In their first conference game of the year, Mizzou beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 20-4. Mizzou returned to their normal self after two losses to top 12 teams. The key to victory was Mizzou’s ability to come out fast and firing. Five minutes into the game, Mizzou was up 6-0. Another key to victory was the production of goals and assists from the second line midfield.
Head Coach Eric Chole had this to say about the second line, “When our second line comes out firing and putting points on the board, we can really be a dangerous team. They have the ability to put up a lot of points and when they do, they are a real X factor for us.” Moving into the second quarter, the team was able to keep the momentum going and continued to score. By halftime, Mizzou was up 11-0. In the second half, the team’s focus was on possessing the ball. Mizzou was able to run through their plays and keep the pressure on. Nebraska notched their first goal of the game late in the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Mizzou was up 16-1.
By the start of the fourth, everyone on the Mizzou roster had played in the game. Sophomore Ethan Payer, a two-year starter, had this to say, “It’s a good thing when a team can get their second and third strings in during the end of a game like this, that way younger and inexperienced players can see more playing time and continue to improve.” With six minutes left in the game, the score was 20-1.
A big part of how Mizzou plays is respecting the game. Before every game, the team always comes into a huddle and talks about respecting the game they all love. Given that, the team abided by a “no-shot” rule for the rest of the fourth quarter in an attempt to not run up the score. Senior captain Josh Nelson had this to say, “Too many times teams run up the score on other teams. We don’t try and do that here at Mizzou. Nebraska is a good team and we have had some really close games in the past. We respect them as a program and running up the score would just have been disrespectful.” In the final few minutes of the game, Nebraska was able to cash in on multiple man-up opportunities, scoring three quick goals before time expired.
Saturday’s offensive effort was a team effort with 11 players scoring. The team was lead by Gerry Leonard with six points (three goals and three assists) followed closely by Ryan Biek with five points (four goals and one assist).
Mizzou is scheduled to play Iowa on Saturday, April 14 at Stankowski. Iowa currently sits at 1-1 in conference play, beating Wisconsin and losing a close game to Kansas. Iowa is always a fundamentally sound team and the Tigers have a lot of work to do before the Hawkeyes come to Columbia next weekend.
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