Soccer Lions do battle with 2 teams, weather in weekend trip

Nathan Mills, Sports Editor

Rain, mud and even a tornado warning slowed down the Missouri Southern women’s soccer team last weekend on their road trip to St. Louis, and that was just during game one.

The Lions traveled to take on the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons in the first game of the trip and came away with a tie, a result that may have been different under different conditions.

“Our game lasted five hours due to rain, pouring rain, tornado sirens and dumb refs,” sophomore defender Samantha Zoltanski said in a Tweet after the game. “And we tied, but still proud of my team!”

The Lions play a more possession focused style of offense than some teams that includes a large amount of passing, something made virtually impossible when puddles on the field stop the ball dead mid pass.

Still, the team carried on, fighting to tie the game 1-1 just before the half. The top returning scorer from last year’s squad, Megan Stueve, came out strong in the second half, scoring her first goal of the season and giving the Lions a lead that they carried late into the game.

In the game’s 85th minute, the Tritons were able to score and tie the game. Two overtime periods later, the game was called a draw.

That long game combined with the field and weather difficulties would prove to be even more costly for the Lions on Sunday as they crossed the border into Illinois to take perennial national championship contender Quincy.

“The thing that we came away from there is that they’re no better than we are,” Head Coach, Alese Woolard said. “We played them in the first half, and if the second half would have been as good as the first half, it might have been a little different result.”

The fifth year senior, Stueve, once again came up big for the Lions, scoring her second goal of the season just 11 minutes into the game, but it would be the only scoring the team would see on the day. The Hawks, national tournament qualifiers six years running, rattled off four unanswered goals to down the Lions 4-1.

Still, Woolard said that game encouraged her and her players about the rest of their season.

“We came away still with a lot of confidence because we know that Quincy is not much better than we are,” she said. “It’s just fixing some of those little things and, you know, the fitness side and things like that.”

Woolard said the team won’t change it’s focus going forward, and they’ll get another chance to show that Lion philosophy this weekend as they take on two more good teams.

The Lions will get little rest with the Southern Nazarene University, a former NAIA powerhouse making the transition to Division-II, but the real test for Woolard and her squad will come Sunday when they take on nationally ranked Abilene Christian.

“We do (have a rough schedule),” Woolard said. “And the girls know that’s how I expect it to be. You’ve got to play the best to be the best, so they know that we’re going to play some tough games that are going to get us ready for conference. I’d like to try to win a few more early on than we did last year. I mean, I know it finally clicked in the end last year, but I’d like to take some of those away from those that don’t expect us to take it from them.”

The Lions will kick off at 7 p.m. tonight with Southern Nazarene at Hal Bodon Field.