Late goal from Graham keeps Evansville unbeaten against RV Western Michigan

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The Purple Aces have now either won or tied seven games against the Broncos
EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A goal in the 88th minute gave the University of Evansville men’s soccer team a point on Saturday afternoon against RV Western Michigan.

Second half goals from wingers Auden Engen Vik and Nikosi Graham helped the Purple Aces to their first tie since September 13th in a 2-2 battle with the Western Michigan Broncos. Forward Kai Phillip and midfielder Carlos Barcia led the team on offense with two shots a piece while Phillip also added an assist to extend his point streak to three games. Goalkeeper Aidan Montoure made five saves, his best performance as a Purple Ace, against the Broncos in 90 minutes of action for a save percentage of 71.4%

“Because of the match I feel like we lost two points tonight instead of gaining one,” said Interim Head Coach Robbe Tarver after the match. ” The amount of time that we played up a man, it was disappointing to concede twice. But I think that’s a testament to Western Michigan, well coached, hard working. They never quit, they kept creating chances and took the most of their opportunities that they had today.

“But at the end of the day we get a point in conference, which is crucial against a team that will probably be one of the top teams and maybe get a bye in the tournament. So I think getting a result at home is massive. Especially if you asked me at the start of the game after the red card, it would have been two points dropped, but after being down 2-1 with three minutes left, it’s one point gained. We’re not satisfied but we’ll take it,”.

It was a physical game from the get-go against the Broncos as Western Michigan lost its best scorer to a red card for violent behavior. It took the offenses a few minutes to find their footing with the first shot not coming until the ninth minute of the match. It would be the Broncos that had the early upper hand with the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute off an Aces player. Western Michigan’s defense kept UE stifled in the first half as Evansville only had two shots, with just one going on goal.

But the Aces offense came to life early in the second half as freshman winger Auden Engen Vik scored his first collegiate goal in the 47th minute. Forward Kai Phillip shook off two Bronco players coming down the left side of the pitch and placed the ball right in front of Engen Vik outside the penalty area. Engen took it through the box, placing the ball in the bottom right corner pass Western Micighan’s goalkeeper.

UE had a flurry of shots in the 55th and 56th minutes but would go quiet again until the 73rd minute. With just over five minutes left in the match, the Broncos launched a goal into the bottom right corner. But Evansville didn’t let the late goal get to them, as they immediately countered with an offensive break down the field. Winger Nkosi Graham got a long outlet cross from midfielder David Hernandez on the left side of the penalty area. Graham was placed right in front of the goal and headed the ball into the bottom left corner, helping the Aces earn a point in conference play.

Evansville has the final non-conference game on its schedule up next. UE will travel up to Bloomington, Indiana for an early evening match with the Indiana Hoosiers. Kick-off from Armstrong Stadium is set for 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Oct. 11.