Nov. 11, 2011
OMAHA, Neb. -- The top-seeded Missouri State men’s soccer team played its way into the 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference championship match with a 2-0 shutout of Drake at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Neb., on Friday afternoon. With their second win in as many games over the Bulldogs, the Bears improved their MVC record to 11-13-3 all-time. They will face the winner of Friday night’s semifinal match between No. 2-seed Creighton and No. 3-seed Bradley.
Missouri State has now advanced to the finals five times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2008, 2011), winning the tournament in 1999.
“There is one goal that this group of seniors hasn’t achieved,” associate head coach Michael Seabolt said. “We have won the regular season twice, we have been to the NCAA tournament, but this group has yet to win the conference tournament. To get that final piece will be something to complete their careers.”
The Bears were able to take advantage of Drake’s defense that had been pushing forward during the opening minutes of the match. In the 20th minute, senior Jordan Hoffman had the quickness to get behind the backline and create a breakaway opportunity. With ease, Hoffman put it past Bulldog keeper Jordan Kadlec from 16 yards out for his third goal of the season.
With under five minutes remaining in the first period, Bears’ defender Andrew Turner got in position inside the Drake box and fired off a shot that was blocked. Off the deflection, senior Heath Melugin hit the side-footer into the back of the net to double the lead for Missouri State and log his sixth goal of the year.
The Bears took the upper hand going into halftime, outshooting the Bulldogs 9-3. It was just the second time this season that the Bears scored multiple goals before the break.
In the second half, Missouri State preserved the lead, relying on its consistently strong defense that consisted of seniors Thomas Vania and David Buckenheimer and freshmen Andrew Turner and James Fawke. Three of the four played all 90 minutes, assisting goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg in his sixth shutout of the season. In its seven games against MVC opponents, Missouri State has only allowed three goals on 77 shot attempts.
Sunday’s championship match is set to start at 1:06 p.m. The game will televised on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX College Sports, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ESPN3, DirecTV (Channel 671), Dish Network (Channel 418) and AT&T U-Verse (Channel 748). Cal Williams and Ty Keough will serve as the on-air talent for the title game.