The seasons change, but Columbia women’s soccer’s scorers stay the same.
The No. 21 Cougars opened their spring schedule by defeating No. 22 Missouri Valley 2-1 thanks to goals on either side of halftime from Jewel Morelan and Abigail Meyer.
Morelan and Meyer were the Cougars’ (8-2, 6-0 American Midwest Conference) top scorers in the fall with eight and six goals, respectively, and they carried that form into Thursday’s match at R. Marvin Owens Field in Columbia.
“Two best players on the field today,” Columbia coach John Klein said. “When we think of Jewel, we think she’s our best chance of scoring, and (Meyer), 100% the best player on the field.”
Morelan put the Cougars ahead in the 19th minute with a right-footed strike from inside the box into the top-right corner of the net, and Meyer doubled the lead with a penalty kick in the 55th minute.
But despite their early dominance, the Cougars spent much of the second half with their backs to the wall.
Vikings senior Valentina Cardoso Rodriguez put her side within one just two minutes after Columbia’s second goal. From that moment on, Missouri Valley looked more likely to grab the next goal.
Columbia would register just one shot on goal in the final 35 minutes of the match. The Vikings, meanwhile, would have a goal ruled out for offside, force Cougars goalkeeper Kate Marshall into three saves and see defender Natalia Ruiz blaze a six-yard sitter over the bar late in the match.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t get the third goal and we didn’t get the shutout,” Klein said. “(Missouri Valley) were certainly the better team in the final 25 minutes, but they were also the more urgent team because they needed to score a tying goal.”
But Columbia would survive thanks to the early efforts of two of its most reliable sources.
“I think that’s the nature of soccer — a win’s a win,” Klein said. “We’re always going to try and get the early goal, and I’m proud of what they did today.”