Matthew Bentley’s golden overtime goal capped a thrilling late-game rally for Missouri State (14-0, 8-0 MVC) as the Bears scored three unanswered goals to keep the team’s unbeaten streak alive in a 3-2 overtime win over Valparaiso (3-11-1, 2-6 MVC) on Wednesday afternoon. With their program-best 14th-straight win, the Bears clinched sole possession of the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship, earning the eighth overall regular season title in program history.
Following the halftime intermission, Valpo put the Bears in unfamiliar territory, scoring in the 49th minute to give MSU its largest deficit this season with a 2-0 advantage.
The Bears finally broke through in the 71st minute as freshman Kian Yari sent a slicing cross that found Bentley for the header to cut the Crusaders’ lead in half. With the clock winding down in regulation Stu Wilkin found himself in the right place at the right time in the 85th minute. The senior midfielder collected a deflected ball from the Valpo defense and fired a shot from the edge of the box to notch the equalizer, sending the Bears to their fourth overtime match this season.
After 98 minutes of play, Bentley received a pass from Jack Denton inside the Crusaders’ box and pivoted around a defender to notch his fourth game-winner of the season and complete the Bears’ improbable come-from-behind win.
Coach Jon Leamy’s squad looks to cap a perfect home record Sunday (Nov. 3) as Missouri State hosts Loyola in the home finale at 1:00 p.m. from Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium.