PEORIA, Ill. – Freshman forward Jason Lesch and junior forward Wojciech Wojcik provided the first-half fireworks and Bradley Athletics supplied the postgame show as Bradley’s Homecoming crowd was treated to a 2-0 Braves victory Saturday night at Shea Stadium.
Bradley (8-4-2, 2-1-0 MVC) earned its fourth straight home win and guaranteed itself a winning home record for the fourth consecutive year and 15th time in 16 years. The Braves also improved to 5-1-0 all-time at Shea Stadium against Evansville (7-5-0, 1-1-0 MVC) with their third straight win overall against the Purple Aces.
Although Evansville finished with a 21-17 advantage in shots, Bradley junior goalkeeper Brian Billings needed just three saves to record his fourth shutout of the season, while becoming the third keeper in Bradley history to register 30 career victories.
After Bradley misfired on several great scoring chances through the first 25 minutes, the Braves broke through on a bad turnover by Evansville keeper Eric Teppen. Having collected a ball in the box, Teppen started to make an outlet throw to the left flank, but rethought the throw. With Lesch lurking in the area, Teppen ended up throwing the ball directly into the ground and the Bradley forward pounced on the opportunity. After clearing the ball away from Teppen at the top of penalty area, Lesch took a touch back into the center of the box, then shot into the wide open net for his second of the year at 31:59.
The Braves kept up the pressure and pushed the advantage to 2-0 at 34:28 with a sequence that started from a corner kick. Alexei Davies-Campbell started the scoring play with his service from the right corner. The ball cleared the scrum in front of the box and fell to Grant Bell, who drilled the left post with his shot. The ball ricocheted to Wojcik 12 yards into the center of the penalty area and the junior forward buried the opportunity for his third goal of the year.
Bradley will wrap up its brief, 2-game Missouri Valley Conference home stand Wednesday when the Braves host Drake in a 6 p.m. kickoff at Shea Stadium. The game against the Bulldogs will be Bradley’s final home game in October.