After a full regular season, the Missouri State men’s soccer team is still undefeated.
The Bears are heading into the Missouri Valley Conference as the No. 1 seed in the Valley and ranked in the top 10.
They will face the winner of the Nov. 13 Drake-Valparaiso game on Nov. 15 in Chicago.
Senior Matt Bentley leads the Bears with 13 goals, more than double that of the next in line which is junior Josh Dolling. He has six.
The offense as a whole has shown it is a force to be reckoned with. The Bears have outscored their opponents 39-10 this season. Head coach Jon Leamy said on Monday the Bears need to work on their goals against. In the last six games, the Bears have allowed seven of those 10.
Another struggle for the Bears comes from those 16 wins. Missouri State has played every Valley team twice this season. The Bears most recently played Drake in their final game of the season, and won 3-1.
The Bears scored first but Drake tied it up at one before MSU went on to score two back-to-back goals near the end of the game — one apiece from Bentley and Dolling.
MSU’s 13 shots that game sits close to their average of 13.3 shots per game. Opponents average 7.3 shots per game.
Leamy attributed that to the Bears’ defense, which is led by senior Ben Stroud, redshirt junior Kyle Hiebert and juniors Connor Langan and Greg Stratton. Redshirt junior Michael Creek has made his name for himself back in the goal. The keeper has 32 saves for a .762 save percentage.
Leamy said the defense — and the offense, realistically — will be tested during the tournament. As much as they’ve seen the other teams in the Valley, those teams have seen the Bears as well. Leamy said the Bears will prepare the same way they have for everything and take it one game at a time, though.
Leamy said the Bears will head to Chicago on Wednesday in preparation for the tournament. If the Bears win Friday’s game, they will play on Sunday at 1 p.m. All games are being broadcasted by ESPN and can be found on ESPN+.