October 23, 2012
Freshman equalizes for Western Illinois
MACOMB, Ill. -Freshman Eric Bloom scored his first collegiate goal to lift Western Illinois to a 1-1 tie with Bradley at John MacKenzie Alumni Field on Tuesday afternoon.
The Fighting Leathernecks move to 3-8-4 overall, while the Braves are now 9-5-3.
Early on, the Braves were the aggressors, taking the first eight shots of the game, including a goal from Keegan Balle in the 16th minute on a Scott Davis assist to take a 1-0 lead.
Bloom got the equalizer in the 68th minute. Senior Aaron Appel took a corner kick, which fellow senior Hilary Esangbedo headed back to Bloom, who drilled it into the right side of the net to even the score at 1-1.
The Leathernecks came close to a game winner when a laser from sophomore Mario Alvarez six minutes into the first overtime period beat Bradley keeper Brian Billings, but ricocheted off the crossbar and was eventually cleared by the Bradley defense.
"I was just happy that we had some effort today," Western Illinois head coach Dr. Eric Johnson said. "I didn't see that defensive effort on Saturday night, but our guys picked it up a little bit and protected the home field."
Sophomore keeper Yves Dietrich was solid in net, saving five of the six shots on goal he faced.
The Braves outshot Western 21-15, but the Leathernecks held a 15-13 advantage in the final 90 minutes of the contest.
The Leathernecks will remain at home for two straight conference contests, beginning with a 1 p.m. contest against affiliate member Oral Roberts on Saturday.
"Bradley is a fit, aggressive, hard, disciplined team, and they try to outrun people and run people off the field. I thought they did for 20 minutes and we realized if we wanted to live, we'd have to run," Johnson added. "I thought in the second half we did close people down and we did sprint. We had some confidence and some energy so maybe that'll come through for us on Saturday."