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Drake survives Menace in "Battle of the Elites"

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines’ two elite soccer teams squared off tonight at Valley Stadium, and on this night, the city’s top college team came out on top. The Drake University Bulldogs pulled out a 1-0 win over the Des Moines Menace.

Michael Noonan pounced on a loose ball in the 24th minute to score the game’s only goal. Matt Kuhn, who has committed to play for the Menace this season, was credited with the assist.

Drake goalkeeper Rich Gallagher saved the game by inches. In the 88th minute, Igor Petsch lofted a shot that Gallagher appeared to catch in his own net; the official ruled otherwise.

“We knew (the Bulldogs) would come to play,” said Laurie Calloway, after his first game as Menace head coach since leading the team to the PDL’s 2002 regular-season title. “It was good to work together – A great experience, and the chance to take a look at all we’ve got.”

The exhibition was billed as a “Battle of the Elites.” The Menace advanced to the Elite Eight of the Premier Development League playoffs last summer; Drake made history with a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

The Menace used this game – the team’s only preseason action – as a tune-up for the PDL season. Des Moines opens at Springfield (Mo.) on Wednesday and returns to Valley Stadium next Saturday to host Rochester (Minn.).

“It was a pretty darn exciting 1-0 game,” Drake head coach Sean Holmes said. “When (the Menace) get a chance to get a team organized, they’ll be a contender in the PDL.”

For Drake, this exhibition brought to a close the year in which the Bulldogs solidified themselves as a national contender. They finished eighth in the final poll last December, and this was the final chapter for a group of seniors who made history.

Noonan, a sophomore, said this was his first goal this spring.

“There’s ups and downs during the spring,” Noonan said. “I thought, ‘Find a corner, and don’t put it over.’” Noonan slipped the ball past Menace goalie Jason Williams, who dove to his right; the ball ricocheted off his hands and into the corner of the net.

Kuhn and four Bulldogs teammates will join the Menace this season. Nick Foster, Hunter Kennedy and Michael Thaden will be back in Menace red, while Kenan Malicevic makes his PDL debut with Des Moines.

After watching his team play 11 versus 11 for the first time, Calloway saw plenty of room for improvement.

“We’re a long way away,” the veteran coach said. “Cohesiveness, togetherness, our understanding of each other.

“We need to spend more time with our strikers, work on finishing, and tightening our defense. It’s a work in process.”

Match: Menace vs. Drake
Date: May 8, 2010
Competition: Exhibition
Venue: Valley Stadium, West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Attendance: 3,012
Weather: Clear

Scoring Summary:     1   2   F
MENACE                      0   0   0
DU                               1   0    1

DU – 24’ Noonan (Kuhn)

Stats Summary: MENACE / DU
Shots: 12 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 5
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
16’ Lawal (M) - Yellow Card, 37’ Clark (DU) – Yellow Card, 65’ Stanley (DU) – Yellow Card

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