COLUMBIA--Oklahoma State sophomore goalkeeper Adrianna Franch and the Cowgirl defense left the Missouri soccer team’s offense stymied Friday night.
Franch stopped five Missouri shots and the Tigers fell to No. 8 Oklahoma State 3-1 at Walton Stadium. The Tigers fell to 3-5-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12.
Franch, who coming into the game led the Big 12 in save percentage (.909) and goals against average (0.37), and the Cowgirl defense made sure the Tigers stayed out of the immediate vicinity of the goal for most of the game.
And when Missouri did manage to get close to scoring, Franch made sure the net behind her went mostly undisturbed and that Oklahoma State (10-1-1, 3-0 Big 12) would bolster its standing atop the conference.
“I thought she really commanded her box and was confident back there,” Missouri coach Bryan Blitz said. “I think that’s what keeps Oklahoma State where they’re at right now, they have a great defense.”
For the Tigers, constantly attacking the Oklahoma State defense was their hope to beating the Cowgirls.
“You have to take advantage of everything you can,” senior forward/midfielder Kari Adam said. “[Franch is] good but it’s our job to challenge her.”
“I think we just needed to have more chances in there,” senior midfielder Krista Kruse said.
Adam was the victim of Franch’s most acrobatic save of the night, when in the 82nd minute her shot on goal was deflected above the net by the leaping goalkeeper.
Blitz said converting shot attempts is crucial when facing a strong goalkeeper and defense, especially when the Tigers doubled Oklahoma State in shots on goal.
“Sure we outshot them 6-3, but you just have to be better in the box,” Blitz said. “You have to be sharper in the box.”
The Cowgirls opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a strike from sophomore defender Carson Michalowski off a corner kick.
The Tigers responded four minutes later when Kruse swatted one past Franch after the ball bounced around off a corner kick.
The Cowgirls closed a frantic start to the game by taking the lead again in the 14th minute with a goal from junior midfielder/forward Krista Lopez. Senior forward Katie Richardson lofted a pass from across the field and Lopez stuck it in past sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Gwin.
The Cowgirls got their insurance goal 12 minutes and 28 seconds into the second half when sophomore forward Megan Marchesano battled a Missouri defender and punched it into an open net.
Missouri hosts Oklahoma at 1 p.m. Sunday at Walton Stadium.