MSU Men's Soccer Settles for 2-2 Draw Against No. 26 UC Irvine
Sept. 14, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - After getting out to a 2-0 lead, the Missouri State men's soccer team (4-0-3) was forced to settle for a 2-2 double overtime tie with 26th-ranked UC Irvine (3-2-1) on Friday (Sept. 14) at the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational.
With the draw, the Bears extended their current unbeaten streak to seven games, while the Anteaters snapped their two-game losing skid. UC Irvine, the No. 8 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, previously lost to Stanford and No. 13 UCLA.
"It was a good, hard-fought game," head coach Jon Leamy said. "We played a UC Irvine team that had a lot of fire power and our guys hung tough to get the draw."
Despite 10 first-half shots by the Anteaters, including eight of which came before the Bears' first shot of the game, Missouri State hit the jackpot first. In the 36th minute, sophomore forward Jack Wood captured his first career goal as a Bear on a free kick from a yard outside the box.
Missouri State maintained its lead into halftime and added to within the first minute of the second half. Just 30 seconds in, junior Jared Gain crossed the ball into James Thomas, who scored off of a header on the left wing. Thomas now has two goals on the season.
The Bear defense kept the Anteaters in check over the next 29 minutes, however, UC Irvine's Pavle Atanackovic got the best of Missouri State in the 75th minute. Preventing an MSU clear, Atanackovic came down with the ball and scored off of a right-footed shot near post. His goal snapped Missouri State's streak of five consecutive shutouts and moved the Anteaters within one of the Bears.
UC Irvine targeted Atanackovic fresh off of his first goal and the freshman came up big, finding the back of the net for the second time in less than two minutes. The Anteaters evened things up at 2-2 with 13 minutes remaining in the contest.
After battling through the rest of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, the two teams were still deadlocked and forced to leave the pitch with a draw. During that particular stretch, sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Riggs registered four saves. The reigning MVC Defensive Player of the Week allowed just his second and third goals of the season and recorded five saves in the match.
The Anteaters outshot Missouri State 23-8 and led the shots on goal battle, 7-5.
UC Irvine's Cameron Iwasa had a game-high eight shots, while junior Cole Alexander led the Bears with two.
The Bears will return to the pitch Sunday, Sept. 16 when they take on Dartmouth at the Lobo Soccer Complex at 11:30 a.m. CST.