Senior Peyton Joseph scores first goal in 61-game career

Joseph had only recorded three assists in her previous 60 games for Missouri before scoring Sunday against Xavier.

For senior center back Peyton Joseph, scoring has never been a part of her identity. Prior to Missouri’s 3-2 win over Xavier this Sunday, Joseph hadn’t scored a single goal in her previous 60 games. Her offensive contributions had been limited to three assists in her career, two as a sophomore and one as a junior.

As one of the seniors, Joseph had instead made a considerable effort to establish herself as a mentor for the younger Missouri players this season.

“She decided she wanted to become a better leader, so she has really worked on that,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “She’s so competitive. Sometimes she blows players off, but she’s really worked on that part of her game by leading those young players and 10 freshmen. She’s done a good job.”

On Sunday though, Joseph would get her chance to score as she trotted forward for a Missouri free kick in the 49th minute. Freshman midfielder Eryka McIntyre took the free kick towards the back post where redshirt senior midfielder Madison Lewis was waiting. Lewis headed the ball back across the face of goal to a waiting Joseph, who outleaped everyone for the first goal of her collegiate career and Missouri’s second in the game.

For Blitz, the goal came as a welcome sight.

“We’ve been working on set pieces,” Blitz said. “We’ve worked on them for probably 60 days now and this is our first [goal] so for [Joseph] it’s great [and] for our team it’s great.”

Joseph said that while the goal will always be a special moment in her career, she is more excited about what this year’s team, as a whole, can do.

“I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a goal in my college career as a defender, so I think it’s awesome that I got it done,” Joseph said. “This group we have is really, really special and everyone on the team knows that. We’re such a tight knit group.”

That unity and togetherness was on full display during the celebration of Joseph’s goal as she was swarmed by her teammates.

“This group that we have right now is unlike any we’ve had in the past,” Joseph said. “It’s just really special to share [that goal] with this group of girls.”

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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