By Lucas Owens
Mizzou soccer faced the Alabama Crimson Tide Thursday night at Walton Stadium, looking for a win.
The Tigers entered the matchup off a 2-1 loss at Kentucky, while Alabama tied Ole Miss in Mississippi a week ago. Only 10 teams make the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama, so while Alabama is sitting comfortable at sixth, Mizzou is currently fighting for a spot at 12th, three points behind both Tennessee and Mississippi State. Mizzou will not face Tennessee again this season, but ends the regular season next week at home against Mississippi State.
Alabama got out to an early lead, as Carlee Giammona drove down the field and whizzed by Mizzou defenders on her way to her second goal of the season, assisted by Chloe Maize. Mizzou answered back quickly though, as a foul in the penalty area led to a penalty kick goal by Julissa Cisneros.
The first half was dominated by physical play on both sides, with fouls quickly adding up. While both Mizzou and Alabama made attempts to score, nobody got closer than Mizzou’s Sarah Luebbert, who ran past three Alabama defenders on her way to the goal and got it by goalie AJ Crooks, but missed wide and hit the bar. Thus, after dual yellow cards by Mizzou’s Anna Frick and Riley Mattingly for Alabama, the Tigers and the Crimson Tide entered the break knotted up at one.
“We were in it to win it,” Mizzou head coach Bryan Blitz said. “We were creating a lot of chances.”
Commotions calmed down in the second half, with the ball going up and down the field and not much going on. However, a penalty by Mizzou goalie Gillian Schulte gave the Crimson Tide’s Mattingly a chance for a penalty kick, which she took to give Alabama a 2-1 lead. The pushing and tensions picked up soon after, when both Mizzou coach Bryan Blitz, Alabama midfielder Reyna Reyes,and Alabama’s Nealy Martin picked up yellow cards in separate instances.
Time counted down, and Mizzou did not get any greater chances after the Alabama penalty kick, losing to the Crimson Tide 2-1.
The Tigers were down both goalkeepers Peyton Bauman and McKenna Sheehan, so Mizzou turned to redshirt sophomore Gillian Schulte, who made her second start as Mizzou’s goalkeeper. She finished the game with two goals allowed and one save on 11 shots.
“Gillian’s getting better every game,” Blitz said. “She’s doing her job, so I’m pretty excited about (her) getting dropped into that situation.”
Mizzou soccer now goes on the road to College Station, Texas to face off against the Texas A&M Aggies. The Tigers are currently tied with Kentucky for 12th in the SEC, at four points each. Mississippi State tied LSU and Tennessee beat Florida, so they have eight and 10 points respectively.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org