The finish Sunday left players, coaches and fans wondering what happened.
The goal that handed the Missouri women’s soccer team a 2-1 overtime loss to No. 24 Oklahoma wasn’t a typical winning score.
With three minutes left in overtime at Audrey J. Walton Stadium, the Sooners’ Savannah Scott advanced the ball down the right side toward the Tigers’ goal. As she crossed the ball, it appeared to go over the end line, meaning a goal kick for the Tigers. Referee Bob Jovanovic kept his whistle at his side, though, and the ball passed in front of the net, hit the far post, then slid in.
As the referees jogged toward the sideline, the stadium stayed silent until the Sooners realized the goal would stand. MU coach Bryan Blitz disputed the play, but could not change the official’s decision.
“You can never blame it on the referee,” Blitz said. “We’re going to get those calls somewhere else. We were controlling our own destiny, and we put it in their hands, and that’s what happens.”
With seven minutes left, the Tigers led 1-0 and seemed to have everything under control. The Sooners (7-3-1) weren’t giving up, though.
Oklahoma’s Lauren MacIver sent a high shot into the penalty box, where Scott put a header over charging MU goalkeeper Megan Duncan, sending the game into overtime.
“I would put the first goal all on my shoulders,” Duncan said. “I should have come out and called for the ball or stayed on my line. I should’ve made a decision.”
Jennifer Nobis, a sophomore who is second on the Tigers in points with 12, saw limited time because of a separated left shoulder. So it was up to Kristen Heil, Adriene Davis and Melissa Peabody to lead the Tigers attack, and they produced 16 shots.
Peabody gave Missouri the lead eight minutes into the second half. Elyse Nikonchuck headed Karen Bauer’s corner kick to Aria Hudetz, who crossed the ball from the right side to Peabody for the goal.
“They put me in that position on corners for a reason,” Hudetz said. “I got the ball and could’ve either shot it, probably overpower it from that angle, or just try and get it in the middle. I saw Missy and she put it in perfectly.”
Said Peabody: “I just hit it in with my body. It kind of went off my thigh, it didn’t go off my foot or anything.”
The Tigers played another solid game defensively. In the scoreless first half, Missouri (6-6) stopped six Sooners shots.It took a team effort to defend the goal, with Heil making a save in the 18th minute. A shot off an OU corner kick pulled Duncan out of position, and the Sooners’ Logan Womack got the rebound. Heil blocked Womack’s shot and fended off her attacks until Duncan collected the ball.
The loss ended a five-game home winning streak and gives the Tigers an 0-3 conference record.
“We were one up with about seven minutes left,” Blitz said. “It just feels like we maybe lost focus for a few seconds. That’s all it takes against a ranked team or anytime in conference play. It’s a hard, painful lesson that I think our kids will learn fast.”