The UCA men’s soccer team fell 3-2 to the Bradley University Braves on Oct. 24.
The Braves started with strong footwork and plays, leading to consistent lead hold. By the 40th minute, the Braves had a 3-0 lead.
The Bears struck back with a goal by freshman midfielder/forward Chris Holmes 1.5 minutes from the end of the first half.
The Bears picked up speed in the second half, taking 15 shots. Holmes scored the second goal for UCA.
“Both of Chris’ goals tonight were big time, and just incredible,” UCA head coach Ross Duncan said to UCA Sports. “I would say that Chris is kind of indicative of the team as a whole, where he’s come along and improved in every game, and every day in training, and that’s where the team is. Today was Chris, Tuesday it’s going to be someone else. Guys are stepping up and making big plays, and it’s coming.”
The Bears took six more shots but were unable to score. Freshman midfielder Daltyn Knutson, junior forward Wes Carson, sophomore midfielder Blake Stricker and freshman forward Jacob Jerles all attempted goals throughout the game.
“You know, you never want to shoot yourself in the foot early in the game like that, because you’re always chasing from that point forward,” Duncan said to UCA Sports. “But it was sure fun to watch, because our guys just came to life. What a performance from Chris, that goal right before the half was really important, because it gave us belief and the guys, you could see the light in their eyes at halftime. We came out, and got the goal, and if these games were just a little bit longer, we’d have gotten the third.”
The match played like a game of tug o’ war, during which the Braves had just enough power on their side to hold a win.
“We didn’t play well the first half. Giving up three goals in the first half hurt us,” sophomore goalkeeper Harrison Veith said. “Scoring a goal in the last minute of the first half to make it 3-1 at half was great. We played the best soccer we have ever played in the second half. We kept possession and didn’t allow them a single shot on goal in the second half.”
Veith said he believes the team will continue to push through, win the last two conference games and make it into the tournament.
The Bears traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to play the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts University on Oct. 27.
The senior Bears will be recognized when they take on the University of Evansville at 2 p.m. Oct. 31 in Conway.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 28, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via ucasports.com