Soccer Bears Punch NCAA Ticket, Host Denver in First-Round Match

RELEASE — Making the program’s fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, Missouri State (17-0-1) is set for a first-round matchup in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament against Denver (6-11-3) as the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee announced the 48-team field on Monday afternoon.

The opening round match will mark the first time MSU has hosted an NCAA Tournament match as they face the Pioneers on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium.

Tickets for the match are available at the gate on game day or in advance by visiting the Old Missouri State Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, during regular box office hours.

“We are excited to definitely be playing another game, the where and when doesn’t really matter,” said head coach Jon Leamy. “The good news is we get the chance to practice again today and get ready for Thursday.”

It’s the first trip to the Field of 48 for MSU since 2009. The Bears are 0-3 in their three previous NCAA Tournament games (1997, 1999, 2009). Previous trips to the NCAA field have included opening-round matches at Saint Louis (1997, 2009), and at UAB (1999). The UAB game marked the only loss of the year for Leamy’s 1999 squad (17-1-3).

As the only undefeated team remaining in Division I, the Bears opened the 2019 season with an historic 17-0 start while claiming the program’s eighth regular-season conference title. Their current 20-game unbeaten streak matches the 1999 team for the longest unbeaten stretch in program history.

“It’s great to not only make the tournament, but to get to play at home as well,” said redshirt junior Kyle Hiebert. “We are just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year and take it one game at a time.”

Denver earned an automatic bid to the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Omaha on Saturday (Nov. 2) in the Summit League Championship. The Pioneers are 2-1-1 against mutual opponents with the Bears this season while riding a three-match winning streak into Thursday’s showdown.

In the previous match at Allison South, MSU set a stadium record with an announced attendance of 1,064 in a 2-1 win over Loyola on Nov. 3. The Bears were a perfect 8-0 at home during regular-season play.