Sept. 21, 2012
CINCINNATI - The No. 23/16 Xavier men's soccer team hosts Missouri State for a 2 p.m. match on Saturday at the Xavier University Soccer Complex.
The match kicks off a five-game homestand that will include the first three conference opponents. Live stats will be made available on GoXavier.com.
Scouting Xavier University Nationally-ranked Xavier continued its hot start on Tuesday by picking up their second road win of the season. On this last road trip the Musketeers also earned a 1-1 draw against Virginia. Xavier's offense has been vital to its unbeaten start, scoring at least one goal in the team's first seven matches. Luke Spencer (7g, 3a) is the main threat and is accompanied by Gino De Paoli (3g, 2a), Matt Walker (2g, 3a) and Will Walker (2g, 2a).
The Musketeers' defense picked up their first shutout in dominating fashion against IPFW. Xavier surrendered only five shots on the night the lowest total under head coach Andy Fleming. Goalkeeper Justin Marshall lowered his goals against average to 0.82.
Scouting Missouri State The Bears are off to a 4-1-3 start and were handed their first loss of the season by Dartmouth in double overtime on Sunday. Offensively Missouri State is charged by Cole Alexander (3 g), Jared Gain (1g, 3a) and James Thomas (2g). The Bears have scored 10 goals, seven of which have come in the first half. They average 11.1 shots per match.
Missouri State's stifling defense has been the key to their strong start allowing just four goals in eight matches. Andrew Riggs (0.46 GAA) has been a mainstay for the Bears in goal. He has five shutouts to his name this year.
Last Match The Musketeers' offense produced a season-high 32 shots in a 2-0 victory over IPFW on Tuesday. Gino De Paoli and Luke Spencer scored in the victory and the Xavier defense recorded its first shutout of the season.
Series History Xavier and Missouri State will be playing each other for the first time on Saturday. The Bears will be the second of three teams that the Musketeers will face for the first time. The other schools are Virginia and VCU.
Spencer Ties Own Mark With his goal in the 89th minute of Tuesday's victory over IPFW forward Luke Spencer tied his personal best for single-season goals. It was the senior's seventh goal in as many games this season tying him for the same figure he tallied in 21 games last year. He leads the conference in goals and is tied for third with three assists.
Welcome Home Saturday's game against Missouri State kicks off a five-game homestand for the Musketeers. After the Bears visit Xavier will host Thomas More (Sept. 27) before beginning conference play against Saint Louis (Oct. 5), Butler (Oct. 7), and Dayton (Oct. 13). Xavier is 8-1-1 at home since the 2011 season and has won all three home matches this year.
Unbeaten Streak A win or a tie against Missouri State will give Xavier a tie for the longest unbeaten streak in program history. The current best unbeaten streak came in 1992 when XU rattled off a 4-0-4 record the middle of the season. In addition, the Musketeers' start to the season is the best in program history.
Moving On Up Earlier this week the Musketeers moved up one spot to No. 23 in the NSCAA rankings and jumped to No. 16 - three spots - in the Soccer America poll. It is the highest ranking Xavier has ever received from Soccer America and ties the highest from NSCAA.