Missouri soccer wins SEC opener thanks to late goal

Allie Hess put the Tigers ahead 2-1 in the 85th minute.

Maneater File Photo

After giving up an equalizer midway through the second half, it looked as though Friday night would provide another disappointing result for Missouri soccer. But two goals in the game’s final five minutes gave the Tigers a 3-1 victory over Georgia in their Southeastern Conference opener at Walton Stadium.

The Tigers took command of the game early on. In the seventh minute, senior forward Jessica Johnson ran onto a ball just outside the penalty box and chipped the ball over Georgia goalkeeper Louise Hogrell, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The goal marked Johnson’s third of the season.

The Tigers kept the pressure on after Johnson’s goal. In the 20th and 22nd minutes, as Mizzou remained in Georgia’s defensive area, Johnson and freshman Zoe Cross forced Hogrell to make two huge saves to keep it a one-score game.

In the 28th minute, Missouri conceded a penalty after a handball in the penalty box, but junior keeper Kelsey Dossey stepped up for Mizzou, making a huge save and preserving the Tiger’s 1-0 lead going into the half.

Despite dominating into the second half, Missouri could not hold off the Bulldogs. Georgia equalized in the 65th minute after a cross fell to senior forward Kelsey Killean for a tap-in.

Earlier in the season that was a goal that, according to head coach Bryan Blitz, would have sunk the Tigers. However, things were different Friday night. In the 85th minute, senior midfielder Kaitlyn Clark beat her defender, dribbled into the box and found senior Allie Hess. Hess calmly slotted the tying goal into the corner of the net.

“Kate [Clark] has always been the girl that gets the cross in, so I just knew that if I got in the box on that cross I could get a finish on it,” Hess said. “She did the dirty work; I just had to put the ball in the goal.”

Three minutes later, midfielder Madison Lewis scored on a shot from outside the box to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead, securing the victory for Missouri.

The Tigers will look to extend their two-game winning streak this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at home against Albany.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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