Missouri soccer shares points with Mississippi State in a 1-1 draw

The Tigers and Bulldogs played an evenly matched game through 110 minutes, only to keep Missouri’s SEC road game winless streak alive.

Missouri’s Southeastern Conference winless road game streak extended Saturday night as the Tigers tied with Mississippi State 1-1.

The slump has persisted for three years. The last conference victory away from the confines of Walton Stadium came against Kentucky on Oct. 11, 2017.

Missouri (1-2-2) and Mississippi State (2-1-3), despite being on opposite sides of their respective conference division tables, fought evenly in Starkville, Miss. Not only did the scoreline reflect a level match, the way both teams scored were almost identical as well. “It’s tough to win on the road in the SEC, and for us to pick up a point is a positive we can build on,” coach Bryan Blitz said in an emailed statement. “After two straight overtime matches, we have to focus on being prepared for a dangerous Kentucky team at home next weekend.”

If Missouri hopes to break their winless streak, they must convert more on the presented chances. Passes into the final third were often off target.

A key example from Saturday’s game was a mistake made by Mississippi State’s goalkeeper, Maddy Anderson. In an attempt to clear the ball, she slipped on the wet grass and fell to the ground. Fortunately for Mississippi, the Tigers were unable to follow up quickly enough to put the ball in the back of the net. Missouri once again relied on its coach’s high-intensity mentality in the opposing team’s defensive third, and while that works well against most teams, Mississippi State countered with their own play style.

The Bulldogs took a more conservative approach. They didn’t get up the field as quickly as the Tigers and slowed the game down as much as possible. When they did enter the attacking third of the field, they had numbers up on the play, which resulted in more quality shots.

Missouri’s goalkeeping situation remained concrete as sophomore Isabella Alessio started for the third game in a row. She made three saves for the Tigers.

Each game, Alessio gains more and more confidence compared to her first start of the season. This time around, she broke up a couple important attacking opportunities for the Bulldogs by stepping outside the 18-yard box to clear the ball from danger.

Missouri, for the third time this season, struck the first blow of the game. In the 38th minute, junior Blythe Beldner sent a ball into a Tiger-invaded 6-yard box. Senior Macy Trujillo placed the ball past Anderson to make the game 1-0.

The Bulldogs, however, struck back in the 57th minute with a carbon copy goal. Freshman KK Pavatt managed to cross a high ball perfectly onto the head of sophomore Onyi Echegini to tie the game.

The Tigers kept up high pressure on the Bulldogs for the majority of the first half, consistently winning 50/50 balls in the midfield. Sophomore Eryka McIntyre stood out for her strong tackles, which put Missouri in offensive positions for a shot on goal.

The remainder of regulation time shifted in favor of Mississippi State. They strung more passes together and opened up the field for the forwards to get in behind Missouri.

For Missouri, junior forward Julissa Cisneros had several opportunities to give the Tigers a much-needed win. She tallied five shots — three of them on frame. Cisneros showed her presence in the first half, but was generally quiet in the second half and overtime.

Coach Blitz has yet to break out the champagne for his 250th career victory for Missouri. The program’s founder and only coach will look to his next game against Kentucky to complete the milestone.

Kentucky remains winless so far this season and is a spot below Missouri in the SEC East Division. The Tigers take on Kentucky at home at 12:00 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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