By: John M. Morrisroe, KCOU Sports
They won off the boot of a true freshman. With the most beautiful goal of the night, Kaitlyn Clark bent a kick into the top right corner not just over, but around the hand of the opposing keeper. She looked up after her first collegiate goal and found the eyes of her favorite teammate, her sister, Kaysie.
“Having my sister there means so much to me,” freshman Kaitlyn Clark said about her senior sister. Kaitlyn’s score, along with a goal-line assist to Reagan Russell for a quick put-in, gave her two points on the night for Missouri.
Louisiana State University was the Missouri Tigers’ first Southeastern Conference opponent of the season. Mizzou won Friday night’s game 3-1 at Walton Stadium in Columbia.The opening of the SEC play for the Tigers brought about some anxiety for the team.
“I’m really proud that we got the first SEC win,” Kaitlyn Clark said. “I was a little nervous, but once I got out onto the field and started connecting with all the girls it was really fun.”
Missouri held the ball through the majority of the match, controlling much of the game’s possession and forcing Louisiana State to play defensively until desperation time. LSU’s best chances were with speedy counter-attacks that found their way into the penalty box, but those opportunities were not frequent.
Head Coach Bryan Blitz said of Missouri’s ability to hold possession, “Our defense has been carrying us. If we get too stretched out they are able to solve most of the issues. They’re not perfect, but they certainly kept us in the game.”
Reagan Russell scored again in the 90th minute to finish off the purple and gold Tigers. With a breakaway side-step to the right of the sprawling goalie Lily Alfeld, and a consequent tap into the goal, Russell ended a dominant night for Missouri.
A noteworthy night for Missouri Soccer became an exceptional one for the Clark sisters. Looking back on her night’s accomplishments-her first goal and first SEC win-Kaitlyn said that it all was “very special,” and remembered her first celebration on the Division I stage. “I went to my sister and she gave me this great, big hug.” A hug they will never forget.