Missouri soccer tops Crimson Tide to advance in SEC tournament

Sarah Luebbert notched her team-leading seventh goal in the 3-1 victory as the Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals.

Maneater File Photo

Missouri soccer jumped ahead early and didn’t look back in its 3-1 victory over Alabama in the first round of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Championship tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama, on Sunday.

When the two teams met on Oct. 22, Alabama scored 25 seconds into the match, which it would ultimately win in overtime 3-2. On Sunday, it was Missouri that struck early.

47 seconds after kickoff, Tigers All-SEC sophomore Sarah Luebbert fired a curling shot off the post that senior Savannah Trujillo scored off the ensuing rebound to put Missouri ahead 1-0.

In the 27th minute, Lubbert doubled Missouri’s lead after some sloppy defending by Alabama. Senior forward Jessica Johnson had her shot saved by Alabama keeper Kat Stratton, but no Alabama defender was able to control the rebound. The ball trickled to Luebbert, who scored a classic poacher's goal for her team-leading seventh goal of the season.

"We really came out and executed the game plan the coaches set up for us,” Luebbert said in a press release. “We all worked hard for each other. We had each other's backs."

The Tigers went into halftime with a 2-0 lead after outshooting the Crimson Tide 10-5 in the first half.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Mizzou went up 3-0 on a goal from sophomore Grace Kitts. Tigers senior Kaitlyn Clark made a run to the left endline and fired a cross that Kitts volleyed into the goal. While Alabama got one back in the 73rd minute when Crimson Tide midfielder Celia Jimenez Delgado scored on a rebound, Mizzou was the team in control all game en route to a 3-1 victory.

"We were excited about playing a really good Alabama team one week later,” head coach Bryan Blitz said in a press release. “Our team are competitors and they showed it today. We're certainly playing our best soccer here at the end of the year right now."

With the win, Mizzou moves on to the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament to face No. 14 Texas A&M on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at noon CT. The match will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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