Men's Soccer Set for MVC Title Match Showdown with No. 2 Creighton
Gerard Barbero
Gerard Barbero

Nov. 12, 2011

2011 MVC Tournament Championship Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
MVC Tournament Central

OMAHA, Neb. -- The top-seeded Missouri State men's soccer team (9-7-2, 5-1-0 MVC) 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 will now face No. 2-seed Creighton for the MVC title on Sunday at 1:06 p.m.

Missouri State has advanced to the finals five times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2008, 2011). The Bears will be looking for their first win in four title tries against the Bluejays. In 1999, Missouri State was crowned MVC Tournament champion with a 2-1 overtime victory over Bradley.

VIDEO - The title match will be shown live at 1:06 p.m. on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana and 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).

IN THE MVC TOURNAMENT - Missouri State is 12-14-3 all-time in the MVC Tournament. This season is the Bears' 16th consecutive appearance in the MVC Tournament.

THE MSU-CU SERIES - The 2011 State Farm MVC Championship match will be the 32nd meeting between Missouri State and Creighton. The Bears are 8-19-4 all-time against the Bluejays. It is the second-longest standing series for the Bears. Missouri State and former MVC institution, Tulsa, have met 38 times in the Bears' 31-year program history.

Missouri State is 2-2-1 in the past five meetings with the Bluejays. The Bears last win in Omaha, Neb. came during the 2009 regular season with a 1-0 shutout of the sixth-ranked Creighton squad.

BEARS VS. BLUEJAYS THIS YEAR - Missouri State upended then-No. 4 Creighton, 1-0, in its first-ever win over a top-five opponent. The Bears' game-winner came halfway through the first half on a Creighton defensive breakdown. A ricocheted ball off of MVC Goalkeeper of the Year, Brian Holt, made its way back to senior forward Heath Melugin. From 15 yards out, Melugin chipped the ball into a wide open net to put the Bears up 1-0 in the 23rd minute.

Missouri State held strong in the second half, controlling the clock and allowing just one shot on goal in the final 45 minutes. The Bears handed Holt just his third goal allowed on the season.

Melugin had a game-high four shots and two shots on goal in his 57 minutes of action. The Bears are just one of three teams to outshoot Creighton this season and are the only MVC squad to score on the Bluejays.

BEARS VS. BLUEJAYS IN MVC TOURNEY - The last time the two teams met in the MVC Tournament, Creighton blanked Missouri State, 1-0, in the 2008 championship match.

In seven MVC Tournament matches played against Creighton, the Bears have been outscored 17-5.

All-time game-by-game results vs. CU in MVC Tournament
11/14/08 - L 0-1 (Final)
11/08/03 - W 1-0 (First Round)
11/15/02 - L 1-3 (Semifinal)
11/16/01 - L 0-3 (Semifinal)
11/15/98 - L 0-1 (Final)
11/16/97 - L 1-4 (Final)
11/03/95 - L 2-5 (Semifinal)

AT MICHAEL G. MORRISON, S.J., STADIUM - The Bears have yet to lose inside Morrison Stadium during MVC Men's Soccer Championship action as they are 2-0-1. Missouri State won the first-ever MVC Tournament match played at Morrison Stadium in 2003, against Creighton in the quarterfinals. That marks the only win over Creighton in an MVC Tournament match. In 2007, the Bears were ousted in the first round after they tied Evansville, 2-2. The Purple Aces advanced on PKs, 4-3.

Scoring more than one goal in 1st half: 2-0-0
Holding opponent scoreless in 1st half: 8-4-2
Outshooting opponent in 1st half: 6-4-1
Trailing at halftime: 1-2-0
Tied at halftime: 2-4-1
Winning at halftime: 6-1-1
Scoring more than one goal in match: 6-0-0

COACH Jon Leamy - Missouri State head coach Jon Leamy (Roanoke College, 1982) is 204-144-38 in his 20th season leading the Bears. Leamy and his staff were named MVC Coaching Staff of the Year in 2009. He was also named MVC Coach of the Year in 1995, 1997 and 1999. He led the Bears to NCAA appearances in 1997, 1999 and 2009 and received Midwest Region Coach of the Year each of those three seasons.

STINGY DEFENSE IN MVC PLAY - Missouri State has limited its MVC foes to just three goals on 77 shot attempts. Two of the three goals were scored via penalty kicks (Bradley, Drake).

SENIOR-LADEN SQUAD - On Senior Night against SIU Edwardsville, all five of Missouri State's seniors were recognized including Gerard Barbero, David Buckenheimer, Jordan Hoffman, Heath Melugin and Thomas Vania. The senior class has combined for 302 total matches started, while Buckenheimer leads the group with 74 starts in 77 games played.

FRESHMEN GETTING THEIR FEET WET - There have been 43 combined starts between freshmen Brandon Besong, James Fawke, Emmerich Hoegg, Parker Maher and Andrew Turner. Both Fawke and Turner lead the freshman class with 13 starts apiece.

SPREADING THE WEALTH OF STARTS - Twenty different players have logged at least one start on the year. Seniors Thomas Vania and David Buckenheimer and goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg are the only Bears to have started all 18 matches.

RPI - Heading into the conference tournament, Missouri State is ranked 81st in the latest NCAA Men's Soccer RPI rankings released on Nov. 8. The Bears played nine opponents that are currently rated in the top-100 of the RPI rankings. Included in that list are No. 1 Creighton, No. 12 SMU, No. 27 Bradley, No. 35 Memphis, No. 41 Northwestern, No. 45 Cal St. Northridge, No. 51 Columbia, No. 55 Drake and No. 86 Saint Louis. Missouri State was 2-5-2 against those teams.



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