MACOMB, Ill. -
The Western Illinois men's soccer team returns home to take on regionally-ranked Bradley in a nonconference match at John MacKenzie Alumni Field on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The Fighting Leathernecks (3-8-3, 1-2-2 Summit League) play host to the Braves (9-5-2, 3-2 Missouri Valley) in the first game of a four-game homestand to close out the regular season.
Illinois will then play two consecutive Summit League matches against affiliate conference member Oral Roberts (Saturday, Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.) and Kansas City (Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.) before closing out the regular season against Belmont (Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.)
WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 3 p.m. CST
LOCATION: Macomb, Ill.
STADIUM: John MacKenzie Alumni Field (1,000)
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Click HERE for match notes
SERIES HISTORY: Western Illinois is hoping to even the all-time series, as Bradley has a 15-14 advantage...The Braves have won two consecutive matches by a 1-0 score, including in Macomb last September...Bradley, ranked No. 21 at the time, received a goal from then-sophomore Wojciech Wojcik with less than eight minutes to play in regulation...Then-sophomore Brian Billings earned a shutout in goal by saving five shots on goal, while current Leatherneck assistant coach Andy Ryan saved six of the seven shots on goal he faced.
LAST TIME OUT: The Leathernecks are coming off a 3-0 Summit League loss at IUPUI...Western Illinois took more shots on goal than the Jaguars (9-7), but none of them found the back of the net...Bradley most recently fell 1-0 to No. 17 Creighton on Saturday...The shutout marked just the second time this season Bradley failed to score a goal...The Braves outshot the Jays 16-12, including a game-high five (three on goal) from Jason Lesch.
OFFENSIVE DEFENDER: Junior defender Charlie Bales, the reigning Summit League Defensive Player of the Year, is also an offensive threat in addition to a significant defensive presence...He leads the team in assists (3) and has totaled 15 points in his three-year career as a Leatherneck...he also surpassed 100 career shots in the Leathernecks’ most recent game at IUPUI, tallying his 99th, 100th, and 101st career shots in the match.
CLOSE CONTESTS: Of the Leathernecks’ eight losses, five have come by just one goal: Central Arkansas (1-0), Graceland (1-0), UIC (1-0), Northern Kentucky (1-0) and Drake (2-1).
FRESHMEN GALORE: After scoring in both of this season’s exhibition games, freshman Tyler Chavez finally netted his first official collegiate goal against Fort Wayne on Oct. 6...Another freshman, Austin Gochneaur, is second on the team in points with two goals and one assist...Fellow freshman Ken Tryggestad scored in his first appearance off the bench against Oakland...Other freshmen have been strong contributors, as well, including Erick Bloom (12 games, 10 starts, 17 shots), Maclean Johnson (eight games, six starts, one assist), and Sammuel Worsley (nine games, six starts).
SUPER SENIOR: Bruinsma leads the team with six points on two goals and two assists...His game-winning goal against Omaha was his 13th goal of his career in Purple & Gold...He also recently surpassed 100 career shots, standing at 121 over his four years...He has finished either first or second on the team in goals scored each of his first three seasons.
READY TO REBOUND: The Leathernecks are 7-3-4 following a loss in the past two seasons.
INJURY RIDDLED: The majority of this year’s roster has dealt with injury issues at some point this year: Only sophomore keeper Yves Dietrich has started every game, while just three other players, Bruinsma, senior Aaron Appel and sophomore Mario Alvarez, have appeared in all 14 contests.