Saturday, August 27, 2016

Gonzaga settles for 1-1 draw versus Bradley

Bulldogs settle for a draw despite dominant performance | Photo Gallery [+] 

Friday evening’s season opener for the Gonzaga men’s soccer program – and official debut beneath the new lights at Luger Field - was a game the Zags may look back on knowing that it should have been a tally in the win column instead of the frustrating 1-1 stalemate it would become.

The Bulldogs dominated the contest from the opening whistle and created chances at a regular pace throughout the first half only to be denied several times by Bradley goalkeeper Logan Ketterer, blocked by a defender or be just off the mark.

It looked like the Zags were going to take the lead in the 34th minute when Christo Michaelson was taken down as he drove through the middle of the box, but his subsequent penalty to the left post was smothered by the diving keeper.

After coming up empty in a first half in which they outshot the visitors 10-4, the Bulldogs wasted little time finally finding the back of the net in the second period, tallying via Jakob Granlund just a tad over three minutes in. Colton Cavey drove into the box and slipped it forward to Granlund for a nice finish from close range.

Gonzaga continued to control the match and outshot Bradley overwhelmingly again, 10-5, only to see the match go to extra time thanks to a free kick tally in the 61st minute. A lofted ball from the right wing was nodded in by Buseese Lwanga for the equalizer.

“I think all of the guys think that as well,” said coach Einar Thorarinsson after the game about how many the team could have scored. “We created enough chances to score several goals. We wore ourselves out doing it in the first half and were lackadaisical in the second half, although we did score a goal there. In the first half we were all over them. They hung in there; hung tough and managed to tie it up. I think their keeper came up big. They had energy with all their subbing they were doing to continually coming at us.”

“They looked good for the first game, but they are not happy,” he said of the first outing, but noted things that could be worked on. “We are creating the chances. We are there in front of goal. We just have to go finish all those chances. Organization on defense - I thought we were good; and winning headers. Taking care of their restarts – [Bradley] is a restart team as you could see. A lot of their chances came from corner kicks or throw-ins so we dealt with that quite well - except that goal came from a restart. That was really the only miscue that we had.”

Earlier, in the first half of the doubleheader San Diego State and University of Illinois-Chicago also battled to a 1-1 stalemate.

Gonzaga returns to action Sunday in a tripleheader. The action begins with Bradley versus SDSU at noon with the GU men facing UIC at 3:30. It concludes with the Gonzaga women’s team playing host to Washington State University at 6:00.

INWsn Player of the Game:  Jakob Granlund – The senior was a constant threat during the contest and creating issues for Bradley in the box the entire match, finishing with six shots.