It took 27 shots, but the Missouri soccer team finally connected with 3 minutes left to defeat Iowa 1-0 on Sunday in the last game of this year’s Nike Tiger Invitational.
Junior Jennifer Nobis scored her fourth goal of the season off a corner kick by senior Karen Bauer to finish off the Hawkeyes after dominating them throughout the game at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
The Tigers had 29 shots compared to Iowa’s three, but Iowa’s All-Big 10 goalkeeper, Britta Vogele frequently frustrated them.
“Our defense played great,” sophomore Meggie Malm said. “Our offense played great. We just weren’t able to finish.”
After a disappointing loss to Wisconsin on Friday because of a slow start, team members said their goal was to avoid the same mistakes. The team came out on Sunday determined to play well for a full game.
“Coming into today, the one thing that we said was to play a full 90 minutes,” Nobis said. “That’s our goal every single game, and we have not done that. That’s why we’ve lost those games. Today, we played a full 90-minute game and as frustrating as it was today, we played all the way to the end and that’s what got us that goal.”
The MU defense held Iowa to one shot in the first half, while the Tigers’ offense kept Vogele busy. The offense moved the ball well and took 15 shots but was unable to hit the back of the net. Vogele’s six saves kept the game scoreless.
“(Vogele) can always keep you in the game,” MU coach Bryan Blitz said. “It’s like a pitcher in baseball. That probably frustrates a lot of teams, and they stop trying. I think we’re proudest of our team for that reason.”
In the second half, the Tigers continued to dominate on offense with 11 more shots, but Vogele and the Hawkeye defenders continued to thwart them. Blitz said the way his team handled the disappointment of so many close calls pleased him.
“I think it was easy for the kids to get frustrated,” Blitz said. “And I think their maturity showed all the way to the end of the game.”
MU kept firing at the Iowa defense throughout the second half, not allowing Vogele any rest. Nobis and Malm said the team breathed a sigh of relief when it finally succeeded.
“It was great,” Bauer said. “I didn’t care if I was involved at all. I’m just glad we got a goal because we’d been working so hard all game. It was great to have one go in.”
Laura Buehrig, the Tigers’ freshman goalkeeper, made two saves.
“(The MU defense) could have fallen asleep,” Blitz said. “That’s what tends to happen sometimes when you keep attacking the whole time. They stayed with it and we’re proud of them for focusing the whole 90 minutes.”
The Tigers are 2-2 going into next weekend’s home games. The team will face Stanford at 7 p.m. on Friday and Florida at noon on Sunday at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Complex.
“We have the talent,” Nobis said. “We have the motivation and the integrity. All we have to do is come out and play 90 minutes next weekend against these two hard teams.”