Penalty kick seals Missouri’s season in 104th minute against LSU

A strong showing by Missouri, led by freshman Julissa Cisneros, was put to waste by the foul, which allowed LSU senior Alex Thomas to send her team to the quarterfinals.
Freshman forward Julissa Cisneros fires a bicycle kick on goal in the 21st minute of Missouri's 2-1 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Cisneros finished the game with the lone shot.

In its second longest game of this year, Missouri’s fate came down to a penalty kick in the 104th minute taken by LSU senior Alex Thomas. Logging her third and final goal of the game, Thomas sealed Missouri’s season, which has been characterized by overtime losses.

The LSU Tigers (5-4-1, 12-6-1) defeated the Missouri Tigers (3-6-1, 6-11-2) 3-2 on Oct. 28, advancing them to the quarterfinals of SEC Tournament play. LSU will next take on the Tennessee Volunteers (7-2-1, 13-2-2) at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Today marked the first time the team has appeared in the tournament since 2015.

Until that final penalty was called on Missouri freshman Blythe Beldner, the Tigers had played a solid game led by All-SEC Freshman Julissa Cisneros.

Coming off of the bench in the 24th minute of the game, Cisneros kickstarted the game for the Tigers when she found herself with the ball at the top of the 18 yard box. Missouri was down 1-0, but Cisneros quickly changed that with a straight shot to the upper left corner of the goal, tying up the game.

She then tied up the game again when Missouri was awarded a penalty kick after LSU’s Chiara Ritchie-Williams was called for a handball in the box. With just under six minutes left in the game, Cisneros easily netted the kick to the bottom left side of the goal.

The freshman finished the game with six shots, trailed closely by Sarah Luebbert, Bethany Coons and Bella Alessi, who logged four, three, and two shots respectively. Overall, the Tigers registered 20 shots throughout the 104 minutes of gameplay.

LSU was led by game winner Thomas, who scored the first goal of the game in the 4th minute off of an assist by Tinaya Alexander. She also logged the Tigers’ second goal, which came in the 80th minute. The senior, who is the only LSU player to have been on the roster the last time the team made the tournament, is currently on an eight game scoring streak.

Some could say the outcome of Missouri’s season was unsurprising, as the team lost three of six overtime games prior to the game against LSU, and had found themselves in a scoreless draw for the other three. Barely scraping their way into the tournament, the Tigers also finished last in both scoring, with 14 goals, and assists, with 11.

Unfortunately, the end of Missouri’s season also saw the injuring of two key players. Freshman Ariela Beharry had to be carried off of the field by athletic trainers as well as coach Bryan Blitz in the 86th minute. Beharry had collided with fellow freshman Skye Kingsley, cleats flying, and her vocal reaction the the collision could be heard even over the television broadcast. Around a minute later, junior Madison Lewis had to be helped off the field as well. She had been held out of the starting lineup after suffering a muscle strain during the previous game.

While LSU advances in Orange Beach, Alabama, Missouri will head home to Columbia, where it will have to wait until next season to take the field again.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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