Bears lose final home game against Leathernecks, 2-1

The Bears men’s soccer team lost its final game of the regular season, 2-1, to the Western Illinois Leathernecks Sunday.
“It sucks losing at home,” freshman midfielder Elia Louis said. “Especially being our last game here. We probably let down the graduating seniors a bit.”
Ross Duncan, UCA assistant soccer coach, said the team is looking ahead to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, which begins today.
“We got out [Sunday] without any injuries or suspensions,” Duncan said. “We will be at full strength Wednesday. Ultimately, it’s about Wednesday, not [Sunday].”
Senior midfielder Jordan Prescott played his last home game with the Bears Sunday.
“Even though this game didn’t really count, we still wanted to perform well,” he said. “We have to take all the things we learned from this loss and apply it as we get ready for the tournament. This loss just reminds us that we have to give it our all every time.”
The Leathernecks struck first when junior Nathan Bruinsma scored within the first two minutes of the game.
It was Bruinsma’s fifth goal of the season.
The rest of the first half and the first 28 minutes of the second half were full of missed opportunities and lots of defense from both teams, with neither team scoring.
The Leathernecks scored again, over halfway into the second half, when senior Daniel Lewis, who was fouled in the box, made his penalty kick.
The goal was his fifth of the season.
The Bears responded quickly with freshman midfielder Stephen Williams scoring from 15 yards out, but they were unable to score again and overcome the deficit.
The score was Williams’ second goal of the season.
Louis, who assisted in the goal, said the game was an opportunity for the team to get ready for the tournament.
“Today’s game was a good chance to get us working as a unit before playoffs Wednesday,” he said. “We put up a good amount of effort and tried to come back. We just missed some opportunities on a few chances to convert.”
The game was physical, with a combined total of 30 fouls and two cautions.
The Bears placed six of 12 shots on goal, with Williams leading the team by placing three of his six shots on goal.
The Leathernecks placed 6 of their 8 shots on goal, led by Lewis, who placed two of his three shots on goal.
Bears freshman goalkeeper Amir Pasic, who made his first start since Oct. 5 against Houston Baptist, saved four of the six shots he faced.
For the Leathernecks, senior Andy Ryan made five saves while facing six shots.
Duncan said he was pleased with the effort of the players even though they didn’t win.
“They worked really hard today,” he said. “It was exciting to see them have success on the field. It was deflating to lose, but encouraging to see good playing. We’ve got some great senior leadership.”
He said he hopes the seniors have fond memories of the season and the tournament.
“I want them to make this something special,” he said, “something that they can look back on, win or lose, and know they put everything into it, no matter the outcome.”
Prescott said he was proud of his team and its season in spite of Sunday’s loss.
“Playing Division I college soccer has been a dream come true for me,” he said. “I have learned to have a good work ethic. Nothing has been handed to me; I’ve had to work hard for it. My teammates, my brothers, have helped me face adversity.”
The Bears men’s soccer team ended their regular season with a conference record of 1-3-2 and an overall record of 2-11-4.

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