by Matthew Hevel
Matthew Bentley recorded his second straight brace to lead No. 14 Missouri State (10-0-0, 4-0-0 MVC) in a 3-0 win over Bradley (3-4-3, 2-2-1 MVC) in men’s soccer here Wednesday night at Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium.
It was the tenth straight win for the 14th-ranked Bears who continue their best start in program history. The club’s 10-game winning streak is MSU’s longest stretch since the 1999 team won 12 in a row.
The scoreboard remained scoreless for less than a minute with MSU jumping out to an early 1-0 lead just moments after kickoff. It was a trio of seniors who led the Bears to the first goal of the match as Stuart Wilkin played a ball into the Bradley box that Bentley was able to corral. Bentley quickly found Ian Jones toward the left-center of the box as Jones connected on his open look to notch his third goal of the season.
Bentley opened up his scoring for the night in the 13th minute of the match. The senior forward wrestled the ball away from multiple Bradley defenders on the edge of the box and was able to slip a shot past Bradley keeper Nathan Wisbey to push the Bears’ lead to 2-0.
In the 32nd minute, Bentley found himself in the right place to score his second goal of the game. Jack Denton sent in a corner set piece for MSU which deflected off Josh Dolling and into the foot of Bentley who flicked a shot into the upper left corner of the Braves’ goal.
Bentley tallied a season-high five points with his two goals and an assist for the Bears. Four of his five goals on the season have come in back-to-back matches after scoring a pair of goals at Evansville on Oct. 5. Jones added two shots in the match for his second multi-shot game this season.
MSU goalkeeper, Michael Creek, secured his 11th career shutout – and fifth this season — tying him with Lance Parker (2004-07) for sixth on career shutouts for the Bears.
“It’s a team effort with all the coaches and players making sure we are prepared every week and every game”, said Creek. “The backline in front of me always work hard and leaves everything on the field and they did that again tonight.”
MSU recorded its fourth straight shutout, having kept its opponents off the scoreboard since the first half of the Bears’ overtime win against Loyola on Sept. 22.
With the three goals Wednesday, the Bears have outscored their opponents 24-3 this season, including an 11-0 margin in the second half and overtime.