ROLLA, Mo. – Missouri S&T crashed through a couple of barriers this season on its way to winning a share of the Great Lakes Valley Conference regular season title – then cleared another hurdle Sunday that could also lead it to the NCAA Tournament.
The Miners got two first half goals from Spencer Brinkmeyer and recorded their school record 11th shutout of the season as they knocked off Bellarmine 3-0 at the S&T Soccer field in the opening round of the GLVC Tournament. The victory sends the Miners to the semifinals for the first time, where they will play Friday at Northern Kentucky at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time).
NKU, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, beat Rockhurst 2-1 Sunday and will host the final two rounds of the tournament as top-seeded Lewis lost 3-0 Sunday to Indianapolis. Indianapolis will face Quincy, a 3-2 overtime winner over Drury, in the other semifinal Friday.
In addition, the Miners’ victory puts S&T – currently ranked third in the NCAA Midwest regional rankings – in a good position to reach the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in school history. The top four teams in the region will advance to the national tournament and two of the three teams immediately behind the Miners lost Sunday in the opening round of the conference tournament.
Brinkmeyer put the Miners on the board at the 7:16 mark, heading a free kick from Ryan Muich back across the goalmouth and past Knight goalkeeper Matthew Soyka. The sophomore defender, who earlier in the week was named to the All-GLVC first team at his position, struck again with 5:45 left in the half when he scored again by heading a ball in. On the second occasion, it was on a corner kick from Kyle Schraier, where Brinkmeyer was able to get in front of the net to score.
The Miners added a third goal in the second half, as Jervis Atagana took a feed from Mario Calderon and put a shot past Soyka to close the scoring. S&T’s defense allowed only five of the 19 Knight shots to get to Pat McNamee, who turned all five away to record his ninth shutout of the season. McNamee made the save of the game in the 67th minute – moments before Atagana’s goal – when he stopped a one-timer by GLVC goal scoring leader Brad Barraclough from point blank range to preserve the shutout.
Missouri S&T, ranked 25th nationally in the NSCAA Division II rankings, improved to 10-4-3 on the year with the victory while Bellarmine closed the season with a mark of 10-5-2.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvuWpscpSnY]
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