Mizzou soccer’s aggressive play proves too much for Kentucky

The return of Sarah Luebbert and Bethany Coons sparked a shutout victory.

In Missouri’s Southeastern Conference home opener, the Tigers (7-3, 2-1) edged out Kentucky (4-4-2, 0-2-1) 2-0. Bethany Coons and Sarah Luebbert made their return from a two-game suspension, leading the team to victory with a goal apiece.

“It really showed in practice,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “Everyone came to practice. We have a chance to win the games in the weekends; we win those games in practice.”

All three suspended players played in tonight’s match, with Luebbert and Kaitlyn Clark starting and Coons entering in the first half. With the return of freshman star Luebbert, the Tigers made it apparent that she would be the focal point offensively, going to her early and often in the match.

Savannah Trujillo was extremely active, with a new season high of four shots for Mizzou. The Tigers got contributions from many athletes, with 11 different players recording shots.

“We just have a very good top line, we have a very good defense, we have a very good midfield,” goalie Kelsey Dossey said. “We just have an all-around good team. We have a lot of depth on the team, and that really helps out.”

The scoring began when Coons took a rebound from a Jessica Johnson shot and smashed a goal into the top right corner. It was Coons’ first career goal.

“I’ve been waiting for a while now,” Coons said. “It was really exciting when I finally got the goal. The goalie almost came out on me, but I was lucky enough to put it in.”

Despite only having one goal, Mizzou put up 18 shots in the first half, a season high.

In the second half, Mizzou locked in defensively, with aggressive slide tackles all over the field.

“There is an emphasis on being aggressive,” Blitz said. “If you are going to leave your feet, you better make sure you are going to get it… intelligent aggressiveness.”

With the score at 1-0, the game was still up in the air, and Mizzou struggled to put it away.

“We knew it was coming,” Dossey said. “Just be patient, and we were very patient today; we got what we needed to get done.”

In the 84th minute, Luebbert took a Melanie Donaldson pass and floated it right above the goalie’s head.

“Getting that second goal at the end of the game was very crucial for us,” Coons said. “We put the game away.”

The game was dominated offensively with new season highs in shots (32) and corner kicks (13). Mizzou was also great defensively, holding Kentucky to seven shots, with only two on goal.

“We bent, but we always talk about bending, not breaking,” Blitz said. “We did that. I think our depth was a big part... we talk about how everyone can excel in their role, and we did that tonight.”

The Tigers take on SEC foe Mississippi State on Sunday at home. The Bulldogs are 0-3 in the SEC.

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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