#3 MSU men take Heartland title with 2-0 win

(Source: Midwestern State University)
(Source: Midwestern State University)

WICHITA, KS (KAUZ) - For the second-straight season, Midwestern State came out on top in the Heartland Conference standings to capture a second regular season title after battling cold and windy conditions to blank Newman (Kan.) in a 2-0 victory Thursday evening at Wilkins Field in Wichita.
In their second season competing as a Heartland Conference member, the Mustangs came away with the program's 11th conference crown since 1999, clinching the league title against Newman for the second consecutive year following a 4-0 victory over the Jets at Stang Park on Oct. 27, 2016.
"After losing several players from last year and the injuries we had early on, we didn't know what to really expect," said head coach Doug Elder. "The guys really came together this season. They picked it up and won some games that were close, and that put us in position to win conference and host the tournament."
Pierre Bocquet provided the eventual game winner for Midwestern State (15-0-2, 11-0-2) with his seventh goal of the season in the 12th minute with a strike from inside the box.
En route to their 11th shutout of the season, the Mustangs defense limited Newman (4-9-4, 2-8-3) to just one shot on goal, the fourth contest this season MSU has held an opponent to one or fewer shots on frame.
In the 77th minute, Ross Fitzpatrick provided some cushion for the Mustangs down the stretch with a header goal to extend the MSU lead to 2-0.  
"We had to really use some mental toughness tonight," Elder said. "It was miserable weather with about 40 mph winds. We're proud of the boys for digging down and fighting through those conditions."  
MSU will serve as host for the semifinal and championship rounds of the Heartland Conference Championship, Nov. 3-5, at Stang Park after clinching the No. 1 seed. The winner will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Midwestern State captured its 11th conference title in program history.
"It's definitely an advantage. We like our field and the guys can sleep in their own beds," Elder said. "Let's hope we can take advantage of that. We're excited about hosting and it gives the community the opportunity to come out and watch some great soccer."

Midwestern State looks to record its fourth undefeated regular season Saturday in a noon kickoff against Oklahoma Christian at Eagle Soccer Field in Edmond, Okla.

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