PEORIA, Ill. – The sixth-seeded Central Arkansas men’s soccer team had the upper hand in its rematch with third-seeded Bradley on Wednesday evening, upsetting the Braves, 1-0, to move on to the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The win means that UCA will advance to the conference semifinals to face off with the second-seeded Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars, who edged the Bears 1-0 in Conway on Oct. 27.
“It’s a huge win for us, obviously,” said Bears coach Ross Duncan. “At Bradley, in the tournament, it’s just awesome.”
The game followed a course similar to the teams’ Nov. 3 matchup, with the Bears (8-8-1, 1-4-1 MVC) taking the lead in the first half.
In the 37th minute, Michael Quinn and Elia Louis worked together to get the ball to Daniel Sampedro in the center of the box, where he put it away with his left foot from 6 yards out. “That may have been our best goal of the year,” said Duncan.” There were three or four combinations that moved the ball up from our back line, and when it ended up at Dani’s feet, he took a great shot.”
Unlike last weekend's 1-1, Bradley (10-6-4, 3-2-1 MVC) was unable to find an equalizer.
The Braves out shot the Bears 16-9, and had a 4-3 edge in shots on goal. Sampedro led the Central Arkansas attack with three shots, placing one on goal, and Manuel Montal was the only other Bear with multiple attempts, placing one of his two shots on target. “Dani was a handful for Bradley today, at one point they actually started double-teaming him,” said Duncan.
In goal for the Bears, Cody Gibson collected three saves and his fourth shutout this season.