COLUMBIA — The score wasn’t what they wanted to see, but the MU soccer team still found positives after losing to No. 7 Texas A&M in its home finale Sunday.
Missouri held its own for the first 69 minutes against the Aggies until junior forward Merritt Mathias scored twice to hand the Tigers a 4-2 loss.
Mizzou (5-8-2 overall, 3-4-0 Big 12) took solace in an offensive effort that produced two separate one-goal leads and kept the Aggies' defense on their toes.
Tiger senior forward Alysha Bonnick netted the game’s first goal in the second minute.
“Coming out hard and scoring early set our momentum,” senior midfielder Krista Kruse said.
In the following minutes Kruse twice sent sliding shots toward the Aggie goal, including one that required a diving save from senior goalkeeper Kelly Dyer.
After a Texas A&M goal in the 38th minute knotted the game at 1, Kruse gave the Tigers another lead in the 49th minute. Bonnick picked up the assist as Kruse scored her sixth goal of the season.
Mathias’ scores in the 69th and 78th minutes put the Tigers away for good.
Despite the defeat, Missouri remained confident that Sunday’s effort could lead to good things.
After being shut out by Texas on Friday night, Kruse saw the offensive production Sunday as a step in the right direction as the Tigers head into their last three games of the season.
“I think that will build our confidence for the next games,” Kruse said.
Tigers coach Bryan Blitz said repeating Sunday's performance would go a long way in making the team successful.
“If we play like we did today going into next week, I think we’re going to have an opportunity to be successful,” Missouri coach said.
Even when Missouri trailed, freshman forward Alyssa Diggs saw a spirit from her teammates that gave her hope.
“Whenever we’re down the positive attitude our team has really helps to get us through the game,” Diggs said. “I’m hoping to see that next weekend.”
The Tigers begin the home stretch of the season 7 p.m. Friday at Baylor, followed by a game at Texas Tech at 7 p.m. Sunday.
“I think we need to be more hungry and more desperate than the teams that we play,” Blitz said. “At this point every game matters for us.”