Missouri soccer fights back, but can’t find the winner in 1-1 OT draw

Bella Alessi’s second half goal tied the match at 1, but a game-winner wasn’t in the cards Friday night.

Missouri rallied to overcome a first-half deficit and earned a 1-1 draw in an overtime thriller against LSU on Senior Night in Columbia.

The home side scored in the 47th minute but couldn’t push another across. A strong performance from LSU goalkeeper Mollee Swift kept the Tigers at bay for the remainder of the game.

“We caught a hot goalkeeper,” head coach Bryan Blitz said. “We’re lasering them [our shots] in, but they’re too high. We’re trying to hit waist or lower, and it’s coming along.”

LSU got on the board first on a well-executed counter-attack. Redshirt freshman Taylor Dobles got in behind the defense and slotted the ball past Isabella Alessio to break the scoreless tie.

The goal for LSU was just its second all season. They failed to score in their first two games and got one last week at Mississippi State.

Missouri equalized, with Bella Alessi streaking through the middle of the field and firing a shot on goal. Swift made the initial save, but Alessi took another shot, which the Tigers’ defense was unable to keep off the line.

“All I had to do was run onto [the ball] and play it underneath the goalkeeper,” Alessi said. “Even the goalkeeper got a really good hand on it, and I just followed it up, got the second ball and it went in the net.”

Missouri was knocking on the door all second half. Attacking set-pieces posed a constant threat to the LSU defense and wingers were lethal on their balls into the box. The Tigers were just unable to finish.

Alessi nearly broke the tie in the 84th minute. Off a thrown-in deep in the attacking third, Julissa Cisneros crossed the ball toward the back post. Alessi got all of it on her header, but the ball bounced inches from the post and out for a goal kick.

“We had a lot of opportunities, a lot of crosses,” Alessi said. “We just weren’t putting them in the back of the net.”

Overtime brought new challenges.

“You have to focus on every second of every play,” Blitz said. “You shut off for a minute, all SEC teams will punish you.”

Alessi nearly found Cisneros on a through ball in the 107th minute, but an LSU defender intercepted the pass to save her team.

“We’ll take the point, but it becomes a math equation,” Blitz said. “We got one, we want three, but we’ll take it.”

LSU got its first point of the season, getting to the regular season halfway point with a record of 0-3-1.

“That’s the best 0-3 SEC team I’ve seen,” Blitz said.

Following the match, the parents of each senior shared words of congratulations in videos shown on the scoreboard.

Seniors were given flowers and a framed portrait. They each posed for a photo with coach Blitz.

“They’ve had to deal with horrible racial injustice and a pandemic,” Blitz said. “Since March, those nine seniors have been leading our group. With all that going on, I couldn’t be prouder. I have four kids of my own, but I also have 31 daughters.”

Missouri travels to take on Mississippi State next Saturday. LSU returns home to face Alabama this Friday.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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