by Matthew Hevel
A pair of goals from Matthew Bentley and Josh Dolling in the final six minutes of play sealed No. 10 Missouri State men’s soccer perfect 16-0 regular-season record with a 3-1 victory over Drake here Saturday.
MSU ends the regular season with a 16-0 record, giving the Bears the first perfect regular season recorded by an NCAA Division I men’s soccer team since Akron in 2009.
The Bears (16-0, 10-0 MVC) continued their season-long trend of striking in the game’s opening minutes with a Ben Stroud goal in the 7th minute. Following an MSU corner, the senior from New Zealand bagged his fourth goal of the season to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead. It was the seventh time this season an MSU player scored in the first 10 minutes of a match.
Drake’s Liam Wilson drew the match even late in the first half, scoring a header off of a Bulldogs’ corner kick. It was the first corner kick goal given up by the MSU defense this season as four of its 10 goals allowed have resulted from an opponent’s set piece.
After a back-and-forth 39 minutes to open the second half, the Bears secured their 16th-straight victory in spectacular fashion. For the eighth consecutive match, Bentley found the back of the net, recording his MVC-best 13th goal of the season on a pass from Connor Langan in the 84th minute.
Just two minutes later, Ian Jones played a ball into Dolling as the junior forward fired a shot past the Drake goalkeeper to put the bow on a flawless Bears’ regular season.
Stuart Wilkin launched a season-high five shots, combining with Dolling for nine of MSU’s 13 shots in the match.
After becoming the first Valley team to go 10-0 in league play, Missouri State heads to Chicago as the top-seed in the 2019 MVC Men’s Soccer Championship. With all six conference teams wrapping up their regular seasons today, the Bears will await the final seeding for the bracket as MSU will face the winner of the No. 4/No. 5 matchup on Nov. 15.