Oct. 6, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State men's soccer team (5-3-3, 0-1-0 MVC) suffered a 1-0 defeat in its league opener to a Bradley squad (7-3-2, 1-0-0 MVC) fresh off a win over No. 22 Northwestern. The visiting Braves capitalized on a mishap deep in the Missouri State box in the first half and continued to put the pressure on the Bears' offense throughout the remainder of the contest.
"It's going down 1-nil to Bradley," said head coach Jon Leamy. "They're a good, organized team defensively and they don't give anything up. Hopefully lessons were learned on conference play. I think our guys got a really good taste of what it's like."
Early in the contest, Missouri State midfielder Jack Roberts got an open look in the sixth minute. Although the attempt was on target, Roberts' shot resulted in a save. It would remain the only shot for the Bears until the 54th minute of play.
Bradley, however, added its second and third shots of the half less than a minute apart. The first shot by J.T. Kotowski was blocked, but 30 seconds later, he had a second chance. Unfortunately, it happened at the expense of a botched clear off a corner kick. Kotowski received the ricocheted ball at his feet and with an open lane in the box, he scored with a shot to the lower left corner of the net.
At halftime, the two teams had a combined four shots.
The Bears continued to attack the sturdy Bradley defense after the break and missed on a few opportunities early on. With about 12 minutes remaining in regulation, the MSU coaching staff took a different approach at the Braves and subbed out all of the backline, except for sophomore defender James Fawke.
Despite a valiant effort by the surging MSU offense, Bradley goalkeeper Brian Billings secured his third shutout of the season with three saves in the match.
"Our guys played hard, Bradley played hard, but we had a mishap where we gave up the goal," Leamy added. "It was a misclear and with their second effort, they buried it."
Sophomore Jack Wood led Missouri State with two shots, both of which were on goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Riggs collected just one save in 90 minutes.
The Bears conclude their three-game homestand on Wednesday evening and will look to rebound in MVC play with a 7 p.m. match with Evansville.