How a team starts a soccer game can really set the tone for the rest of the game. The Mizzou Tigers were looking for a hot start as they headed into their conference matchup against the Florida Gators with zero wins against SEC East foes this season.
The Tigers got what they were looking for just two minutes into the game.
Hannah Boughton crossed a ball into the Gator penalty box which eluded two Florida defenders and found the outstretched foot of Elena Zuchowski, who powered the ball home to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
Mizzou would not register another shot on target for the next seven minutes until Boughton launched another drive at the net which was promptly saved by the Gator keeper.
Just five minutes later Zuchowski would flirt with a goal after another farther shot went just wide of the post, and the Tigers continued to establish their foothold on the game, looking to extend their lead to two.
The play would rest relatively dormant for the next 15 minutes, as the two sides exchanged fouls and free-kicks, with little to show from the set pieces they were given.
Kylee Simmons found herself all alone at the top of the box after a free-kick and zipped a ball with her right foot which found the bottom right of the net, giving the Tigers a very comfortable 2-0 lead just 28 minutes into the match.
Florida would continue to launch shots at the net, but none of them would test Tiger goalkeeper and RS-freshman, Bella Hollenbach. The teams would joust in the middle of field for the rest of the half, leading to a score of 2-0 at halftime.
The Gators came out guns blazing in the second half, scoring eight minutes in off a corner when the airborne Tessa Barton headed the ball in over the fingertips of Hollenbach.
Twelve minutes later, Gator defender Ashley Tutas would take down a Tiger in her own penalty box, leading to a Tiger penalty kick with a chance to seal the game. Milena Fischer stepped up to take the kick from the spot and hammered the ball home, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead with just under 25 minutes left.
With about 10 minutes left, Florida forward Kouri Peace rifled a shot towards goal which was saved with relative ease by Hollenbach.
Florida would eventually cut the lead in half with time winding down as Syd Kennedy curled a ball around Hollenbach into the right of the net, giving the Gators hope with seven minutes left.
The Tigers however, held on and ran out the clock, securing the 3-2 win. The win is the Tigers’ first SEC East win of the season, moving them to 5-6-2 overall with a 2-3-1 record in conference play.