Drake rises early, wins late

[NCAA DIVISION I MEN] Missouri Valley champion Drake is the only team that will be making its first appearance in the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament, but the Bulldogs' postseason success is no surprise. Coach Sean Holmes has one of the most experienced teams in the tournament.

Last season, Drake made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, winning a school record 13 games. NCAA Tournament victories over Western Illinois and Ohio State pushed this year's win total to 15 games. The Bulldogs start six seniors, four juniors and one sophomore.

Sunday's 1-0 win at No. 4 seed Ohio State was the biggest upset on a day of surprises. Drake had one of the most grueling roads to the final 16. The Bulldogs beat WIU on Thursday night in Des Moines and then had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to fly to Columbus, Ohio.

"To go on the road after virtually no rest after a hard Thursday game and get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to travel to the champions of the Big Ten Conference and then to play as well as we did and to win was just icing on the cake," said Holmes. "There has been a collective self belief on this team now for some two years and today was just another step towards fulfilling the potential that has always existed."

Holmes' seniors have come through in the NCAA Tournament. Kevin Shrout and Garrett Webb scored in the first eight minutes to give Drake a 2-1 win over Western Illinois, and Luke Gorczyca's golden goal beat Ohio State.

DRAKE STARTERS:
Goalkeepers
1 Michael Drozd, JR. Harwood Heights, Ill.
Defenders
3 Calvin Clark, JR. Overland Park, Kan.
4 Brian Wurst, SR. Kansas City, Mo.
5 Julien Edwards, SR. Ottawa, Ont.
17 Nick Foster, JR. West Des Moines, Iowa
Midfielders
6 Kevin Shrout
, SR. Lee's Summit, Mo.
11 Luke Gorczyca, SR. Overland Park, Kan.
13 Thomas Ostrander, SR. Fort Dodge, Iowa
15 Matt Kuhn, JR. Raytown, Mo.
Forwards
14 Garrett Webb, SR. Prairie Village, Kan.
23 Hunter Kennedy, SOPH. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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