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Mizzou Soccer claims the Braggin’ Rights as they defeat rivals Illinois at home 2-1

Two goals in the first 20 minutes of the game were just enough to finally secure a rivalry victory

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After two prior unsuccessful attempts at rivalry wins in this campaign, Head Coach Stefanie Golan’s Missouri Tigers were hungry for a rivalry win in front of their home fans against Illinois.

Just 13 minutes in, the Tigers got off to the hot start they were looking for as a long free kick from Rachel Kutella found itself on Jenna Bartels’ feet as she karate-kicked the ball into the net over the Illinois goalkeeper. For her heroics, Bartels was named player of the game by Mizzou fans.

Just eight minutes later, after some relatively dormant play, a blocked shot in the box fell right onto Kylee Simmons’ feet as she hammered the ball home into a wide-open cage as the Illinois goalkeeper was way out of position. From this point onward, it was clear the Tigers’ goal was to maintain the lead and make a defensive stand.

After allowing two goals on two shots on goal last game, it was integral that goalkeeper Bella Hollenbach find her mojo again, and she did in a big way. Hollenbach made three saves back-to-back-to-back to keep the Tigers up two at halftime, and she showed the form that got her on the SEC All-Freshman team last season.

Things went the Illini’s way to begin the second half as a bad foul in the box led to an Illinois penalty, which was hit home with ease, cutting the lead in half and putting the Tigers at risk of blowing another rivalry lead.

A free kick in the 60th minute was saved by Hollenbach, and “Saved by Hollenbach!” was all that the Illini would hear for the remainder of the game as the Tigers cruised to a 2-1 victory and secured the Braggin’ Rights after losses the previous two years.

Missouri outshot Illinois 9-5 in shots on goal, and 14-11 in shots total. Funnily enough, this wasn’t as dominant of a performance as they had against kansas, but the Tigers cleaned up their mistakes from set pieces and Hollenbach was much more rigid between the sticks and those were the keys to their triumph last night.

Illinois had a chance to even the series at six wins apiece but with the Tiger win, Missouri now leads the all-time series 7-5-2 and has moved to 3-1-2 on the season. The 5-0 defeat at the hands (feet?) of Nebraska still stands as the Tigers’ only loss in the non-conference slate.

UP NEXT: Missouri will take on Missouri State in St. Louis on Sunday, September 10th at 1 PM CT as part of the Zou to the Lou festivities.