Nov. 5, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Missouri State soccer team (8-7-2, 5-1-0 Missouri Valley Conference) clinched a share of the MVC regular-season title with its 2-1 double-overtime thriller over Drake (10-7-1, 3-3 MVC) in Des Moines, Iowa at Cownie Soccer Complex on Saturday. Both Missouri State and Creighton finished MVC action with a 5-1 record to be named co-regular season champions, but the Bears will receive the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the State Farm MVC Soccer Tournament that begins on Wednesday.
It is the second regular-season crown in three years for the Bears and fourth overall. The last time Missouri State was crowned regular-season champion was in 2009 with a 7-1-1 mark in league play.
"Our guys never backed down, they never quit and that was huge against a tough Drake team," head coach Jon Leamy said.
A goal by Danny Frid in the 20th minute of the game put the Bears ahead 1-0 going into halftime. Frid scored his first career goal with a header delivered from seniors Heath Melugin and Gerard Barbero. It was Melugin's fifth assist on the year.
At the break, Drake held a 3-2 shot advantage over the Bears. The Bulldogs piled on the shots in the second half recording 13 shots with four on target. For the third time this season, Missouri State was victim of a foul inside the box which led to Drake's equalizing score.
Awarded in the 86th minute, Bulldog junior Matt Kuhn took the penalty kick and evened things up with his 10th goal of the season.
Just one shot was taken in the first overtime period, but in the do-or-die situation, the Bears came through with less than five minutes to spare. Freshman Emmerich Hoegg found Melugin in the box with a cross and the team-leader in goals played the ball into the back of the net to seal the deal. Melugin now has five goals on the season with three coming in MVC play.
"They started pushing a lot of people forward in the second, but we just kept on battling," Melugin said. "Fawke had a great shot that deflected out, and Ricky [Hoegg] was able to get ahold of it and find me with a great pass. The win was huge for us and gives us some confidence heading into the conference tournament."
The Bears will play Friday, November 11 against the winner of the Drake-Central Arkansas matchup.