Both shots were “lucky.” The players managed to beat out their defenders, and as they each fired at the goal and saw their balls sail over the goalkeeper’s head, one watched hers hit the back of the net, while another saw her ball bounce off the crossbeam of the goal.
“The difference was their once-in-a-lifetime shot went in and ours didn’t today,” Coach Bryan Blitz said.
The University of Missouri soccer team fell 1-0 to no. 23 Stanford today after out-shooting the Cardinals 15-11 for much of the game, but once again having difficulty finishing on their scoring opportunities.
“It was a good feeling, testing that goalie out and, yeah, she was a great goalie but, we could have put it in,” sophomore midfielder Elyse Nikonchuk said. “Our opportunities were there, we just couldn’t slap them in tonight, but we’re definitely going to get it.”
The teams were evenly matched throughout the first half, with the Tigers avoiding the slow start that cost them last Friday’s game. Stanford’s only goal came in the first half after freshman goalkeeper Laura Buehrig blocked one attempt, but hit the ball into the path of Leah Tapscott, who returned the ball over Buehrig’s head and into the goal.
“I think they did a great job,” Blitz said of his defense. “The kid that scored a goal, that’s the goal of her lifetime. But, that’s the game of soccer. There was nothing we could do.”
The Tigers came out firing in the second half, but were unable to connect. They came closest when Junior Amber Swinehart made it past her defender and Stanford goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart went down. Swinehart took a shot that looked like it would go in, but the ball bounced off the top of the goal.
“It’s frustrating, but it got us going again,” Swinehart said.
Swinehart’s near miss sparked a flurry of shots by MU in the last fifteen minutes, but none of the attempts were successful.
The team is disappointed by the loss, but is proud of its play against a ranked team. Blitz said that this game will be a confidence booster for the Tigers as they prepare to face no. 9 Florida on Sunday.
“Florida’s got something coming for them,” Swinehart said.