Nov. 22, 2009

Courtesy Drake Athletics

COLUMBUS, OHIO - In the midst of a scrum came a golden goal as senior Luke Gorczyca's (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) header at the 96:56 mark of overtime lifted the 24th-rated Drake men's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over No. 13 Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday (Nov. 22) at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The win propelled the Bulldogs to the third round of the tournament for the first time in school history and improved their ledger to 15-6-2, while the Buckeye's campaign ended at 12-5-4.

"First and foremost today was a terrific, highly-competitive college soccer match," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented.  "To go on the road after virtually no rest after a hard Thursday game and get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to travel to the champions of the Big Ten Conference and then to play as well as we did and to win was just icing on the cake."

"There has been a collective self belief on this team now for some two years and today was just another step towards fulfilling the potential that has always existed."

Setting up the play was a ball from sophomore Thomas Ostrander (Fort Dodge, Iowa/St. Edmond Catholic) that went into the box and created the action out of which Gorczyca emerged with his fifth goal of the season.

The Bulldogs stormed the field following the golden goal as Drake had taken down the No. 4 national seed Buckeyes to set up a showdown with the winner of the St. John's/Boston College tilt next Sunday (Nov. 29).

"The obvious storyline is of a David-Goliath nature but college soccer is still 11 versus 11 and these seniors once again rose to the occasion," said Holmes.  "Luke (Gorczyca) was credited with the goal but it was almost if all of them were willing the ball across the line."

"I felt in the end of the game would be decided by a scramble, which at this point in the season most of the boys are too shattered to run the length of the field, beat six guys and roof it. Seasons are decided not only by genius but more likely by shear desire,"

The Bulldogs were outshot in the affair, 11-10, but Drake garnered a 4-1 advantage on shots on goal.

Gorczyca led the Bulldogs with a team-high three shots, while senior Julien Edwards (Ottawa, Ont./De La Salle) registered two shots.

The defensive effort by the Bulldogs starting four of Edwards, senior Calvin Clark (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), senior Brian Wurst (Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill South) and junior Nick Foster (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) proved to be the difference in the affair and the quartet consistently denied the Buckeye attack clearing countless balls from the box.  Redshirt junior Michael Drozd (Harwood Heights, Ill./Loyola Academy) collected Drake's eighth shutout of the season pulling in one save.

The game started as a battle of two equally matched teams looking to attack the other with shots coming at a premium in the initial 15 minutes

The Buckeyes best scoring chance came at the 20:43 mark when Konrad Warzycha nailed a free kick from the top of the box that Drozd made a diving save to his left to deflect the ball out of bounds and end the threat.

Sam Scales followed with a shot that was blocked in the middle of the box at the 24:41 mark.

Drake's first scoring opportunity came in the 29th minute (28:28) when senior Garrett Webb (Prairie Village, Kan./Shawnee Mission East) feed a ball into the box that junior Matt Kuhn (Raytown, Mo./Raytown South) headed just off the mark.

Junior Evan Harrison (Evansville, Ind./Reitz Memorial) nearly capitalized off a tight pass from senior Kevin Shrout (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) that nailed the side of the net at the 35:50 mark.

Edwards' header off a Kuhn corner went high over the net at the 42:56 mark.

Ohio State bested Drake in the first half in shot, 9-7, with five different Bulldogs registering shots.

The second half went back and forth as both side had scoring threats that were denied with fine defensive efforts.

Drake outshot the Buckeyes in the second half, 4-3, but was unable to find the back of the net.

The Bulldogs now await their next opponent as St. John's and Boston College are in action on Sunday evening.