Missouri State men’s soccer team was off to a good start in its season opener, leading UMKC 2-0 after one half of play. Then, mother nature came in with a shocking occurrence for the large crowd — a lightning delay. 

The delay started at 8:03 p.m. and continued until 9:30 p.m., when the game was officially canceled. 

The match does not count against either team’s record. According to NCAA rules, a soccer game must be played for at least 70 minutes for it to count as an actual game. 

The match opened at a choppy pace; neither team was able to generate much offensively. 

That changed around the 5-minute mark, when MSU began to control possession.

 After a few chances were stopped by UMKC’s goalkeeper Filippo Errico, a period of sustained pressure by the Bears resulted in a goal by senior forward Matt Bentley in the 14th minute. Bentley got a foot on the ball as a group of players converged in the goal area and kicked it in. 

Errico continued to make key saves, many of them in diving fashion.

“We had several chances to score goals,” MSU head coach Jon Leamy said. “We put two in, I thought there could have been three or four more. (Errico) took a cut to the head — he was a tough kid, and he made some big stops.”

The Bears eventually scored again with 17 seconds left in the half, when senior forward Ian Jones — who subbed in for Bentley — made a diving header that directed a cross by junior forward Josh Dolling into the net. 

“It’s probably the best start to a season I’ve had in the four years that I have been here,” Jones said. “Kind of bummed that it didn’t count, but I was just happy that I could help my team. Dolling put a great ball in, and it was just my duty to put it in.”

The Bears gets a chance to play UMKC again when they go to Kansas City on Sept. 7. 

The Bears are now preparing for their road trip to California, according to Leamy. They will leave on Saturday for their Monday night match against Santa Clara, who went 5-10-2 last season.