PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley reserve forward Aaron Birk blasted a shot from the top of the penalty area in the 47th minute and the laser found the top right corner for the game's only goal as the Braves (13-6-2) earned a 1-0 win against Missouri State (11-5-2) in the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Men's Soccer Championship Sunday evening at Shea Stadium.
Bradley claims its third MVC Tournament title and secures its seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The start of the championship game was delayed three hours, the result of severe weather that rocked Central Illinois.
The game-winning goal was set up from a skirmish in the penalty area. Senior Scott Davis eventually gained control of the loose ball just outside the six, but with traffic blocking his look, he played the ball back to Birk, who hit a laser into the top right corner to beat Missouri State keeper Trevor Spangenberg for just the eighth time all season.
Bradley allowed only three shots on goal and senior keeper Brian Billings made all three saves to earn the shutout and capture MVC Tournament MVP honors.
Bradley previously won MVC Tournament titles in 2007 and 2010. The Braves are making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2011. The 2013 NCAA Tournament field will be announced during a selection show to be streamed live through NCAA.com.
2013 MVC All-Tournament Team
Alec Bartlett, Drake
Jason Coon, Bradley
Jabari Danzy, SIUE
Faik Hajderovic, Evansville
Cody Lofgren, Bradley
Parker Maher, Missouri State
Reed Patterson, Loyola
Matt Polster, SIUE
Trevor Spangenberg, Missouri State
Mueng Sunday, Drake
Andrew Turner, Missouri State
Wojciech Wojcik, Bradley
MVP - Brian Billings, Bradley