No. 22 Midwestern State tallied four goals after intermission to overcome a game effort from NAIA 10th-ranked Science & Arts (Okla.) 4-3 in its final exhibition tune-up Tuesday night at the MSU Soccer Field.
"We showed some real character in the second half," MSU coach Doug Elder said. "We really didn't play hard enough in the first half and were having difficult time holding the ball up top."
The Drovers, who had every starter back from a 14-1-4 national semifinalist squad, just kept dropping bombs on MSU.
Jean Gnapi took a throw-in in the 34th minute and found just enough space to tuck a rocket inside the near post from 22 yards out to give USAO a 1-0 lead going into intermission.
The Mustangs would get the equalizer in the 62nd minute when Dan Johns converted a penalty kick, then claimed its first advantage of the match when redshirt-freshman Kyle Baccus worked his way down the left wing to serve a cross to the center of the box to an open Len Smith in the 76th minute.
That's when the fun really started.
USAO quickly answered with another bullet from about 30 yards out as Niall Burley ripped the equalizer to the upper right corner of the net to knot the match at 2-2.
Three minutes later Luca Rasovic laced another ball to the upper right corner of the net from 25 yards to give the Drovers a 3-2 edge with just over 8 minutes remaining.
Just 3 minutes later, the Mustangs had the answer and the equalizer as Baccus worked the left wing again. This time he found a surging Idrissa Camara who knocked in his second goal of the preseason for a 3-3 tie in the 85th minute.
The Mustangs received a golden opportunity in the 87th minute when senior midfielder B.A. Catney was tackled from behind just outside of the box. Paul Sunderland tucked the free kick just inside the right post to account for MSU's margin of victory.
"After going down 3-2, we could have given in but we came back not only to tie but to win," Elder said. "We played a good 40 minutes of soccer but now we have to work on getting to 70 and to 90 all before the first game."
Midwestern State opens the season against Fort Lewis (Colo.) on Friday, Sep. 6 at the MSU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.