Men's Soccer Team Falls to SLU, 2-1, in NCAA Tournament First Round
ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri State men's soccer team (12-5-2) fell to Saint Louis University (15-6-0) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in front of 1,377 fans at Robert R. Hermann Stadium tonight by a final of 2-1.
The Bears outshot the Billikens 22-5 in the match. Nine of the Bears' shots were on goal, forcing SLU's Ross Kaufman to make eight saves. Edin Sabic had six shots, and Heath Melugin added four for Missouri State. The Bears earned three corners to the Billikens' four.
The Bears applied early offensive pressure in the match with Johannes Demarzi recording two of the team's three shots on goal in the first eight minutes. Despite controlling the match early, MSU gave up the first goal when Tim Ream helped SLU capitalize on a free kick from 45 yards out after a pair of Bears' fouls near midfield. Ream served the ball into the box and found James Dice, who beat Alex Riggs with a header to give the Billikens a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.
In the 17th minute, Missouri State defender Ryan Hennessy was called for a foul in the box after a battle with Stephen Bortolon. SLU's leading scorer Mike Roach took a penalty kick and converted to put the Billikens up 2-0.
Misouri State outshot the Billikens 12-3 in the first half. Sabic tallied five of the Bears' shots.
The Bears got on the board just five minutes into the second half. Jordan Hoffman stole the ball at the top of the box and fed it ahead to Melugin. Melugin drilled a high shot off the bottom of the crossbar and into the goal to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was Melugin's sixth goal of the year.
Missouri State continued its offensive onslaught the rest of the half, outshooting SLU by a 10-2 margin in the second period. However, No. 22 MSU but could not find the back of net again before time expired and ended the team's dream season.
"Our guys battled out there tonight," said head coach Jon Leamy. "You could tell we wanted this game, but it's tough to come back from a 2-0 hole against a good team like Saint Louis. They are a well-coached team."
Missouri State fell to 0-3 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including previous first-round losses to Saint Louis in 1997 (2-0) and Alabama-Birmingham in 1999 (2-1).
The Bears' 12 wins are their most since 2005 when they finished 12-4-2. The 2009 win total is also the sixth-highest win total in school history.