By Jack Knowlton
Missouri soccer will head into the SEC with a winning record as the Tigers picked up their third win of the season in their final match, defeating Florida 5-2.
The scoring started early, and in the Gator’s favor, when Nicole Vernins found the back of the net just before the four-minute mark.
Missouri keeper McKenna Sheehan came up injured on the play and was replaced by true freshman Sophia Worth, who had a very solid performance with eight saves, including a few one-on-one chances where the young keeper came out on top.
The Missouri attack would also come out on top despite the early deficit. An own-goal in the eighth-minute tied it up, before a goal from Bella Allessi quickly restored the lead for Missouri.
Cassidie Nurenberger added to the lead with the ‘goal of the game’ for the Tigers. After winning the ball back in Missouri’s final third, Nurnburger stuck the ball from about 30 yards out, steering it into the net off the crossbar. The goal reflected Missouri’s overall dominance as the Tigers’ press frustrated the Gators and won the ball back in the attacking third, creating multiple chances for Missouri.
Allessi and Nurenburger were both able to score a second goal as Missouri poured it on in the second half. Allessi found the back of the net in the 62nd minute, and Nurenburger scored another wonderful volley off a nicely taken corner kick by Hannah Joella.
Florida was able to find a consolation goal in the 76th minute from Alivia Gonzalez, who was the lone bright spot in an otherwise weak Florida attack.
The 5-goal performance means Missouri has scored nine goals in their last two matchups. Head coach Bryan Blitz’s 3-4-3 formation certainly has the Tigers looking to stay on the attack and pressure defenses high up the field.
Their match against the Gators was Missouri’s final regular-season game. They finish the season at 3-0-2 and earn a first-round bye in the SEC tournament.
Edited by Emma Moloney