Missouri’s Cross returns in home opener after 2018 ACL tear

The sophomore midfielder stayed active and aggressive during Missouri’s home opener despite her recent injury.
Mizzou midfielder Zoe Cross (10) tore her ACL during a soccer game on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, but is now back on the field. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

Missouri midfielder Zoe Cross returned from an ACL injury in Thursday night’s home opener victory over Southern Mississippi. Cross tore her ACL during her first game of the 2018 season against Texas Christian University.

Cross did not start for the Tigers Thursday night, instead subbing in for Madison Lewis in the 61st minute. Cross frequently took control of the ball from the Golden Eagles while she was on the turf.

In the 69th minute Cross attempted a shot on goal, a header that SMU goalkeeper junior Kendell Mindnich saved. Cross played a total of 12 minutes during the season opener. Lewis returned to the field to replace her in the 73rd minute.

Coach Bryan Blitz praised Cross’ contribution to the team.

“It’s good to see her back tonight,” Blitz said. “She’s going to play a big part for us, it’s just going to take some time. It’s not even been a year yet [since her injury].”

While Cross did not make any monumental plays in the season opener, Blitz is optimistic about her performance for the upcoming season.

“She’s getting her legs under it, little bit rusty, but she certainly is a soccer player and she’ll contribute down the road for sure,” Blitz said.

Cross confirmed via her personal Twitter that she was practicing with the team during the preseason on Aug. 8, but it was not confirmed before the Southern Mississippi game if she would be seeing any playtime.

Many ACL injuries require both surgery and a lengthy recovery period. Cross was injured less than a year ago on Sept. 2, 2018. The injury wasn’t diagnosed until two days later on Sept. 4, 2018, and was confirmed on Cross’ personal Twitter account.

The 2018 game against TCU was Missouri’s fourth game of the season, but Cross’ first appearance for Missouri in 2018, as she had been abroad playing for the U-20 Women’s World Cup in France for England.

Cross hails from Pease Pottage, England and took a medical redshirt during the 2018 season. During her freshman season, Cross started in a total of nine games and played in 19. In 2017, before playing for Missouri, she participated in the England’s U-19 national team and competed in the Union of European Football Associations U-19 Women’s Championship.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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