Missouri falls short of winning the SEC, draws Texas A&M 1-1

Missouri’s final game of the regular season did not turn out the way the team hoped.

Yes, they finished the regular season and are now going into the Southeastern Conference Championships as the No. 2 side, and no, they did not lose.

The Tigers did not win, either.

Missouri and Texas A&M finished the match tied 1-1, which did not allow the Tigers to celebrate an SEC regular season co-championship with Florida. Instead, Missouri had to settle for second place.

The first half was characterized with both teams fighting for possession but not being able to finish in the final third of the field. The best chance of the half came on a disallowed goal for Missouri, when the A&M goalkeeper was fouled when trying to catch the ball and it ricocheted into the net.

While chances in the first half were hard to come by, the second half exploded to life.

Texas A&M was the first to draw blood. Freshman forward Ally Watt dribbled down the left side of the 18-yard box and then smashed a shot across goal into the upper right-hand netting to put the Aggies up 1-0.

The Tigers then took to the offensive. Missouri recorded seven shots in the second half, as opposed to five in the first half.

Missouri eventually capitalized with a thundering header from senior midfielder Reagan Russell into the bottom left corner to tie the game at 1-1. It was Russell’s fourth goal of the season, which is tied for the team lead.

The match would eventually go into an overtime that was dominated by the Tigers. Missouri outshot Texas A&M 7-0 in the entire overtime period.

It appeared that Missouri had all but secured the regular season championship when junior midfielder Rachel Hignett was taken down inside the 18-yard box, giving Missouri a penalty kick.

Senior defender Candace Johnson stepped up to the ball with a chance to end the game if she converted the penalty kick. Her shot however, ended up going straight into the path of the diving Aggie goalkeeper.

“Candace has won us many games throughout the year so that’s all on us, including myself,” head coach Bryan Blitz said.

Once the final whistle blew, the Tigers were visibly distraught over their missed opportunity. Russell broke into tears in what could be her final game at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Stadium.

“I thought it was a pretty good game,” Russell said. “Obviously I’m not too happy about the result but they did the work to stop us so I’ll give it to them.”

The final score reflected the hard fought battle between the two sides. There were 32 combined fouls and four combined yellow cards during the game.

“I would definitely say there was more aggression,” Russell said. “Certainly there were probably a few fouls that could have been let go or that were faked but what happens happens.”

Missouri will be the No. 2 seed in the SEC Championships and will face the winner of Kentucky-LSU on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The match will be played at 12 p.m. at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. and can be viewed on the SEC Network.

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