Four Tigers had two or more goals in Missouri’s close encounter with the Missouri Baptist Spartans on Tuesday afternoon as the Tigers came out on top, 10-7
Midfielders Gerry Leonard, Matt Vollmer and attackman Tim Adams each scored two goals while attackman Zach Nisson led that Tigers with three. Adams recorded two assists and captain Josh Nelson grabbed an impressive nine ground balls in the Missouri win. Goalie Sean Hogarty protected the nets well with 12 saves and just seven goals allowed.
The first quarter was one to forget for the Tigers, who trailed the majority of the period until Leonard ripped a shot from 10 yards out to tie the game at one in the closing minutes of the quarter. The team tried to wake each other up prior to the start of the second quarter.
“We were talking smack, trying to get each other up and telling each other that we’re better than them,” Nisson said. “Cause we were. We were dramatically better than that team. Just sometimes you come out flat, that’s all. You still have three quarters left to play. You can’t put your head down for one minute.”
The Tigers opened up the second quarter with goals from Adams and freshman midfielder Walter Reilly. The Spartans responded with two of their own goals to tie the game at three apiece. Missouri then answered back again with two more consecutive points and the Tigers regained control, 5-3.
The third quarter started out with two Missouri goals from Leonard and Vollmer in the opening minutes. Leonard dodged his way through the defense for an acrobatic goal and Vollmer took the feed from Adams and fired a shot into the back of the net to put the Tigers up 7-3. Missouri Baptist scored two out of the next three goals to end the quarter at 8-5, in Missouri’s favor. Nisson gave credit to the underclassmen for providing an offensive spark in the third.
“Younger guys stepping up,” Nisson said. “That’s a big thing for us. Also we mellowed out. We started to calm down, and we just went and played lacrosse.”
Neither team did much in the first half of the fourth quarter, but with five minutes left to play, the Tigers scored two goals in 10 seconds. Now in the desperation stage of the game, Missouri Baptist called a timeout with just under three minutes remaining, down five goals. The Spartans came out of the timeout and scored two goals, but their efforts came too little too late.
Despite the victory, the Tigers didn’t feel like they played their best lacrosse. Adams recognizes that they’ll need to play better than they did against the Spartans over their three-game trip down to Texas over spring break.
“I kind of understood that the team was a little out of whack since the real quick change in schedule,” Adams said. “We can’t come out flat to any of these three teams that we’re going to play or else we’re going to lose. It’s that simple.”
The Tigers will look to return to their high level of play when they travel to Ft. Worth to take on TCU. Missouri will also play SMU and Texas State on their trip next week.