ST. LOUIS – A pair of Bradley Soccer players have landed on the preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference team and the Braves have been tabbed to finish third in the preseason league poll, according to an announcement from the league office Tuesday afternoon.
In a poll of The Valley’s seven men’s soccer head coach, Bradley junior goalkeeper Brian Billings (Apple Valley, Minn./Shattuck-St. Mary’s) and senior forward Jochen Graf (Double Oak, Texas/Faustina Academy) were selected for the 13-player preseason all-conference team. The Braves earned 34 points in the team rankings, trailing Creighton (46) and Missouri State (38).
Billings was a third-team NSCAA All-Midwest Region and a second-team All-MVC performer in 2011, when he posted a 14-6-2 record, a 0.816 saves percentage and a 0.94 goals against average. He has been Bradley’s starting keeper in each of his first two seasons, helping the Braves to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in program history.
Graf is Bradley’s active career scoring leader with 28 points on eight goals and 12 assists through his first three years on The Hilltop. He was an honorable mention All-MVC forward in 2011, when he posted 11 points on four goals and three assists, and he was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week Sept. 14, 2011 after recording the fastest “golden goal” in program history by scoring 35 seconds into overtime for a 2-1 upset of then No. 8 South Florida at the Dartmouth Classic.
The Braves will face outside competition for the only time in the preseason tonight when Dayton visits for a 7:30 p.m. exhibition game at Morton’s McClallen Park. The exhibition game will be preceded by a Bradley Community Night Event at McClallen Park, beginning at 6 p.m. with a half-hour autograph session with the team. The Bradley Volleyball team will be available for autographs from 6:30-7 p.m. and a brief speaking program will follow with remarks from Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Cross and head coaches Jim DeRose (soccer), Jenny Maurer (volleyball), Geno Ford (men’s basketball) and Michael Brooks (women’s basketball). The Community Night event also will include kids activities and prize drawings.
Admission to both the Community Night event and the soccer exhibition game is free.