The Missouri women’s soccer team fired 21 shots at the Iowa State goal, only to watch them hit the posts, hit the crossbar or fail to elude Iowa State goalkeeper Jo Haig. It was a frustrating end to a frustrating weekend for the Tigers, who fell to Iowa State 2-0 at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Complex.
Going into the contest, the Tigers were looking to avenge Friday’s 3-1 loss to Kansas, and they started well.
“We had so much intensity coming in,” senior forward Jennifer Nobis said. “And we needed to be the ones to score first.”
The Tigers stalled, though.
“We’re hitting the post, we’re missing,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “To be honest with you, we’re not good enough, we’re not efficient enough. You look at every game we play, we’re creating opportunities and we’re just not capitalizing on our opportunities at this point.”
Missouri fell to 5-8-1 and 2-4-0 in the Big 12 Conference, while Iowa State improved to 6-7-0, 3-2-0.
The Tigers outshot Iowa State 21-20, but Missouri managed 13 shots on goal to Iowa State’s eight. MU has consistently outshot its opponents throughout the season with 17.6 shots per game to its opponents’ 12.1., but the Tigers have only scored 15 goals to their opponents 23.
“We’re obviously getting the shots off,” sophomore forward Aria Hudetz said. “It’s happened to us in a number of games where we’ll get like 20 shots off, but we’re struggling on finishing. It’s hard because we’re practicing that at practice, and it’s still not coming through for us very well.”
Missouri and Iowa State were even for most of the first half, with neither side dominating for long. At the half, the score was tied at zero and the teams had nine shots a piece, but six of Missouri’s shots were on goal.
The game stayed even until five minutes into the second half when Amy Flores, Iowa State’s junior forward, made it past the MU defenders and scored unassisted. The final blow came when Cyclone freshman Brittanie Waddell headed the ball into the goal off Renee De St. Aubin’s corner kick. Junior Jennifer Nobis led Missouri with seven shots, but the Iowa State defense seemed prepared for her. Blitz said he thinks opposing teams focus on Nobis, the Tigers leading scorer with six goals.
“I would if I were them, and it’s working,” Blitz said. “Our other forwards aren’t producing at this point and haven’t produced all year long. It’s unfortunate that she’s got to carry the load, and one person can’t do it.”
The Tigers’ defense played well again. With Iowa State continually pushing the ball into the Tigers’ end of the field, the Tigers thwarted most threats with Laura Buehrig making six key saves.
“I think the defense did a great job,” Blitz said. “I think it’s unfortunate that they’re under so much pressure right now … our defenders are carrying us at this point and keeping us in games.”
As the team prepares for next weekend’s road trip to Texas A&M and Texas, Blitz said he will consider a change to Missouri’s lineup if he thinks it will improve the offense’s ability to finish.
“We’re certainly not in rhythm up front,” Blitz said. “We need to look for different options I think.”
Sophomore midfielder Elyse Nikonchuk said she thinks the team’s problems might be mental.
“In practices, we will kick each other’s butt and we will tackle hard,” Nikonchuk said. “We will do anything to win the ball against each other, but when it comes down to the field I think that it’s more about heart, not necessarily where everybody’s playing and what everybody else needs to do. It’s all about heart.”