Mizzou soccer overpowers Vanderbilt on senior night

Freshman Sarah Luebbert continued her strong season, scoring twice.

On senior night, the Missouri Tigers soccer team (10-4-1, 5-2-1) outlasted Vanderbilt 2-1 to take sole possession of fourth place in the Southeastern Conference.

“From a humanist standpoint, you’re so proud,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “Especially for our kids, for them to make it to be seniors. We ask a lot, and they sacrifice a lot. I’m so proud. They were high school kids, and now they are young women.”

The star of the night was freshman Sarah Luebbert. She added to her fantastic year with two crucial goals.

“She is just dialed in,” Blitz said. “That is a kid who stays after and comes early … It’s not like, ‘Hey I’m just so talented.’ She is like ‘Can I do more? Can I do more?’ Sometimes we have to say, ‘No, you can’t do more.’”

Going into the game, Mizzou and Vanderbilt had identical SEC records, and Friday’s play reflected that as two evenly matched teams fought to move up in the conference standings.

Mizzou took the early advantage, scoring in the 13th minute. Luebbert dashed from midfield and past Vanderbilt’s defenders for an easy goal.

“It was the kind of finish that we practice and practice all the time,” Luebbert said. “I just kept my composure.”

Mizzou has a distinct style at home: Dominate time of possession, dictate tempo, outshoot opponents and play stifling defense. The Commodores just happened to be another victim to this style of play.

The Tigers outshot Vanderbilt 13-1 in the first half, as the Commodores were unable to generate any offense or ever begin to threaten goalie Kelsey Dossey.

“They are doing a great job,” Blitz said. “Kelsey handled everything routine, which you have to do.”

The second half did not start off as well for the Tigers. A Kaitlyn Clark handball in the box helped put Vanderbilt right back in the 51st minute. Vanderbilt’s Kaylann Boyd placed her penalty kick right past Dossey in the bottom right corner.

Though the Tigers had outshot the Commodores 18-3, the score was tied.

The tie did not last long, as Sarah Luebbert scored her second goal of the game, assisted by Kaitlyn Clark in the 58th minute. It was Luebbert’s ninth goal of the season and proved to be the game winner.

The freshman’s 21 points this season has been the most for a Missouri player since Alysha Bonnick had 21 in 2010.

Mizzou is nearing the end of the regular season, with only three SEC games remaining. The Tigers next take on Arkansas meet Thursday. Arkansas is third in the SEC with a conference record of 6-2.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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