A goal by junior midfielder Leon Taylor in the 96th minute propelled the No. 2 Midwestern State men's soccer team to 1-0 overtime victory over rival West Texas A&M in a Highway 287 Challenge match Friday evening at MSU Soccer Field.
With just under six minutes into the extra period, a cross by junior forward Christian Okeke found senior midfielder Juan Farres inside the box. Farres then whipped the ball over to Taylor in the middle of the box before finding the back of the net to help the Mustangs come out on top in a 1-0 thriller.
With the win, Midwestern State (15-0-1) pushed its unbeaten streak to 16 matches, tying for the third-longest streak in program history. Taylor's golden goal was the second for the Mustangs this season after also defeating Eastern New Mexico 1-0 on the road back on Oct. 11.
The rivalry lived up to its name as Friday's match extended a streak of four-straight seasons with at least one match going into overtime between the two teams with MSU holding a 4-1 record in that span. The win was the seventh-straight for the Maroon and Gold over the Buffs dating back to the 2012 season.
"It was a great game. It's a typical West Texas A&M-Midwestern State matchup," said head coach Doug Elder. "It was a great game for the fans to watch, and we anticipated that. A lot of credit to WT because they played a lot better than they did last week. They were better on the ball, more physical and were pressuring and working hard. I was proud of our guys for staying the course. We could've easily stayed in and let them take the game to us, and I don't think we did."
West Texas A&M (9-8-0) held a 14-11 advantage in shots and a narrow 5-4 edge in shots on goal with the Buffs outshooting the Mustangs 7-4 in the second period and 4-2 in overtime.
The Mustangs defense made several superb stops throughout the match. WT had two opportunities to strike in the first period with an open goal in front of them. However, one attempt went high while senior defender Javan Toledo cleared the ball with a diving save a few yards out to keep the Buffs from moving in front.
Senior forward Albert Rodriguez placed two of his three shots on goal to lead the Mustangs, only to have each attempt stopped short of the goal by junior goalkeeper Patrick Satorie (9-8-0).
Junior goalkeeper Noah Fazekas (7-0-0) played the final 50 minutes in goal for the Mustangs, collecting a season-best four saves to earn the decision.
"We had a couple of chances and they had a few too that we cleared off," Elder said. "There was some good defending tonight. Javan saved that one off the line and Noah came in and did a great job. We're happy with the win and proud of our boys."
Midwestern State next hosts Eastern New Mexico in the regular season finale Sunday with a 1 p.m. match at MSU Soccer Field for Senior Day.
A total of three double-digit kill performances was not enough for the Midwestern State volleyball team Friday evening as the squad dropped a 3-1 decision (26-24, 24-26, 25-18, 25-17) to Texas A&M-Commerce at The Field House.
Senior outside hitter Hunter Porter and freshman middle blocker Olivia Schiffner paced Midwestern State (6-22, 0-13 LSC) with 11 kills apiece as Schiffner posted a career-best .409 hitting percentage with just two errors on 22 swings. Sophomore outside hitter Meghan Bettis also reached double figures, finishing with 10 kills for her fourth-straight double-digit kill outing.
In the first set, the Mustangs overcame several three-point deficits throughout the frame before Texas A&M-Commerce (15-11 , 7-7 LSC) claimed a 15-11 lead following a kill by sophomore setter Courtney Tate.
After MSU called a timeout with the Lions holding on to a 20-15 advantage, the Mustangs reeled off a 7-0 spurt with freshman middle blocker Kiley Beaver registering three blocks and Porter adding two kills and a stuff to put Midwestern up 22-20 to force an A&M-C timeout. After a Beaver kill gave MSU set point at 24-23, the Lions were able to record the final three points to rally for a 26-24 win.
Midwestern answered with a 26-24 second set win, hitting .342 with just one error in the frame. The Lions were able to jump out early in the set once again, claiming a 6-2 lead to force an MSU timeout. A&M-C seemed to be in control and headed towards a 2-0 lead with a 15-8 advantage, but a 5-0 run by the Mustangs pulled the visitors within two points at 19-17.
With the Lions holding a 23-21 lead, the MSU block brought the Mustangs back in contention before going in front at 24-23 following a ball handling error by A&M-C. MSU broke a 24-24 tie with a Bettis kill and a Lions attack error to even the match at 1-1.
A&M-C pulled away early from the Mustangs out of the break with a 9-3 lead. The Lions finished with a .387 attack percentage as the home team cruised to a 25-18 victory to move ahead 2-1.
It was another strong performance by the Lions in the final set as MSU was held to a .025 hitting percentage. A kill by Schiffner brought the Mustangs within two after falling behind by as many as six points. However, A&M-C ended the set on a 6-0 run to post a 25-17 win and take the match 3-1.
Freshman setter Kendall Chamberlain finished with a career-high 35 assists while adding a career-best 12 digs for her second double-double of the season. On the defensive end, junior libero Madelyn Johnson recorded a team-high 17 digs.
Junior outside hitter Veronica Baric led the Lions with 19 kills on a .319 clip while adding 13 digs for the double-double. Tate also posted a double-double with 49 assists and a team-high 20 digs.