Riggs Shuts Out Evansville, 2-0, to Advance Men's Soccer to MVC Semifinals
The Missouri State men's soccer team (8-6-3, 4-1-2) pitched its second shutout of the season against the Evansville Purple Aces (7-10-3, 3-4-0) in a 2-0 win in the MVC Tournament first round on Wednesday afternoon in Peoria, Ill.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Riggs made three saves for his league-leading ninth shutout of the season. Riggs continued to be one of the best keepers in the country lowering his goals against average to a miniscule 0.66 on the campaign. The clean sheet was the fourth of Riggs' career against UE in five matches.
The Bears got on the board in the 25th minute. David Buckenheimer picked up an errant Evansville pass near midfield and quickly sent it forward. A streaking Paul Paradise received the pass in stride and chipped it over the Purple Aces' keeper from about 15 yards out. It was Paradise's second goal of the year.
Junior Heath Melugin gave the Bears a cushion in the 82nd minute with his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Freshman Matt Bray dribbled the ball to the edge of the box and centered to an unmarked Melugin. He gathered in the pass and drilled a shot into the lower left corner of the net from about 15 yards out. The assist was Bray's first collegiate point with MSU.
Evansville outshot the Bears 14 to nine, but were only able to direct three on net. Heath Melugin, Jordan Hoffman and Thomas Vania each had two shots to lead the Bears.
The Bears advance to Friday's MVC Tournament semifinals for a rematch with SIU Edwardsville at 3:00 p.m. Missouri State battled the Cougars to a scoreless draw at Plaster Field last Saturday, the first shutout of SIUE in team history. The winner will advance to Sunday's title match with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line.