Missouri falls victim to Vanderbilt and its own mistakes in 2-1 defeat

A red card penalty and a late own goal gave Vanderbilt the opportunities it needed to rally past the Tigers in the second half.
Freshman forward Julissa Cisneros fires a bicycle kick on goal in the 21st minute of Missouri's 2-1 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Cisneros finished the game with the lone shot.

Vanderbilt’s Kaylann Boyd stood at the penalty spot at Walton Stadium after Missouri’s Bethany Coons earned herself a red card on a handball in the box. Boyd was looking for a 59th-minute equalizer in a game Missouri had led since its earliest moments.

A quick shot into the bottom left corner of the goal did just that.

The disqualification proved detrimental to the Tigers, as Vanderbilt (10-1) went on to rally and defeat Missouri (4-5-2) on Sunday afternoon, 2-1, extending its win streak to 10 games and keeping its first place position in the Southeastern Conference. Plagued by mistakes, Missouri gave away both the penalty kick and a game-winning own goal in the second half to cough up a lead, doomed to its first loss since Sept. 7 at USC.

“We’re gonna fight for our team,” senior defender Rachel Hise said of Coons’ card. “Beth fought for Kelsey [Dossey] and we fought for Beth after that. This team will fight for anybody.”

The Commodores’ only loss this season came at the hands of Florida State 1-0 on Aug. 16. Since then they’ve outscored their opponents 23-5, including SEC foes Florida and Alabama coming into the match at MU. The Tigers seemed poised to snap that trend for a while on Sunday.

“Tough loss, but we played all the way to the end and showed that grit we’ll need to move forward in a tough SEC conference,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “I think our program really grew today.”

Missouri had taken the lead in the first half on an eventful goal that started with a Vanderbilt foul drawn 30 yards out by junior Sarah Luebbert.

The free kick, taken by defender Peyton Joseph, sailed into the mess of players within the box and found sophomore Bella Alessi on the right side. Her shot was blocked and bounced into the air. It hung for what felt like ages then found the floating feet of freshman Julissa Cisneros. She ripped a bicycle kick that would have made for the Tigers' most phenomenal goal of the season.

It ricocheted off of the crossbar.

But from the crossbar, the ball found Luebbert’s head. From Luebbert’s head, it found the goal.

“Julissa went for the bicycle kick; she has style,” Blitz said, laughing. “Sarah just finished it up.”

Offensively, both teams were pretty evenly matched, Vanderbilt outshooting Missouri 12-10. And although Missouri’s defense continues to be its defining feature, it was the mistake by freshman Ariela Beharry late in the game gave Vanderbilt the lead they needed to hold on for the win.

“Scoring an own goal – if you’re in the game long enough, everyone does it,” Blitz said he told Beharry after the game. “We didn’t lose because of that.”

The Tigers travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Thursday to play the Razorbacks (6-2-2). Missouri is currently 1-2-2 on the road.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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