Mizzou soccer sneaks into SEC tournament

The Tigers’ 2-0 win over LSU secured the tenth and final seed in the tournament.

Maneater File Photo

Despite a disappointing Southeastern Conference season for Missouri soccer, the Tigers headed into Thursday’s match with a chance at slipping into postseason play.

The Tigers needed three things to happen to get in as the 10th seed: Texas A&M had to defeat Mississippi State, Georgia had to lose to Kentucky and the Tigers had to win their final SEC game against Louisiana State University.

On Mizzou’s senior night, the Tigers easily handled LSU 2-0. Seniors Kaitlyn Clark and Savannah Trujillo pushed Mizzou over the hump with goals, and Mizzou’s postseason ticket to the SEC Tournament was punched after everything fell into place.

“It’s just a whirlwind right now,” Trujillo said. “We played a really hard schedule this year and our coaches did that for a reason. It looks like we’re peaking at the right time.”

From the opening kick, Mizzou controlled almost every aspect of the game. LSU struggled to do anything offensively in the first half and couldn’t keep the ball out of its side of the field. Turnovers left LSU reeling defensively.

Mizzou was unable to capitalize off of those turnovers early in the first half. Within the first 12 minutes of play, Mizzou had six shots, but none of them were on goal. This included a missed opportunity for senior Allie Hess in the ninth minute. Hess was inside the penalty box and crushed a shot just over the middle crossbar, squandering Mizzou’s best early opportunity at scoring.

However, all that changed in the 13th minute. Sophomore Sarah Luebbert was fouled hard in the penalty box, leading to Mizzou’s lone goal in the first half. Luebbert left the game after the foul, but later returned to the match. The foul resulted in a yellow card on LSU senior Jordane Carvery and gave Clark a chance at her second goal of the year. She capitalized, smashing a penalty kick to the right of LSU goalkeeper Caroline Brockmeier to put Mizzou up 1-0.

For the rest of the first half, Mizzou continued to outplay LSU but had no more goals to show for it. LSU’s offensive problems were no surprise, however, as the team had been held scoreless in its last four games before playing Mizzou.

In the second half, Mizzou extended its lead. In the 59th minute, Trujillo took an assist from Luebbert and blasted a shot for her second goal of the season.

Meanwhile, Kentucky defeated Georgia 3-0 during the second half of play in Columbia. Moments after the Tigers’ game, Texas A&M scored the game-winning goal to defeat Mississippi State 2-1.

“That’s the goal, to make it to the tournament,” Luebbert said. “And you never know what can happen because it’s soccer.”

The Tigers clinched the No. 10 seed in the SEC Tournament and will face No. 7 seed Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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