Nov. 7, 2009

Courtesy of Missouri

San Antonio, Texas - The University of Missouri women's soccer team (13-6-3, 7-1-2) fell 3-2 to fifth-seeded Oklahoma State (14-7-0, 5-5-0) in the semifinals of the 2009 Big 12 Championship on Friday. The Cowgirls capitalized on their only three shots on goal of the game to move on to Sunday's championship match and end Missouri's run to defend their tournament title from a year ago.

Oklahoma State tallied the game's first goal in the 20th minute on a well-taken free kick from 20 yards out. Senior striker Siera Strawser placed her shot over the wall and into the top corner of the far post, beating Tigers' senior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore.

Redshirt sophomore Brittany Hopkins had the Tigers' two best scoring chances in the first half. In the 29th minute, the midfielder lost her mark on a corner kick from junior Kari Adam but her volley from eight yards out hit the crossbar. Then with the first half winding down, Hopkins caught Oklahoma State goalkeeper Adrianna Franch out of position but her header went just wide of the near post.

Following the intermission, the Tigers looked poised to tie the match with opportunities from the opening whistle. Junior midfielder Krista Kruse had a diving header saved by Franch in the 46th minute and freshman forward Kendra Collins tried a header from a tough angle in the 60th minute which went off the corner of the posts and bounced out of play.

The Tigers' pressure finally paid off in the 71st minute as junior Alysha Bonnick beat Franch to a lofted cross from sophomore midfielder Kelsey Blincow. The Ontario, Canada native directed her header across the goalline from 10 yards out for her eighth of the year and 30th of her career, moving her into 4th all-time at Mizzou.

The game remained even for just five minutes as Missouri surged ahead in the 76th minute on a free kick taken by senior Kristin Andrighetto. With the ball placed just outside the top of the penalty area, Andrighetto powered her shot past the wall and into the net for her third goal of the tournament, most among all players. The goal, her 11th of the season, moves her into 2nd place on the program's career record books with 96 points.

The Cowgirls responded just over a minute later, again from Strawser. The preseason All-Big 12 selection fought through a group of players at the backpost to head in a free kick taken by sophomore Colleen Dougherty for her sixth goal of the season. Oklahoma State then rallied to complete the comeback in the 81st minute as the team's leading goalscorer, junior midfielder Annika Neimeier, finished a cross from senior Kasey Langdon from close range to put the Cowgirls ahead for good at 3-2.

The Tigers outshot Oklahoma State 12-10, including a 6-3 advantage in shots on frame, and earned 11 corner kicks while conceding just two.

Missouri will now await the 2009 NCAA Tournament announcement, scheduled to air on ESPNews after the 7 o'clock hour on Monday, to see if the Tigers will be among the 64-teams in this year's postseason tournament. The Tigers are coming off back-to-back appearances in the tournament, having reached the second round as hosts on both occasions, and boast a resume that includes the Big 12 regular season title and the third most wins in school history.