Mizzou soccer eliminated in the first round of the SEC Tournament

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By Ben Burke, 23 Sports

Wednesday, Nov. 5-

Despite being a four seed in the SEC tournament, the Missouri women’s soccer team was eliminated in Wednesday night’s quarterfinal matchup by the South Carolina Gamecocks by a score of 2-1.

In the end, the Tigers could not match the level of play from when these teams met back in September, a game in which Mizzou won 1-0.

While it was Missouri’s mission to get some early pressure on the rugged South Carolina defense, it was the Gamecocks who dominated possession, relying on junior forward Raina Johnson and SEC Freshman of the Year Savannah McCaskill to create chances.

Although the Tiger defense held firm the first part of the game, they finally cracked in the 24th minute, when a pass from sophomore Chelsea Drennan found Stevi Parker. Parker sent a low shot into the back left corner of the net, right outside the outstretched arms of Mizzou goalie McKenzie Sauerwein.

The goal, Parker’s third of the season, was a result of Missouri’s inability to get the ball cleared out of the 18 yard box. There was a massive struggle for possession until the ball found the foot of Drennan.

Meanwhile, on the offensive side, Mizzou had nothing to show for the first 25 minutes of play outside of a few crosses that didn’t connect.

It took until the 27th minute for the Tigers to even register a shot, as Kaysie Clark’s attempt was easily saved by South Carolina goalie Sabrina D’Angelo. The Canadian keeper allowed just .57 goals per game heading into the contest.

Missouri stepped up the offensive pressure after allowing the goal, but after D’Angelo stopped two last second shots, the half ended with the Tigers trailing 1-0.

Missouri came out firing to start the second half, as their best chance to tie came in the 49th minute. Kaitlyn Clark fired a laser from long range that hit the post on the upper left side of the goal.

What appeared to be just an unlucky break for Mizzou was actually D’Angelo’s best save of the night. The keeper leaped and got just enough on the ball to deflect it out of the net and to the post.

With Missouri threatening, South Carolina looked to pad their lead. They did so in the 57th minute, as sophomore forward Sophie Groff scored for the 6th time this year.

The goal was set up by McCaskill, who found Groff open up field after winning a loose ball among several Tigers. It took Groff one move to get by the last line of defense, and she put the ball in the lower right corner of the net, again right outside of Sauerwein’s reach.

Groff and McCaskill are now tied for the team lead in points with 15 apiece.

The Tigers were in real trouble now. Going into the game, the Gamecocks had only given up multiple goals twice this season, with those times were to the top two seeds in the SEC tournament, Florida and Texas A&M.

Mizzou felt that pressure, as around the 60th minute, they started shooting from farther out. Kaysie Clark had one of her long-range bombs go just high and wide of the goal, another chance that just missed.

Despite the increase in shots, Missouri couldn’t get anything by D’Angelo, and she appeared to be on her way to her 29th career shutout. This was until Alli Magaletta finally put the Tigers on the board in the 87th minute with her 3rd goal on the year.

Kaysie Clark picked up her team-leading 12th assist on the play; setting up Magaletta with one of her several quality crosses on the game.

The next few minutes were a crazy blur of activity. Mizzou finally went back to the up-tempo, chaotic style of offense that got them to this point, and tallied several chances to score the equalizing goal at the end of the game.

Freshman Jessica Johnson had two header attempts later in the 87th minute, while Magaletta had a long range shot the next minute, but nothing could find the back of the net and South Carolina escaped with the 2-1 victory.

With the lost, the Tigers drop to 11-6-3 on the season. The future of their season will be determined with the NCAA selection show on Monday, Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m.