With the Missouri-Southeast Missouri NCAA Tournament game tied at 1 after the second overtime, 110 minutes of effort and an entire season were distilled into the flew fleeting, heartstopping moments that are a penalty kick shootout. Missouri goalkeeper Mallory Forst simply won the game with her finest hour as a soccer player.
A Michelle Collins goal for the Tigers in the 17th minute and a Courtney Alexander goal for SEMO left the game tied.
Before the shootout, Forst's teammates encouraged her as she paced about, sipping from a water bottle.
"They made comments about earlier saves that I'd made in games," Forst said. "I told them not to expect that...I felt they had a lot of confidence in me."
Penalty kick shootouts overwhelmingly favor the shooter. SEMO made all five of their penalty kicks in the Ohio Valley Conference title game.
Forst gave them nothing. Time after time Forst turned the penalty kicks away.
Missouri's Kat Tarr, who was playing on an injured ankle from earlier in the game, made Missouri's first penalty kick, so the Tigers were up one before SEMO's fourth shot. Alexander took the shot. Forst started to her left, but the shot was going the other way. Forst stuck her feet out, and the ball bounced off her foot, off the inside corner of the post, and stayed out. Forst had held again.
Then the plot got even richer. Missouri's fifth penalty kick shooter had a shot to win the game and put the Tigers in the second round. The shooter was, naturally, Forst. In her green goalkeeper's jersey and long black pants to ward off the biting cold, Forst stepped up and made the kick, giving Missouri a 2-0 win in the shootout and putting the Tigers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second time ever. Her teammates mobbed her in celebration on the chilled turf of Walton Stadium.
"It was awesome," Collins said of Forst's heroics.
"Certainly Mallory was the star of the game," Missouri coach Bryan Blitz said.
Missouri plays USC at 1 p.m. Sunday at Walton Stadium in the second round.