Border rivalry culminates in season-ending win for Missouri soccer

Despite struggles on offense, the Tigers managed to scrape out a win to finish the season.

The sound of the crowd at Audrey J. Walton Stadium on Saturday night told you everything you need to know about a rivalry match.

In this year’s notorious matchup between Missouri and Kansas, also known as “The Border War,” the Missouri women’s soccer team snuck past Kansas with a 1-0 win. For Missouri, the win capped off a 2-2-1 spring season for a team with just 4 graduating seniors.

One of those seniors, Macy Trujillo, was a bright spot throughout the match. She led her squad with two shots on goal and five shots total.

Early in the match, the two teams looked to be in a dead heat, with play often finding itself stuck in the middle of the pitch. This trend would continue for most of the match, though Missouri struggled to keep up with Kansas toward the end of the first half.

At halftime, Missouri had one shot on goal compared to Kansas’s five. Even more tellingly, Kansas logged seven corners in the first half while Missouri logged none.

An all too familiar woe for Missouri in the match was its lack of offensive potency. Too many of its shots came from distances that would never trouble a keeper.

Missouri finished the match with just three shots on goal.

The match-winning goal came off of a free kick by Julissa Cisneros. The kick, which appeared as if it wouldn’t find another Mizzou uniform, instead found the head of a Kansas defender and then in the back of the net for an own goal.

Though the Tiger offense left much to be desired, their defense was largely successful, playing two high wingers and two deep-lying center backs. At times, Kansas was able to split the backs but to no avail as Missouri goalkeeper Isabella Alessio logged five saves and the shutout.

This defense, while young, has proven strong all season and with two freshmen and a sophomore in the starting back line. They seem on track to continue their hot run of form in years to come.

Junior Blythe Beldner found herself having a quietly impressive match that might not reflect in the stat sheet. Playing on the back left wing, Beldner won almost every individual contest she was in, and was a crucial reason the Tigers were able to hold Kansas scoreless.

Having played their last match in February, Missouri looked energized and ready to compete, allowing them to finish their season on a win.

Looking toward next season, most of the Mizzou squad is expected to return in the fall with the exception of seniors Macy Trujillo, Lindsey Whitmore, Momola Adesanmi and Cassidy Nurnberger who will graduate.

Earlier this week, Missouri added Kylie Dobbs to its 2021 signing class. With its signing class now eight strong, this team appears ready to compete again next year.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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