By Jake Fein
When looking back on Mizzou’s luck in terms of sports this year it’s easy to be, well, disappointed.
From a blown call that saw Mizzou fall to Kentucky in a big game at home, to a promising start from Men’s Basketball that fizzled out into a 12th place finish in the Southeastern Conference, and of course the holy grail of all disappointment in Mizzou sports, the NCAA sanctions, that still loom over the MU campus. However, despite the slumps and the heartbreaking losses, the “Mount Rushmore” of Mizzou athletes this year did anything but disappoint. From Sophie Cunningham propelling herself into the first round of the WNBA draft, to Drew Lock likely finding himself in the same spot in the NFL Draft next week, and even Jordan Geist, who put on a career year for the Tigers, Mizzou had no shortage of stars showing out. It is impossible to put this year’s top-5 performances into any order since they are from different sports, so here are the top five performances from Mizzou athletes this year, in order of date.
Kylie Deberg at Florida, Oct. 21, 2018
Mizzou volleyball’s Kylie Deberg’s performance this season can be summed up in one word – dominant. The 6-foot-4 Sophomore outside hitter finished top-ten in the SEC in kills highlighted by this performance against No. 10 ranked Florida. Mizzou and Florida each took two of the first four sets and the match went to a fifth to decide it. The Tigers found themselves down 5-0 and 9-4 before marching back to a 17-15 win in the 5th set and a 3-2 win in the match. Deberg notched 5 of her 21 kills in the final set and notched Mizzou their best win of the season.
Drew Lock at Florida, Nov. 3, 2018
Missouri football went into Gainesville a week after one of the lowest of lows in recent Mizzou football history, their loss against Kentucky. The phantom PI call on the last play of regulation led to a Mizzou loss and Mizzou fans’ morale at an all-time low. Enter Drew Lock, who’s electric performance against Florida ignited the excitement into Mizzou football. Lock entered the day, still yet to beat a ranked team as starter for the Tigers, but looked like a seasoned veteran on the field in this one. Lock and the Tigers didn’t make it close, pulling off a 38-17 upset of the Gators. Lock completed 24 of his 32 passes, or a completion percentage of 75%, for 250 yards. Lock found the endzone three times, highlighted by his 41 yard pass to Cam Scott, to put Missouri ahead 3 possessions in the 4th quarter. Lock’s performance, and his swagger, propelled the Tigers to their most impressive win on the season.
Jordan Geist vs UCF, Dec. 2, 2018
Central Florida quite literally loomed over Missouri prior to this game with UCF’s 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall paying visit to Mizzou Arena. In the early days of this season and post-Jontay Porter injury, confidence in the men’s basketball team was hit-or-miss. Jordan Geist’s performance against the Knights gave Mizzou fans some hope. The Tigers went 7 minutes in the first half without scoring and entered the locker room with only 21 points. Whatever head coach Cuonzo Martin said to Geist in the locker room worked, and the senior guard finished with 18 points, three of which came on a double-clutch buzzer beater at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Sophie Cunningham at Miss St, Feb. 14, 2019
Sophie Cunningham was awake most of the night before this game with a stomach bug, and didn’t even participate in pregame shootaround. On top of that, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs were unbeaten in SEC play. It was not looking great for the Tigers. Nonetheless, Cunningham still suited up and started for Mizzou in what would look to be the team’s best win in years. She finished the game with 24 points on 8 for 17 shooting, 4 of those made shots coming from behind the arch. In the end, Cunningham’s performance gave the Tigers a 75-67 victory.
Madi Norman vs Oregon, Apr. 7, 2019
On an emotional night for Mizzou softball dedicated to Vonda Decker, late mother of Kara Decker, who passed due to breast cancer in late 2017, the Tigers, led by Madi Norman, shined. Norman notched a 5-inning no-hitter thanks in-part to three diving catches from the Tiger defense. Norman finished with 3 strikeouts on the night, retiring 15 of the 18 batters she faced. Kim Wert led the Tigers’ offense with 4 rbi’s, and Mizzou finished with a 8-0 rune-rule win in 5 innings.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org