Mizzou soccer upended by Texas

Story by Kaveh Kaghazi
Photos by Karen Mitchell

A shot gets by Missouri goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein for a Texas score in the first half. Texas beat Missouri 2-1 Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011 at Walton Stadium in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri lost the battle in the midfield Sunday, and consequently, the match.

“We just didn’t defend well in the midfield today,” said coach Bryan Blitz. “We looked a little bit flat in the midfield and I think that was the difference.”

The Tigers (9-5) failed to make it two in a row against Texas schools as the Texas Longhorns notched a 2-1 win Sunday at Walton Stadium. Blitz’s squad earned a 1-0 win Friday night against No. 17 Texas A&M in front of season-high crowd of 1,224.

“We had more energy and we were a little bit sharper Friday than we were on Sunday, but that’s for everybody,” Blitz said. “We know on Sunday the game is all about can you out-hustle? Can you out-run? Can you out-focus on the Sunday games opposed to the Friday games?”

Sunday, however, was a different story. Texas looked sharp early, testing Missouri goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein with three shots in the match’s first five minutes.

Missouri found a spark in the 13th minute when junior midfielder Haley Krentz blasted a shot from 25 feet out that flew past Texas goalkeeper Alexa Gaul and into the back of the net.

But it was all Texas from there.

The Longhorns tied it in the 22nd minute when Kristin Cummins flicked back a perfectly placed cross to midfielder Lexi Harris. Harris had a wide-open shot in the box and booted it past Sauerwein.

“I think we got comfortable after we scored and we just stopped fighting,” midfielder Dominique Richardson said. Richardson was held without a shot on goal Sunday. The Tigers managed just five shots on goal in the game.

Texas took the lead in the 36th minute when Hannah Higgins’ shot went off Sauerwein’s fingertips and fell to the feet of Longhorns’ forward Allison Smith. Smith had an easy goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.

The Longhorns controlled the tempo by keeping possession in the midfield and spreading out their attack. “They spread us out really wide and our midfielders got disconnected from each other,” Richardson said.

Texas midfielder Vanessa Ibewuike made her presence felt throughout the match. Ibewuike ran wild down the sidelines, getting six shots and three shots on goal. Missouri’s attack fell short Sunday, in part because they couldn’t keep possession of the ball. Texas pushed their defense back, denying Missouri any legitimate scoring opportunities. Blitz felt his team’s attack was a little over zealous Sunday.

“I think you have to decide when you have a realistic chance of scoring goals and when you don’t,” Blitz said. “I think sometimes we settle for long shots, and it had to do a lot with their defense.”

The Tigers fell to 1-3 in conference play with Sunday’s loss. Blitz said the Tigers need to find consistency in practice before they’re ready to string along back-to-back big wins.

“We had one good day of practice so it did translate into Friday but we didn’t have two good days of practice,” Blitz said. “So it’s going to be hard two have two good performances against two good teams on the weekend if we don’t change that.”

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