St. Louis was the beneficiary of a neutral ground Spring exhibition soccer match Sunday between the Mizzou Tigers and the Fightin’ Illini. The two Division I programs made the trek for the second straight year and played in front of several hundred at Francis Howell Central High School under a bright sun. The game finished 2-1 in favor of Missouri as Madison Lewis scored a brace, including her 80th minute game-winner.
PHOTO GALLERY Mizzou v Illinois by Ole (coming shortly)
Mizzou opened the scoring Sunday in the 20th minute. It started in their end with sophomore Momola Adesanmi (I think, no jersey numbers) holding the ball under pressure along the touchline. Her outlet found Sarah Luebbert near the center circle and upon receiving it, Luebbert used a left foot/right foot combination to quickly split a pair of defenders and move towards goal. Two touches later a simple ball sent forward was run onto from the left by Madison Lewis who took one touch forward before shooting to the far side beyond the keepers reach. It was the first of two for Lewis.
The Tigers looked to be playing a 4-4-2 diamond with Jr Anna Frick (Nerinx Hall) in the defensive midfield role and Luebbert in front of her. On the wings were Jr Bethany Coons (Union) and freshman Blythe Beldner (Eureka) at different points in the game while sophomore Cassidy Nurnberger played in a central defensive role, although sparingly due to an ankle injury against the Chicago Red Star reserves. Spring games are not a time for make in-depth evaluations, especially when I only see a few games a year but I’d like to see a 4-2-3-1, especially in the SEC. Frick is fabulous at that defensive midfield role, especially if paired with Macy Trujilljo (St. Teresa) as the 8. With Luebbert in the 10 spot, the trio would offer more control of the midfield. Now I can comeback in the Fall and see how it plays out!
The Fightin’ Illini tied the game later in the first half when freshman Makena Silber hammered a 35 yard shot over the keepers head in front of her teammates on the bench.
The second half looked to finish in the draw until some terrific 1v1 battles and some excellent communication broke the deadlock. It started near the center cirle with Coons stepping into an attempted clearance, winning the ball and moving along the touchline towards goal. Another battle in the offensive third saw her cut inside before finding freshman Julissa Cisneros with a square ball. Cisneros quickly continued it, finding Lewis who settled and fired to the left just inside the upright. It came in the 81st minute and celebration ensued. That’s Cisneros embracking Lewis while Lubbert can be seen celebrating with Coon’s in the background. Anna Frick coming forward with open palms.
In the meantime check out a few shots on my Instagram
— Mark Tipton (@Mark_Tipton) April 7, 2019
— Mizzou Soccer (@MizzouSoccer) October 28, 2018