Despite being upset by Auburn on the road last Friday, Missouri soccer is still in good position for an good spot in the SEC Tournament, and a potential bid in the NCAA tournament.
Mizzou is currently in 4th place in the SEC, with matches against 17th-ranked Georgia (3rd place in SEC) and Alabama(6th place) on the docket this weekend, they're beginning their toughest stretch of games to end this year. Of their final five games, four of those are against teams currently in the top six of the conference, so if MU hopes to make a push back to NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012, they'll need to string together several impressive performances this last few weeks.
Let's start with Georgia tonight. On paper, UGA is one of the best all-around teams in the SEC, ranking in the top four in almost every statistically category in the conference. Goals, Goal Allowed Average, Shots on Goal average, Points, and so on and so forth. Sophomores Gabby Seiler and Marion Crowder have led the way offensively, pacing UGA to an average of 2.25 goals/game, good for 3rd in the SEC. They've also combined for 14 goals this season. In goal, Freshman Louis Hogrell has been dominant in goal during his first season on campus, allowing just eight goals through the first 11 matches for a GAA of 0.81, second best in the conference this season. All three have been the driving force behind the Dawgs success in 2014.
Outside of Florida and South Carolina, Georgia will be the best team the Tigers will have faced this year. MU and UGA are very evenly matched, with great keepers in net and two forwards that can rip off big 20-30 yard scores at will. This game will be decided in the waning minutes.
Georgia 1, Mizzou 1
Sunday's game against the Crimson Tide will still be a tough test in its' own right, ranking just ahead or behind Mizzou in most of the statistical categories in the SEC. What has made the Tide defense so effective has been how they've been able to spread the attack out throughout their offense, with 11 different players tallying a score this year. The Tide haven't played a tough stretch of SEC foes, like Mizzou, but have several good wins to boost their standing in the conference this year. This game is very similar to the Auburn game a week ago, however, with Mizzou back in the friendly confines of Walton Stadium, I expect the Tigers will be able to pull a close one out over the Tide.
Mizzou 2, Alabama 1
Ah, yes. Where do we start with Volleyball?
Well, they dropped their sixth non-conference match this monday to Missouri-Kansas City, a team that MU hadn't lost to to since 1994. I wasn't alive the last time the 'Roos beat the Tigers! Carly Kan lead the way 19 kills and 12 digs, continuing to carry the offensive workload for this team. She has almost 20% of the teams total kills this year. Kan, and the whole offense for that matter, would be 100-times more effective if they would cut down on the numerous attack errors. The Tigers are averaging ~20 errors per match, dropping their attack percentage around .240 for the year.
Here's my diagnosis for the rest of this season. Any top four/five team in the conference is more than likely going to beat Mizzou. So upcoming matches against Florida, Kentucky, and Texas A&M? I would say those do not favor the Tigers. Missouri has taken care of business against the the last place teams like Auburn and Mississippi State, but they've struggled against middle of the road teams in Ole Miss and Georgia. LSU comes to Columbia this weekend, ranked just behing Mizzou in the SEC at 3-3. All-SEC Briana Holman has been the standout player at the net with a team-best 212 kills on .376 hitting. Whitney Little and Holman will be the match-up to watch at the net. On paper, both teams are incredibly close. I give the slight advantage to MU due to their current 12 match winning streak in the Hearnes Center. It's difficult to beat the Tigers at home, but LSU will give it the old college try and some.
Mizzou 3, LSU 2.
Sunday, the Tigers travel to Starkville to take on Mississippi State. MSU is pretty bad at Volleyball. Mizzou has already swept the Bulldogs 3-0 this year, hitting .425 while holding #CLANGA (is that allowed?) to just .204 hitting. This should be a cakewalk.
Mizzou 3, Mississippi State 0