Aces men’s soccer drops wild goal-fest at Missouri St.

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Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 11:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (WFIE) - A wild night on the road in Valley competition ended in a narrow defeat for the University of Evansville men’s soccer team in a 4-3 loss to No. 17 Missouri State on Saturday night in Springfield, Mo.

“We’ve got to look each other in the eyes and realize we lost an opportunity tonight to get a result on the road,” said Aces head men’s soccer coach Marshall Ray. “We battled and competed and played and the effort and everything was there. It’s just the organization and willingness to defend set pieces and the second phase of those set pieces that made the game difficult. The positive you take out of it that within a week we’ve played two teams that are ranked inside the top 20 and it’s looked like we belong on the field. As I’ve said before, the next step is finding ways to get results in these games. We’ve got a week in-between matches now, which is good for us because we can get our legs back under us. We can watch some video and hopefully improve on both ends of the field, attacking and defending set pieces, while continuing to maintain the level of play we’ve had. This group’s got a lot in front of them and we need to learn from this and keep moving forward.”

Junior Kai Phillip burst onto the scene for the Aces on the night, scoring twice to lead the attack for Evansville. Joining Phillip on the scoresheet was senior Oliver Hald, who scored in tremendous fashion off a corner kick for his first of the season and second of his UE career.

In the tamer of the two halves, it was Missouri State who opened the scoring. The Bears struck first in the 13th minute as Lewis Green scored for MSU off an assist from Kian Yari. From the 20th minute on, Evansville started to see its attack find success, continuing to put balls into the box and create opportunities against a Missouri State defense that had allowed just four goals on the year coming in. That persistence paid off in the 30th minute as a ball into the box from junior Tobias Bak bounced around and eventually floated near Phillip. The Trinidad & Tobago native positioned himself and flipped, bicycling the ball past the keeper and into the net to equalize the match. The Aces would go on to out-shoot the home side, 7-5, at the half with the match tied at a goal each.

For the first 15 minutes of the second half it was status quo with the two sides remaining in a deadlock. Beginning in the 60th minute, the goal deluge unfolded. Missouri State retook the lead in the 61st minute as Daniel Normann found the back of the net off an assist from Green. Just over a minute later, Hald answered for the Aces, curling a corner kick in on his own to tie the match at two. The teeter-totter tipped back in the Bears favor in the 64th minute with Green scoring his second of the night. In the 67th minute, Evansville struck again, this time capitalizing off a defensive miscue forced by the pressure of Nacho Diaz with the ball bouncing back to Phillip at the top of the 18. Phillip took a dribble and calmly spun the ball past the keeper to tie the match again, this time at three goals each.

The match’s final act came in the 81st minute as Nicolo Mulatero looked to cross a ball into the box when it was deflected into the net off the foot of an Ace in what would end up being a 4-3 Bears win.

Evansville takes a week away from competition before returning to action on Saturday, October 1 against Lindenwood at 6 PM at Arad McCutchan Stadium.