The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team fell 2-0 at the hands of Missouri State on a rainy Tuesday afternoon at Brown Field. The Bears bounced back from a Saturday loss and kept their position atop the Missouri Valley Conference with the win.
How It Happened
- The Bears (9-3-1, 5-1 MVC) struck first in the 40th minute when Wilkin Stuart delivered a pass from the near touchline to Josh Dolling, who finished lower left corner from 10 yards out.
- After scoring just before halftime, Missouri State kept the momentum going by coming out of the locker room with another quick strike. Wilkin provided the assist again, this time finding Kyle Hiebert, who headed it in from 9 yards out, hitting the back lower left in the 48th minute.
- The Crusaders (7-7-1, 3-4 MVC) aren’t the only team that has struggled to create chances against Missouri State this season. The Bears have prided themselves on defense, allowing just six total goals in 14 matches this year.
- Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar) made three saves for Valpo to boost his season total to 53.
- Despite Tuesday’s setback, the Crusaders find themselves in third place in the seven-team conference. Valpo has just one Valley match remaining – a home date with Bradley on Saturday, Nov. 4. A win in the regular season finale would go a long way toward helping Valpo secure the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.
- Valpo’s only losses in conference play this season have come to the top two teams in the league – Missouri State and Central Arkansas. The Crusaders played each of those teams twice as part of the conference’s unbalanced schedule.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“It was a difficult game for us tonight, full credit to MSU, and we can have no argument with the result. We got what we deserved and MSU got what they deserved. We didn’t handle the weather well, and we didn’t fully execute the plan we had in place. That’s on me for not communicating well enough.”
“In conditions like these, you need to be willing to play a little more direct and challenge the space behind the other team’s back line. You also need to put balls into their box and shoot when you have openings. We had a lot of the ball but didn’t turn that into crosses, shots, deep throw-ins or corner kicks. MSU did exactly that to us, and as a result, handily won the game.”
“We’ve got a young team playing more freshmen than seniors, so the young guys need these experiences. We will continue to grow through this, and we are still in a healthy spot with one game to play to earn a decent seed.”
Valpo will welcome Eastern Illinois for the middle match of the three-game homestand on Monday, Oct. 30. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. CT for the final nonconference match of the year. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.