His hands are sweating… His team and fans are watching… His mind is going faster then it ever has before, and then there is silence. Bradley Louis punches away Tristan Rehrig’s shot to the far post.
The silence ends.
“What a relief,” Louis said after the Tigers defeated West Florida, clinching a third Gulf South Conference Tournament Championship in as many years. “Penalties are stressful without the conference championship on the line.”
Louis (11-6-2), has been with the Tigers for the past three years, playing 3,218:91 minutes and tallying 127 saves in his career.
“His two massive saves in the final game helped us win our third straight title,” Matthew Thorne, head coach of the Tigers said.
The Tigers trailed the shootout 2-1 before Louis saved Erick Rivera’s attempt at goal and led the Tigers to a position to claim the crown, earning him the GSC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Louis was shocked when he heard the news of becoming the MVP.
“Honestly, I didn’t even think of it as a possibility until they said my name,” Louis said. “I figured it would be one of my defenders or Stephen Carroll for scoring the goal in the final.”
The GSC and his teammates thought otherwise, including Harrison Roberts, the 2015 MVP of the GSC tournament.
“The boys and I were over the moon to win our third straight GSC Championship but we were even more pleased for Brad winning the MVP award,” Roberts said. “Having won it last year I know first hand the feeling to receive the award and I don’t think anyone else was more deserving and blessed than him and he knows it. Congratulations, Bradley!”
The team supported the MVP selection of their teammate, but they all could not stop thinking about who they were really playing for: their injured teammates.
“I play mainly because I just really love the sport,” Louis said, “But my motivation during the entire game was my teammates Josh Gurvitz and Eric Rivera.”
Saturday morning of the conference tournament weekend, Gurvitz and Rivera were in a car accident. Both were rushed to the hospital with Gurvitz in critical condition.
“One hundred percent, I played for them every minute of that game,” Louis said. “Along with the boys, I play for my parents, especially my dad and how he has provided for our family through hard work, long hours, and really stressful jobs. Both of my parents have done literally everything in their power to provide the type of life that my brother and I have right now.”
Even with the win to clinch the GSC Tournament Championship, the Tigers did not make it into the Top 4 NCAA Division II South Regional Rankings, ending their season sooner then they had hoped.
Louis is now officially a senior in the soccer world and he has one more year to get want he wants more than anything.
“Personally, I would love for another conference championship my senior year,” Louis said. “Also, I’d love for everyone on the team to get healthy or stay healthy.”
One of his close friends, Trigg Langner, also suffered a season ending injury during the semi- finals against Alabama Huntsville. Louis is eager to have all of his friends back on the field.
Louis is ready to enjoy a little time off, but is also ready to start the spring season to get ready for his final season as a UWA Tiger. After he graduates from West Alabama, he plans to go to Medical School at the University of Alabama Birmingham or the University of Michigan.