Bears Drop Heartbreaker in Final Seconds of Home Opener
Aug. 27, 2011
The Missouri State men's soccer team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final seconds of the season opener, 2-1, to visiting Belmont on Saturday night at Plaster Field.
"I saw some good things out there tonight," said head coach Jon Leamy. "It's disappointing to give up a set piece that late in the match, but we will bounce back. We have a few days to prepare for Tulsa."
The Bears fell behind early when Belmont's Alex Jenison got behind the MSU defense and chipped a shot past Bears' goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg. It was the only shot the Bears allowed in the first half.
But the Bears bounced back. In the 34th minute, Dan Williams dropped a corner kick into the middle of the box. Senior Thomas Vania got a head on the ball in traffic and lofted it over the keeper's head. Sophomore Jared Gain got the final touch with a header at the end line for his first career goal.
"It was a gritty goal," continued Leamy. "We had players in the positions we wanted to have them in. We had to work for that goal and will have to continue to work hard all season for goals."
The teams remained tied through the remainder of the first half with the Bears' outshooting the Bruins, 12-1 at the half. The second half intensity ramped up and things got a bit chippy as both squads battled to get the go-ahead goal.
Belmont got a set piece in the closing seconds and back-to-back headers toward net by Belmont players netted the game winner for the Bruins with just 17 seconds remaining. The Bears continued to fight until the final horn as senior Heath Melugin's header went just over the crossbar as time expired.
The Bears out-shot the Bruins in the match, 19-5. Vania and Jordan Hoffman led the way with four shots apiece. Melugin added three shots.
Missouri State will have a few days to prepare for Tulsa. The Bears and Golden Hurricane will clash at Plaster Field at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 1. The match will wrap up the season opening home stretch for the Bears.