No. 1 Missouri Valley Powers Past No. 8 Saint Mary
Greenville, S.C. – (Box Score) Top-ranked Missouri Valley were in control the entire way as they defeated No. 8 Saint Mary 18-7 in the third game of the 2017 NAIA Invitational Wednesday at Sirrine Stadium. With the win the Vikings improve to 14-1, while the Spires finish 8-9.
Missouri Valley got goals from Tyler Wilkinson and Greg Ferone to jump out to an early 2-0 lead five minutes into the game. Minutes late Brandon Newman connected with Mackinley Morgan for a goal to put Saint Mary on the board and cut the deficit to 2-1. The Viking added three unanswered goals to take a 5-1 lead after the opening period.
The two teams traded goals to start the second quarter. Missouri Valley won the ensuing face off and on the Vikings possession Alex Aubrecht netted an unassisted goal to spark a 6-0 run with six different players scoring to take a 12-2 lead into the break.
It was a similar story in the third quarter as Ferone and Wilkinson scored back-to-back goals to extend the Vikings lead to 14-2. Saint Mary cut the deficit to 14-3 as Morgan netted his second goal of the game. Missouri Valley added a pair of goals in the final minutes to extend their lead to 16-3 after the third.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter Morgan completed his hat trick for Saint Mary with an unassisted goal. Aaron Longley and Ben Boyer each scored a goal for Missouri Valley to extend their lead to 18-4. Saint Mary responded by netting the final three goals of the contest for the 18-7 final.
The Vikings were led by Wilkinson who tallied four goals an assist in the win. Ryan Barnes, Ferone and Jairus Villarreal each added four points, while Dan Block scooped five ground balls. Austin Degross made four saves and scooped seven ground balls in the win.
Saint Mary was led by Morgan with three goals and Andrew Orr who had a pair of points. Lorenzo Gioia picked up a team-high five ground balls.
Missouri Valley advances to the semifinals on Friday against the winner of the Keiser-Missouri Baptist game. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.