Missouri drops second game of SEC play against Florida

The Tigers have yet to win a game in Gainesville.

Missouri (6-3-1, 0-1-1 SEC) remain winless in SEC play following its loss to Florida (6-4-0, 2-0-0 SEC) in Gainesville.

Despite putting up a fight towards the end of the game, the Tigers were unable to complete the comeback and fell 3-2 in their second game in SEC play.

It was another slow start for Missouri, who has struggled to put together a full 90 minutes of solid play all season. Florida got its first goal just 19 minutes into the game when Missouri junior Lindsey Whitmore misjudged the bounce on a ball and missed a header, allowing Florida senior Sammie Betters to get in behind her for a two-on-one against Missouri’s goalkeeper, redshirt sophomore Peyton Bauman, with fellow attacker senior Vanessa Kara. Betters drew Bauman out of her net and passed the ball across the face of the goal to Kara for an easy tap-in.

The rest of the first half petered out with neither team creating any real threats, though Florida maintained control of play following its early goal.

In the second half, the Gators were once again the first team to strike with junior Deanne Rose getting the goal to double their lead. In the 52nd minute sophomore Cassidy Lindley played a pass to Rose who ran at the Tiger defense down the left flank, cutting toward the penalty spot, taking two defenders out of the play and opening up an angle to finish past Bauman.

With just under half an hour remaining, Missouri finally seemed to break out of its slump. Sophomore Julissa Cisneros forced redshirt junior Susi Espinoza to make her first difficult save with a curling left footed shot in the 64th minute.

Just a minute later, the Tigers cut into the two goal lead with a strike from junior Macy Trujillo. Following a failed cross from the right hand side, senior Sarah Luebbert did well to keep the ball alive in the box and laid the ball off to Trujillo who blasted it into the bottom left corner.

Florida managed to find a response to reestablish its two goal lead within 10 minutes. Redshirt junior Parker Roberts would play a nice give and go with freshman Laney Steed to free herself 25 yards from goal unleash a shot that beat Bauman into the bottom left corner.

Florida thought it had found a fourth goal in the 77th minute which would have likely wrapped things up at such a late stage of the game. Steed’s initial shot forced Bauman to make a quick reaction save deflecting the ball across the six yard box. As Bauman jumped on the loose ball, a Gator attacker poked the ball into the net. However, the referee ruled that Bauman had control of the ball and awarded the Tigers a foul negating the goal.

Missouri would once again show its grit to get another goal in the 81st minute after Luebbert drew a penalty kick on senior Julia Lester. Luebbert took the resulting spot kick and rifled the ball into the top right corner of the goal.

“I’m so impressed that this group of players continues to fight for each other,” coach Bryan Blitz said in a press release.

The Tigers would get one last clear cut chance in the 83rd minute when junior Momola Adesanmi’s cross found redshirt senior Madison Lewis, but a Gator defender managed to get across just in time to deflect the ball wide of the net.

“Florida is a good team and it’s no easy place to play,” Blitz said.

The Tigers’ next game against Georgia will be their first home game of SEC play and will also be one of two nationally televised games, with the other coming against Texas A&M away from home.

Missouri will hope to end a poor run of form that has seen it win only one of its last five games after starting the season with five straight wins.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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