PEORIA, Ill. – The Central Arkansas men’s soccer team earned its first-ever Missouri Valley Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon, defeating Missouri State 1-0 in overtime. The win propels to the Bears to their first NCAA Tournament appearance.
"What a special day, what a special weekend," said UCA head coach Ross Duncan. "We’ve been working incredibly hard for this moment. It came, and I couldn’t be more proud."
Central Arkansas (9-10-1) GOT the game-winner in the 95th minute, when Jake Bates and Chris Holmes combined to find Niklas Brodacki on the goal line. The MVC Player of the Year would delIvered the golden goal, slotting it just inside the near post off the volley.
"Believe it or not, that’s something that we had in the scout that we wanted to do," said Duncan. "We saw something in their defensive system that we could take advantage of; we wanted to get the ball into that space and whip it in to the back post. It’s fun to see something you drew up win the conference tournament for you, but I can’t take much credit for it. Chris put in the perfect ball, Brodacki had an incredible finish. If you’re going to win the conference championship, you might as well do it in style."
Pepe San Roman, Blake Stricker, and Tyler Ridener were named to the All-MVC Tournament team, while Brodacki earned Tournament MVP honors.
Central Arkansas will return to action on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bears will find out the details of their match Monday at noon on the Selection show.
Fans are invited to join the team in watching the show at UCA’s weekly Bear Backers luncheon in the Hall of Fame Room at Estes Stadium.