances... the Blue Demons tie the season record for wins with 12... the 1994 squad set the original record with a 12-5-1 record... the Blue Demons finished the season with a 1-6-0 record at night... in day games, DePaul was 11-2-0... Bradley now leads the series, 5-1-2.