Wednesday's MAC Field Hockey Result

Updated 9/30/2010
Wednesday's MAC Field Hockey Result
Missouri State 5, St. Louis 1

Game story courtesy of Missouri State Media Relations Department

Missouri State 5, St. Louis 1
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A second half scoring binge turned a tight, 1-1 halftime tie into a decisive field hockey Bears win against in-state rival Saint Louis, 5-1, as Casey Bayliss led the way with two goals and an assist.

Four Bears (3-6) scored in all, with senior Liz Grasso (Haddonfield, N.J.) and freshmen Hillary Lawless (St. Louis, Mo.) and Catrina Schmidt (St. Louis, Mo.) backing Bayliss with a goal apiece. For Grasso, it was the first of her career.    

Constant offensive pressure in the first half produced only one Bear goal, but Dawn Callahan's squad knew it was only a matter of time before it translated into more.

"They just kept fighting," head coach Dawn Callahan said. "We told them at half time 'Just keep it going, it will come.'"

The Bears proved Callahan right in a big way, scoring four times in the second half's first 16 minutes. Bayliss (Bathurst, NSW, Australia) netted her first goal just over a minute after intermission when she took a loose ball at midfield, beat two defenders off the dribble and fired a shot from the right wing into the near corner of the cage. The goal seemed to relax the Bears and give them more confidence for the remainder of the game.

Schmidt followed suit in the 48th minute when she deflected a precise feed from Amanda Miyashita (Sr., Richmond, B.C., Canada) into the left corner of the cage to give the Bears a 3-1 lead. Bayliss struck again less than two minutes later after displaying some impressive stick work. The junior controlled Lawless' centering pass and when the keeper came out, she avoided her with a fake to the left before moving to the right and shooting into an open goal.

Grasso capped the game's scoring in the 52nd minute when she put away a Bayliss pass from six yards out to make it 5-1.

Bayliss' day gives her the team lead in goals (5) assists (4) and points (14). Four of her five goals have come in the last two games. Callahan said she expected this level of play once the Aussie native gained some comfort with the team.    

"It takes a little while to adjust to the different style of play and I think she has figured it out," Callahan said. "She knows what she needs to do now."

Even though she is the team's statistical leader, Bayliss was quick to give the credit to her teammates.

"I think the team has finally started to click," she said. "Our passing combinations have gotten a whole lot better and we are getting it up the field to have the opportunities."

Her fellow newcomers Lawless and Schmidt are close behind on that leaderboard after each added an assist to their goal. Callahan is impressed with the transition the freshmen have made to collegiate play.

"They have great speed and they are aggressive in the circle," Callahan said. "They have a nice touch around the cage. I am very pleased with the way they have stepped up this year."

Lawless had confidence the team could turn the corner against SLU.

"We stepped it up today," she said. "We worked hard at practice all week and were able to get out of the little dark period we had."

That dark period brought four-straight losses, including a double-overtime heartbreaker to UC Davis 2-1, a streak the Bears gladly snapped with the win.

Despite the second-half fireworks, it was actually the Billikens (0-11) who took the early lead. Their goal in the 18th minute made it 1-0, and was their first against the Bears since MSU's 3-2 win on Sept. 5, 2008. The Bears had kept SLU scoreless for four straight games and a total of 297:34 minutes.

Freshman Andrea Bain, earning her first career start, quickly began a new scoreless streak, keeping the Billikens out of the cage for the remainder of the match. The Victoria, B.C., Canada, native made the most of her starting opportunity, saving three shots and improving her keeper record to 2-0. She earned the Bears' first win of the season when she came on in relief in the Bears' 7-1 victory against Lindenwood in the season opener.

Kelsey Lomax (O'Fallon, Mo.) contributed with a key defensive save that kept the Billikens from taking a 2-1 late in the first half.

The win comes at a key time for the Bears, as it sends them into conference play on a high note.

"It feels fantastic, it really does," Bayliss said. "Maybe we had a few monkeys on our back that maybe we needed to get rid of, and I think this game got a few off there. So I am hoping we can go into conference games strong."   

The Bears open Mid-American Conference play this weekend with a trip to Ball State and Miami. MSU will face the Cardinals Oct. 2, at 12 p.m., before heading to Oxford for an Oct. 3 showdown against the RedHawks at 11 a.m.