Despite strong effort, Mizzou soccer shut out by Notre Dame

The Tigers played hard, but a lack of offensive power coupled with their opponent’s strength ended in a loss.

In their last game before Southeastern Conference play, the Missouri soccer team lost to No. 23 Notre Dame 1-0. The final score did not encapsulate the overall feel of the game, however. The Fighting Irish controlled the game in all aspects, including offensively, something Mizzou has controlled in every game this season. In fact, this was the first time this season the Tigers were kept off of the board by their opponent and the first time they were outshot by their opponent.

The game remained scoreless for the first 60 minutes, a result of the tenacious effort from Mizzou’s back line and Notre Dame’s inability to finish on otherwise promising offensive opportunities.

However, on an unstoppable finish from Notre Dame forward Jennifer Westendorf from outside the box into the upper-right corner of the net, Notre Dame went up 1-0 on the Tigers. From then on, the game seemed over to anyone watching analytically. Notre Dame’s momentum, coupled with Missouri’s lack of offensive organization, made the Tigers’ chances seem grim after the first goal.

The last 30 minutes were relatively uneventful as Notre Dame continued to control the game offensively. Mizzou’s defense focused all effort on preventing another goal and little-to-none on spurring an offensive attack, something a good back line needs to be thinking about.

In the end, Mizzou was overmatched by Notre Dame, despite the close score. Looking back, there are four things the team should take away from the game as they enter into their Southeastern Conference schedule:

Close score proves Mizzou can compete with the best

Coming into the game, Notre Dame was ranked No. 23 in the country. On the national stage, Notre Dame is very competitive consistently and is recognized by many as one of the best women’s soccer programs in the country. The fact that Mizzou was able to keep the game very close legitimizes the promise the Tigers have shown this season. Entering SEC play, the team should be confident that they can, and will, compete with anyone.

Defense must continue to play hard

It was apparent throughout the entire game that the defensive players for the Tigers were giving it their absolute all. Goalkeeper Kelsey Dossey made a number of impressive stops. The only goal Dossey allowed was on a shot that was almost impossible to save. Defenders Anna Frick and Erin Webb also had very strong games in the back line, often stopping promising runs by Notre Dame with sheer effort alone. This effort by the back line is going to be important when facing SEC competition, known for productive and efficient offensive attacks.

Stamina, energy, efficiency need to improve

The hard work put in by all members of the team is great. However, this intensity led to many players, especially defenders, being very tired by the end of the game. Going forward, the team needs to be more efficient with their effort. If they can manage their energy better, they will be able to be competitive throughout the whole game.

Tigers need to improve offensive organization

This game was an anomaly in the Tigers’ season, as they were outshot for the first time. This was the result of a lack of offensive opportunities stemming from poor offensive organization. The Tigers struggled to create good attempts at the goal. If they want to compete with the offensive powerhouses in the SEC, they will need to improve offensive organization.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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