SPRINGFIELD, Mo — No one stood up, no one pounded their chest. Just a light round of applause after Missouri State found out its playoff fate.
The Bears (17-0-1), hopeful to get a national seed and first round bye, will open the NCAA Tournament at home against Denver on Thursday.
It will be the first time the men’s soccer team has hosted a playoff game.
“I didn’t even know that,” MSU junior defender Kyle Hiebert said. “Maybe in 5-10 years you will look back and reflect on it. Right now we are just going to try to train and get ready to play Denver.”
If Missouri State beats the Pioneers (6-11-3) then the Bears will travel for a second round game to Orlando, Fl. to take on UCF.
MSU had a perfect record going into Sunday’s championship final against Loyola. The Bears would tie the match 1-1, but the Ramblers took the title and the automatic bid on a 5-4 penalty kick advantage.
Allison South Stadium has sat virtually vacant for the past week, the men’s soccer team hasn’t played sat home since November 3.
“Our last home game against Loyola, I think we broke a record with 1,064 fans,” MSU forward Matthew Bentley said. “Hopefully the whole community comes out to support and we just do what we have done all season.”
“It’s great to be back here,” MSU soccer coach Jon Leamy said. “We were up in Des Moines then Chicago for five days. It’s good to get back home.”
The Bears and Pioneers will kick at 7pm.