MSU Wears Down Denver in NCAA Playoff Win, 1-0

A 30-minute rain delay and soggy field met the Denver Pioneers Thursday night at Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium in Springfield, Missouri. The first half was a defensive affair between the Denver Pioneers and the Missouri State Bears. Denver tried to attack down the middle of the field with long runs from Preston Judd. Missouri State worked their offense from the wings and launched kicks into the box. Most of the half, Denver packed the defensive end, content to make long forays into Bear territory. Neither team could score a goal with the Bears earning the best opportunity to score at 30:02. MSU’s  Jack Denton fired a shot from the top of the box low right and Denver’s keeper Will Palmquist made a sliding save. The Bears had 5 shots and 3 shots-on-goal while Denver could only muster 3 shots for the half.

Coming out of halftime, the Bears poured it on with nearly all the possession on the Denver side of the pitch. MSU took nine corner kicks in the final 45 minutes of the contest. MSU finally delivered on a set-piece corner at 71:24. The corner kick bounced off several MSU players before Matthew Bentley punched the ball into the net for a 1-0 Missouri State advantage.

The Bears dropped back five defenders the final 20 minutes while Denver could create few quality chances. The Pioneers last opportunity came with 2:00 minutes left in the match when MSU received a hand ball penalty several feet outside the box. Denver’s Judd sent a bending shot to the right side of the Bears wall but an MSU player got a head on the ball to deflect the shot.

MSU ran out the rest of the clock with a 1-0 final score, MSU. And the Bears earned the win with a dominant second half.

3 thoughts on “MSU Wears Down Denver in NCAA Playoff Win, 1-0”

  1. This entire DU season comes down to the reality that DU did not have a good midfield (other than perhaps Stensson) to control the ball for long stretches, nor great did they have finishing up front, and those two glaring deficiencies are why DU only won six games, and they are also why DU wasn’t able to sneak out of Springfield with a win.

    When the Bears cranked it up in the second half, DU’s midfield was overmatched, with no answers. And when they did manage their two solid late second half chances to score, Judd hit the side of the net all alone, and Drack’s free kick from 19 yards hit an MSU defender in the face instead of the back of the net.

    Anyway, proud of the boys for a gritty do-or-die run in the last three games to get results and go dancing. At least they didn’t gag it up as our women’s team did vs USD.

  2. While DU’s overall record is unsightly and going one and done in the national tournament is a kick in the teeth, this team deserves credit for pulling it together at the end, winning the conference tournament, and earning themselves an opportunity in the national tournament. MO State was definitely the better team, but DU put forth a valiant effort.

    I’m sure there will be a lot of lessons and learning moments from this season that can be applied to next season. Based on what I hear and read, Franks is a really good coach and with such a young roster, I have to believe this season’s struggles will lead to more success next year.

  3. I think Swami nailed it – DU’s midfield had trouble controlling the ball and creating meaningful transition. This is a young team so looking to further development next season. I think Jamie pulled the trigger on a tough schedule a year early – but time will tell. That being said, loved their fight at the end of the season. Never going to minimize a conference championship and NCAA appearance.Go Pios!

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