PEORIA Ill.-Bradley Soccer will open its 33rd NCAA Division I season Friday, when the Braves host one-time Missouri Valley Conference rival Belmont Friday night at Shea Stadium.
The Braves will be looking to extend the second-longest, non-conference unbeaten streak in program history – 14 games (8-0-6) dating to Oct. 14, 2017. Friday’s game will kick off a 4-game Bradley home stand for the Braves to open the season. Bradley is 20-8-4 (.688) all-time in its previous 32 season openers. In his 24th season as head coach, Jim DeRose owns a 18-3-2 (.826) record in his 23 previous season openers with the Braves.
The Braves are 14-5-3 (.705) all-time in season-opening games played at home, including 8-1-1 (.850) when opening a season at Shea Stadium. Despite the overall season-opening home success, however, Bradley is 0-1-1 in its last two season-opening home games played at home, both against Gonzaga: a 2-1 overtime loss Aug. 27, 2017 after the original opening weekend in Houston was cancelled due to a hurricane and a 2-2 draw versus Gonzaga Aug. 24, 2018.
Bradley was 7-0-4 in its 11 games outside the Missouri Valley Conference last season. In fact, the Braves are unbeaten (8-0-6) in their last 14 non-conference games dating to a 2-1 defeat to UIC Oct. 17, 2017.
The 14-game non-conference unbeaten streak is the second-longest in program history, trailing only the record 18-game (15-0-3) run from Sept. 7, 1997 to Nov. 13, 1998. Bradley completed the second unbeaten non-conference regular-season in program history (1998, 8-0-2) in 2018.
Friday’s season-opener versus Belmont kicks off a 4-game home stand to start the season for the Braves.
Bradley will play two games in three days next week by hosting IUPUI Sept. 6 in the annual Danny Dahlquist Game, followed quickly by a Sept. 8 clash against Oakland, both at Shea Stadium.
The Braves will close the home stand by hosting in-state rival Eastern Illinois Sept. 13 at Shea Stadium