Too little, too late was the theme of the day as Missouri soccer (6-6-1) failed to deliver on a late second half comeback in a 2-1 loss to Texas A&M in front of 1,734 fans Sunday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
Amid stormy skies and harsh wind, Missouri came out looking to make runs, sending senior striker Danielle Nottingham on two solo breakaways within the first 10 minutes. Nottingham, however, could not capitalize on either break, getting tripped up just inside A&M’s box both times.
Junior midfielder Kaysie Clark took the first shot of the game for the home side. Clark is Missouri’s leading scorer and has goals in the last two straight games.
The Tigers, though, were put on the defensive in the first half, with only two shots compared to A&M’s 15, seven of which were on target. Missouri keeper McKenzie Sauerwein stepped up to the challenge with six saves. A&M’s aggressive style was further demonstrated by six fouls, most of which came inside their own half. The Aggies also forced four corners.
Three minutes before halftime, came a crushing blow: A&M forward Liz Keester scored on a high ball that ducked in just under the bar. The Tigers headed into halftime down 1-0.
As the weather brightened up at kickoff for the second half, so did Missouri’s offense. The Tigers had 12 shots in the period, twice as many as the first. Nottingham finally got off her first shot of the game four minutes into the half, but it was blocked by A&M keeper Jordan Day.
Clark took another shot in the 56th minute that was blocked, forcing Mizzou’s first corner of the half, but junior midfielder Taylor Grant’s kick sailed over the crossbar.
Late in the second period, A&M also turned up the heat, taking three shots on goal in the span of five minutes. While senior defender Sarah Thune crucially cleared two balls to halt Aggie runs, she was powerless to stop Allie Bailey from knocking home her fifth goal of the season, putting A&M up 2-0 in the 70th minute.
Nottingham redeemed herself from a missed chance in Missouri’s Oct. 4 tie with Vanderbilt by helping the Tigers get on the scoreboard with four minutes left to play in the game. The striker sent a cross over from the right side to senior forward Alyssa Diggs, who slid it in on the ground past the keeper to notch her second goal of the season.
The late upperclassman effort was not enough, however, and Missouri ended the game with a 2-1 loss. In the end, the Tigers were simply outdone offensively, with A&M taking a whopping 27 shots on Sauerwein throughout the game.
“They murdered us in effort, and that’s the one thing we can never accept,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “We didn’t compete in the first half, and we dug ourselves a hole. We competed 40 minutes in the second half, so there’s something to build on moving forward, but one way or the other, we didn’t give a championship effort on a Sunday against a good team, and when you do that, you get beat.”
Sauerwein, who had 11 saves in the match, is already looking ahead.
“It is frustrating, but all we can do is learn from this game and move onto the next one and start thinking about that, so I think this is a good wake-up call for us,” she said.
Missouri will go on the road to take on Louisiana State on Friday.