Missouri soccer kicks off season with scoreless draw in first leg of Iowa road trip

Mercedes Sapp made seven saves for the Tigers in her first career start in goal.
Maneater File Photo

After weeks of practice, two exhibition games and a road trip north to the Hawkeye State, Missouri soccer’s 2018 season officially began Friday with a 0-0 tie against the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

The scoreless draw was not without excitement, as both teams created plenty of chances but were foiled by impressive showings from the goalkeepers. Missouri’s Mercedes Sapp saved all seven of Iowa’s shots on goal, while Claire Graves stopped the Tigers’ six attempts on target.

Making her first career start, Sapp made a case for more playing time in net as the season goes on. The redshirt sophomore’s clean sheet effort included a dramatic stop in the 80th minute against Hawkeye forward Rose Ripslinger.

Ripslinger’s shot from the top corner of the 18-yard box sailed across Sapp’s body and was headed toward the far post before Sapp lunged to her left and knocked the ball away with both fists.

Junior defender Peyton Joseph played all 110 minutes for Mizzou and led the Tigers with two shots on goal. Forward Sarah Luebbert, also a junior, provided one of Missouri’s best scoring chances when she was denied by Graves in the third minute of the first overtime period. Luebbert led the Tigers with seven goals last season.

"I am always excited about a shutout," Missouri head coach Bryan Blitz said in a press release. "We always knew it was going to be hard to travel and face a really good Iowa team, and we did that on purpose. We learned a lot.”

Coming off of Friday’s lengthy battle, the Tigers face a quick turnaround as they travel to Ames, Iowa for the second leg of their season-opening road trip. They will face Iowa State University on Sunday at 2 p.m. CST.

More news and notes

Sophomore Zoe Cross, who will likely be an important part of Missouri’s midfield this season, has been away from Mizzou since late July representing the England national team at the U-20 Women’s World Cup in France. Cross has yet to see any action in the tournament, but England advanced to the semifinals earlier on Friday with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. This ensures that their tournament run will continue through Aug. 24, the date of the final and consolation matches. Cross will likely make her season debut for the Tigers no earlier than the Aug. 30 home opener against Northwestern University.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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