Here is the official word: The No. 10 University of Missouri soccer team ended its season in a penalty kick shootout to the Illinois Fighting Illini 4-3 after a 1-1 game after two overtimes in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Walton Stadium. The Tigers ended their year with a record-breaking 16-5-2 record while the Illini improve to 12-8-2 on the year.
Here is my version: What a game!!! Players were flying all over the field.
The first half was relatively even. The Tigers controlled the ball a bit more and had more build up but the Illini had more dangerous opportunities.
In the second half, Illinois started well and had a bit of an advantage. In the 56th minute Chichi Nweke slid one past the Tiger keeper. From that point on, the Tiger’s turned up the pressure. Shot after shot went just wide, just high, just off the post or into the Illini keeper.
In the 74th minute, some smart passing and a good run into space put Mallory Stipetich in alone with Alexandra Kapicka, The Illinois goalie. Stipetich was able to force the keeper one way and then put the ball down the middle. Alysha Bonnick and Michelle Collins contributed the assists. Here is the Missouri goal...
Through the rest of the second half numerous opportunities came the Tigers way but again they kept going just past goal. Illinois countered when possible and weathered the storm. Regulation time ended tied at one.
At half time the shorts were relatively even with Illinois up 6 – 5 but in the second half the Tigers out shot Illinois 15 - 4 and that trend continued in the double overtime where Missouri added 6 to Illini’s 1 for a total shot advantage of 28-11. The Corner kicks favored Mizzou as well, 12 to 2.
As it so often does, it came down to the shootout from the penalty spot. Both teams put one over the crossbar to keep it even going in to the 5th round. The Illinois player placed the ball nicely out of reach of the Tiger keeper, but the Illinois keeper guessed correctly and blocked the Tiger shooters to win. Illinois moves on in the tournament and The Big 12 Champion Tigers stay home to reflect on a great season.
It was a hard fought and often physical game as both teams showed they really wanted the win. While the Tigers were not lucky, a little better shooting and they would not have needed any luck at all.
Looking forward to next year Missouri…
Good luck Illini…
The rest of the photos can be found in: MU vs ILL Gallery