SPRINGFIELD – With exhibition play concluding Sunday evening, the Missouri State men's soccer team kicks off the 2017 season with a 6 p.m. matchup on Friday, Aug. 25 against Air Force at Cadet Soccer Stadium.
Know the Bears
• The Bears return 10 letter winners – three seniors, six juniors and five sophomores – from the 2016 and welcome a strong class of 13 incoming freshmen.
• Head coach Jon Leamy
heads into the 2017 season with 244 career wins. Leamy has headed the Bears for 26 seasons making him the program's longest tenured men's soccer coach.
• MSU was picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll. The Bears picked up one first place vote and 34 points in the poll.
• The Bears finished the 2016 campaign with a 9-8-3 record, while advancing to the MVC Tournament championship game.
• Senior Jake Buckle
is the top returning goal scorer for the Bears after netting three goals with three assists last fall
• Senior Liam Priestley
returns at goalkeeper after playing all 20 games and posting a 0.86 goals against average last season.
• The Bears went 3-0 in preseason play after taking wins over Missouri Valley College (1-0), Missouri S&T (1-0) and Belmont (3-1).
• The squad will have its first set of twins in program history. Rylan and Reese Lavery
join the team from Woodstock, Ga.
• In the 2016 season, six of Missouri State's victories took place at Betty & Bobby Allison South Stadium including their 2-1 victory over No. 13 Loyola in the MVC Tournament semifinals.
• Earned a 14-7-1 overall record in 2016, marking the second-most wins in program history.
• AF returns seven starters, led by last season's assists and goals leader Austin Dewing
• Goalkeeper John Wendt finished last season with five shut outs and 1.19 goals against average.
• Three Falcons were named to the preseason All-WAC team; Dewing, Tucker Bone and Wendt.
The Bears command a 6-1 all-time series lead over the Falcons, falling just once to Air Force in a neutral match on Sept. 20, 2002. The last meeting between the two teams took place on Sept. 27, 2014, where the Bears shut out the Falcons, 1-0 in Springfield. MSU and Air Force last faced off at Cadet Soccer Stadium the Falcons home field on Oct. 1, 2005. The Bears took that contest 3-2 in overtime.
Friday's match against Air Force is slated for 6 p.m. CST at Cadet Soccer Stadium. Live stats will be available and the match will be streamed on WAC Digital Network. For all the latest information on the Missouri State women's soccer team, visit missouristatebears.com
or follow @MSUBearsMSoccer on Twitter