CONWAY, Ark. – Bradley got an early goal from its active career scoring leader, but the Braves (5-4-2, 0-0-1 MVC) could not hold the lead and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in their Missouri Valley Conference opener Saturday afternoon at Central Arkansas (4-6-1, 0-1-1).
The Braves may have been fortunate to escape Bill Stephens Stadium with the draw after UCA’s Wes Carson hit the post with a header with just 36 seconds left in regulation.
Bradley grabbed the early lead when senior forward Wojciech Wojcik finished off a cross from freshman forward Christian Okeke for just 12:15 into the game. Wojcik’s second goal of the year was his 10th career goal and pushed his career scoring total to 35 points. He has contributed at least one point in each of the last three games and in eight of Bradley’s 11 games so far this year.
The Braves finished the half with an 8-3 edge in shots, but could not add to their lead. The Bears pulled even in the 66th minute when Wes Carson collected a ball from Jaden Hoth directly in front of the ball and was able to turn and poke home his sixth goal of the year at 65:55.
The Bears kept the pressure on and outshot Bradley, 7-2, in the second half. Both teams managed only one shot apiece during the extra 20 minutes and both squads finished the game with 11 total shots and five shots on goal.
After playing seven of its first 11 games away from home, Bradley will return to Shea Stadium for a pair of games next week: Tuesday at 4 p.m. versus Belmont and Saturday’s 7 p.m. Homecoming game versus Loyola Chicago.
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