Posted: Friday, 02 November 2012 10:44PM

Bears draw record attendance in season finale




The ball didn't roll in favor of the Missouri State men's soccer team (5-10-4, 0-6-0 MVC) on Friday (Nov. 2) as the Bears were shutout 1-0 by Drake (5-10-4, 2-2-2 MVC) in their final match of the season. There was not a lack of support though for the Bears in their season finale as a record-breaking crowd of 2,395 showed up for the 2012 Living Our Legacy game. The previous attendance record, 2,102, was set back in 2006 when the Bears hosted Creighton at Plaster Field.

On a night where the MSU defense limited the visiting Bulldogs to three shots, a goal in the 76th minute sealed the Bears' fate. It also prevented a send-off win on Senior Night for Ben Griffiths and Eric Martin. The pair of seniors finished their careers with two regular-season MVC championships and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2009.

Martin, who made his eighth start on the season, opened the gates with the game's first shot in the 13th minute. The senior from Bentonville, Ark. put the ball on target, but was stopped by Bulldog goalkeeper Rich Gallagher, who had four saves on the night.

The Bears registered another shot on goal and totaled nine shots in the first half to hold a 9-1 shot advantage at the intermission.

Following the break, the Missouri State's offense came out with a sense of urgency and saw a golden opportunity fade away in the 48th minute.

Freshman midfielder Kase Kingery sent a rocket of a shot at Drake's goalkeeper to tally his first collegiate shot and shot on goal. Seconds after the first initial save, Kingery wound up with the ball again and delivered a second shot on goal, this time tipped up in the air. With a one-time header, junior Cole Alexander looked to have the charm with the Bears' third shot in a matter of seconds, however his try glanced off the top crossbar and allowed the Drake defense to breathe.

This was the closest the Bears would get the rest of the night, despite rattling off another five shots before the time expired.

In the 76th minute, Drake's Addison sent a well-directed free kick right at MSU sophomore Andrew Riggs. Unable to get a good handle on the ball, the Bears' sophomore goalkeeper coughed up the ball to a Drake attacker waiting for his opportunity. Bulldog defender Nick Marshall stepped in front of Riggs to take away the loose ball and quickly tapped it in to the lower left corner of the net for his second goal of the season.

The Bears, who outshot Drake 17-3, finished league play without a victory for just the second time in program history. In MSU's second season playing in the Valley (1992), the Bears finished 4-15 overall with a 0-5 mark in conference action. Alexander led had a team- and game-high three shots, while four other Bears registered two shots a piece.

While breaking the previous attendance record by 293 fans, the MSU Entertainment Management program was able to raise $700 for Pastime for Patriots, a non-profit organization established by former Bears' student-athlete Brad Ziegler to provide service families with educationally-based financial assistance and family-friendly activities.

Senior Ben Griffiths on Senior Night:
"Everything has been memorable. It has been a great opportunity for me to come from England and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I'd like to say thank you to Coach Leamy, Coach Seabolt and Coach Coppinger for the opportunity they have given me."

Senior Eric Martin on Senior Night:
"I can't think of one exact moment, but it's been a great three-and-a-half years and I'd like to thank the coaching staff for bringing me on and everything they have done. I'd also like to thank the boys and everything done to support me. It's been great here."

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