Oct. 18, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In a tale of two halves, the Missouri State men’s soccer team (6-5-2, 3-0-0 Missouri Valley Conference) scored five goals after the break to secure a 5-1 victory over UMKC (5-7-1) on Tuesday at Plaster Field. The Bears have now won four consecutive matches and are sporting a record above .500 for the first this season.
“We were able to get into a flow in the second half,” said head coach Jon Leamy. “We were able to play a lot of players, so it was a total team contribution to the win.”
UMKC struck first in the 33rd minute after the Bears were penalized with a costly foul deep in their own territory. Kangaroo midfielder Tom Black found the hole in MSU’s wall and sent a laser of a shot into the back of the net from 25 yards out.
Missouri State headed into halftime down 1-0 despite outshooting UMKC 7-3.
The Bears regrouped during the break and kicked it into a different gear. Senior Heath Melugin provided the equalizer with a one-timer in the 53rd minute for his third goal on the season. Ben Griffiths and Jordan Hoffman were both credited with an assist on the score.
Shortly after evening things up, Hoffman sent a pass from the end line into Cole Alexander who tapped it near side to give the Bears a 2-1 advantage.
Catching the Kangaroos off guard, Missouri State moved quickly after the restart and found the back of the net just 18 seconds after the previous goal. Once again, Griffiths and Hoffman found themselves feeding the ball to Melugin. Receiving a pass from Griffiths, Hoffman crossed the ball into Melugin for the header and fourth goal of the season.
In the 66th minute, senior Gerard Barbero drew in a host of defenders at the top of the box which opened things up for Sean Wilkins. From out wide, the sophomore midfielder sent a low shot past the UMKC keeper and increased the Bears’ lead to three.
To put the nail in the coffin, the Bears were awarded a penalty kick following a hand ball in the box. Sophomore Jared Gain took the freebie for MSU and scored his third goal of the season and second from the penalty box.
The Bears outshot UMKC 18-4 and limited the Kangaroos to just one second-half shot. Melugin, who became the fourth Bear this season to score two goals in a single match, had a game-high four shots and three shots on goal.
On Friday, Missouri State will make the trip to Dallas, Texas to take on No. 21 SMU at 7 p.m. In last season’s matchup between the Bears and Mustangs, MSU held a 2-0 lead, but surrendered three straight goals and lost its regular-season opener, 3-2, in double overtime.