ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - Mizzou Soccer (4-2-2) pulled out a winner in dramatic fashion to claim a 2-1 victory over the Florida Gators (2-7-1). With the win, Mizzou advances to the quarterfinals of the SEC Soccer Tournament. The fifth-seeded Tigers will face the defending tournament champions, fourth-seeded South Carolina.
The win is Mizzou's third-ever win in the conference tournament, and its first since 2017.
Just 17 minutes into the match, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead as Macy Trujillo grabbed her third goal of the season. Following Bella Alessi's steal from a Gator defender, Trujillo would take the pass and score on a skillful pull back in the box to fool a Florida defender and send it under the keeper. Florida would respond in a matter of minutes as Cassidy Lindley was able to pull in a long ball from Alivia Gonzalez and dribble around Isabella Alessio, rolling in the score in the 21st minute. If not for a number of saves from Gator goalkeeper Susi Espinoza, the Tigers may have found more than one first half goal as Mizzou sent in 13 first-half shots to Florida's four.
The second half-while more defensive-oriented-was where Mizzou found the go-ahead goal as Alessi secured the victory with a goal in the 72nd minute.
As the second half trudged along in a more defensive-oriented manner than the first, Mizzou and Florida were even at one goal apiece deep into the half. With 20 minutes remaining in the match, Cassidy Nurnberger went down with an injury after being on the receiving end of a slide tackled, and she had to be helped off the field. Minutes later, energized to end the stalemate, Zoe Cross sent in a long ball into the box where Macy Trujillo met the cross with her header. Trujillo's header bounced toward goal where Bella Alessi slid into the Gator keeper, sending the ball just over Espinoza and into the back of the net.
For the final few minutes of action, Mizzou defended just as they did for the entire half and limited the Gator attackers to just three shots in the second half. A crucial block came from Grace Kitts in the 85th minute as the redshirt senior blocked a point-blank shot from Florida's Deanne Rose. By the end of the match, the Tiger defense stifled the Gators as Florida was limited to seven total shots and just one goal.
- After scoring in the fourth minute of last week's match against Florida, senior midfielder Macy Trujillo opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Trujillo also tied a career-high of three shots on the evening.
- Trujillo also contributed in the closing minutes of the match as she settled a long ball from Zoe Cross to assist Bella Alessi's game-winning goal.
- Coming off a brace against Florida to end the regular season, Bella Alessi netted another goal against the Gators-this time in the form of a game-winner-on three shots. The senior midfielder also tied a career-high on the night with two shots on goal.
- Eryka McIntyre, Blythe Beldner, Isabella Alessio, and Grace Kitts all contributed to the win with 90 minutes played.
- As Mizzou outshot Florida 18-7, six different Tigers sent in at least two shots: Bella Alessi, Julissa Cisneros, Macy Trujillo, Eryka McIntyre, Blythe Beldner and Madilyn Hamline.
"You have to give credit to Florida," head coach Bryan Blitz said. "It's so difficult to win in the SEC Tournament - you can't take any opponent for granted. Our seniors really led us tonight. I thought Macy (Trujillo) and Bella (Alessi) were outstanding. Even (Momola Adesanmi) made a big difference with her play on defense."
- Mizzou improves its record to 3-7 in SEC Soccer Tournament games and will reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2017. The Tigers have now reached at least the quarterfinals of the tournament for the sixth time in eight appearances.
- The win over the 13th-seeded Gators stands as the first time the Tigers have been victorious over a lower seed in the tournament.
- Mizzou has now beaten Florida twice in the past seven days, which equals the amount of wins the Tigers previously had all-time versus the Gators. The current overall record stands at 4-8-2 in favor of the Gators.
- Mizzou's victory also stands as just the second win for a five-seed in their opening match of the SEC Soccer Tournament since 2014.
- As the Tigers limited the Gator attack, Isabella Alessio only made one save, which stands as the fewest needed to secure a victory since Mizzou defeated Tennessee 2-0 on Oct. 13, 2019 with McKenna Sheehan's one save.
- The Tigers are currently riding a three-game win streak which is the most since starting off the 2019 season 5-0. Mizzou is unbeaten over its last five matches.
With the win, Mizzou will advance to the quarterfinals of the SEC Soccer Tournament to face fourth seeded South Carolina on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The match will be streaming on SEC Network.