Bears Unable to Equalize Late, Fall 1-0 in MVC Finals
Nov. 17, 2013
PEORIA, Ill. - The Missouri State men's soccer team (11-5-2) were eliminated by Bradley (13-6-2) in the Championship Game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The game, which was delayed three hours due to severe weather, was decided by one goal, much like many of the Missouri State games this season.
With less than two minutes into the second half, Bradley scored the go-ahead goal on a cross that was not entirely cleared out of the Missouri State box. Bradley's Aaron Birk struck a quality tough ball through traffic that found the back of the net.
The Missouri State defense looked strong to begin the game, despite conceding four first half corner kicks. Bradley had a few loose balls bounce in front of the six yard box, but with a combination of positioning and clutch goaltending, the Bears escaped the early threats.
Perhaps the best opportunity in the first half came from senior Cole Alexander. In the final minute before intermission, Alexander received a long pass in the offensive third of the field. With his back to two defenders, Alexander was able to turn and split the Bradley duo. With space in front of him, Alexander took a touch and launched a shot that curled to the upper corner of the goal post. Braves' goalkeeper Brian Billings extended his arms and made the save at the last minute.
Missouri State earned several chances late in the second half to equalize on counter attacks, however were not able to find the back of the net. The final sequence, which saw a deep throw-in for the Bears and all eleven players push forward were not able to score as the clock ticked down to zero.
The Missouri Valley's automatic bid to the NCAA postseason tournament will go to Bradley, with the complete NCAA selections occurring Monday morning.
Alexander was also awarded the Elite 18 award. Modeled after the NCAA’s Elite 88 award, is awarded to the highest achieving participating student-athlete at all 18 of the Missouri Valley Conference Championships.