NOVEMBER 5, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa - Heath Melugin's golden goal in the 106th minute (105:07) propelled Missouri State (8-7-2, 5-1 MVC) to a 2-1 victory over Drake (10-7-1, 3-3 MVC) in men's soccer play on Senior Night for the Bulldogs on Saturday (Nov. 5) at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
Honored before the game in special Senior Night festivities were Jordan Kadlec (Hiawatha, Iowa/Kennedy), Hunter Kennedy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington), Matt Kuhn (Raytown, Mo./Raytown South), Colin Lawter (Wichita, Kan./Wichita Southeast), Michael Noonan (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier), Thomas Ostrander (Fort Dodge, Iowa/St. Edmond Catholic), David Parato (St. Louis, Mo./Chaminade Prep), Matt Prather (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit North), Matt Reindl (Batavia, Ill./Batavia), Jordan Stanley (Roscoe, Ill./Harlem) and Charles Schwartz (Bettendorf, Iowa/Bettendorf).
"Tonight was not exactly the way you want to end Senior Night, but we were always playing for the win and we went for it," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. "Over the course of the game we created more than enough chances to win, and didn't finish, both goals we gave up were avoidable."
"We talked two weeks ago about how really good teams don't make mistakes. We made them and were punished, but it doesn't undue the quality of soccer and wins this senior class has been able to achieve over their careers. I'm extremely proud of their efforts on the field, but even more so for their work in the classroom."
The initial stanza proved to be a defensively struggle as the Bulldogs outshot Missouri State, 3-2. Strong winds blowing out of the south plagued both sides in the affair.
The Bears struck first in the affair when Danny Frid netted his first goal of the season at the 19:31 mark off assists from Melugin and Gerard Barbero.
The Bulldogs dominated the second half statistically garnering a 13-1 advantage in shots but were unable to convert until Missouri State was whistled for a foul in the box in the 86th minute (85:24).
Stepping up to take the penalty kick was Kuhn, who delivered a clean ball into the net for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
It was fitting that Matt (Kuhn) should score his 10th goal," said Holmes. "Both on the field and in the classroom he is such a great leader."
The match went into overtime where both teams had opportunities to net the game-winner before Melugin capitalized in the second overtime session to give the Bears a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title.
Drake wrapped up the tilt owning a 17-8 advantage in shots, despite the Bears outshooting the Bulldogs in overtime, 5-1.
"All the seniors at one point played with such determination and heart in the second half and always knew we'd come back," Holmes explained. "We went for it and adjusted tactically and it almost paid off."
Kuhn registered a game-high five shots, while Ostrander and Schwartz contributed four and three shots, respectively. Missouri State was paced by two strikes apiece from Melugin and Frid.
Trevor Spangenberg pulled in seven saves for the Bears, while Kadlec was credited with two stops.
"I'm disappointed for Jordan (Kadlec), who in my mind is the best goalkeeper in the Missouri Valley Conference, but I don't think as a group in personnel and style of play, we gave him as much protection as he deserved," stated Holmes.
Drake welcomed back its alumni for the game and Holmes was extremely proud to see his former players and knowing that his current group of seniors will have such a lasting impact on this alumni group for years to come.
"Having our alumni here tonight and seeing them today and knowing one day these seniors will join them and accomplish so much more off the field is rewarding."
Drake now opens State Farm MVC Championship play as the tournament's No.4 seed against fifth-seeded Central Arkansas on Wednesday (Nov. 9) at 3:00 p.m. in Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Neb. The Bears dealt the Bulldogs a 2-1 road setback on Oct. 22 in the regular season encounter between the two sides.
"The best part is many teams are done playing soccer for the year and we get to keep playing as long as we keep playing," Holmes commented.