Aug. 25, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Despite an early goal by the Missouri State men's soccer team (0-0-1), the Bears ended their season opener in a 1-1 draw with Belmont (0-0-1) on Friday evening at Plaster Field. Missouri State took a 1-0 lead into intermission, but gave up a costly goal halfway through the second period to even things up.
"There are just a lot of little things to work on, defending better, attacking better," Leamy added. "There are a lot of little subtleties. We did a lot of positive things, but we made some mistakes and the guys know it. The biggest thing is can we make our next game better than what this one was and that is our challenge. I think we will."
Getting off to a quick start, the Bears notched their first goal in the eighth minute. Junior Cole Alexander, one of the Bears' top returning scorers from 2011, made a strong first impression taking a pass from fellow junior Jarred Clark, followed by a juke of the Bruins' defender. With the net in sight, Alexander squeezed a low shot past Belmont keeper Lou Manning to go up 1-0.
The Bruins made a strong push in the first half, but came up empty with three shots on goal, giving Bears' goalkeeper Andrew Riggs the first three saves of his career. At the half, Belmont and MSU had four shots apiece.
In the second period, Belmont continued to push up field and finally got on the scoreboard with a goal in the 66th minute. Bruins' midfielder Pedro Miranda made a nice move to get open in the middle of the field and blasted a shot from 25 yards out to the left post for the equalizer.
The game got a bit salty as the clock was winding down in the second half. The Bears and Bruins combined for 17 fouls after halftime, which included three yellows and a red card.
"Belmont came to play and we scored a very good first goal and got up and their kid hit a pill to tie it up," said head coach Jon Leamy following the 1-1 tie. "It got physical and at the end of this game, I think we had two tired teams that went through the overtimes. It just became a battle."
Down a player heading into overtime, the Bears were limited to just one shot in the two extra periods. Belmont managed four shots and a shot on goal.
Alexander led all Missouri State players with four shots, three of which were on target. Sophomore Emmerich Hoegg contributed three shots to the Bears' 12 on the evening.
Missouri State will have a month hiatus from matches at Plaster Field as they prepare for eight consecutive road games, including three tournaments. UMKC will host the Bears on Tuesday, August 28 at 7 p.m.