Rellihan, Whitmore's goals power Missouri soccer past Aztecs

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Late in the first half of Sunday's game against San Diego State, Missouri freshman forward Tess Rellihan took possession near midfield. Down 1-0, she dribbled upfield looking for a teammate to pass off to, knowing her team needed a score after surrendering an Aztec goal in the sixth minute.

San Diego State's defense sealed off every option, so Rellihan fired from the middle of the pitch and netted an unassisted, game-tying 25-yard strike in the upper-left corner of the net. The freshman's goal in the 36th minute Sunday night at Walton Stadium highlighted the Tigers' 2-1 win over the Aztecs.

"I saw the ball coming back to the middle and looked back, saw there was no defender, turned, and there was an open shot right there," Rellihan said. "I just kicked it as hard as I could where the goalie wasn't. ... Right when I kicked it, I felt really good about it."

Missouri took the tie into the half but came out swinging early in the second period. The Tigers outshot the Aztecs 4-1 before freshman forward Lindsey Whitmore tapped in their second goal of the evening via an assist from redshirt sophomore midfielder Madison Lewis to put Missouri on top 2-1.

"It was basically just amazing passing by our entire team," Whitmore said. "(Savannah Trujillo) got up there, and she pressed the goalkeeper. She pressed the bottled defenders and got them to make a mistake. I was just there to clean it up."

The Tigers overcame some hurdles en route to their third nonconference win of the season. Their five fouls gave the Aztecs ample opportunities to mount a potential comeback of their own.

However, seven combined saves by goalkeepers Kelsey Dossey and Kristen Rivers, along with a strong second-half performance from the Tigers' offense that kept San Diego State at bay.

"Any time we can have our young players who we recruited score goals, it takes a lot of heat off our young back line," coach Bryan Blitz said. "At times we're playing two freshmen and two sophomore backs back there, so the depth up front has been helpful and will serve us well in the SEC."

With the home victory tonight, MU snaps a four-game losing skid dating back to Aug. 27 at No. 14 Nebraska. Tonight's match also marks the Tigers' second come-from-behind win of the season.

"We did that at Illinois, but since then we haven't been able to close out games," Blitz said. "We bent a lot there at the end but we didn't break. I think in some other games we broke. ... We're still improving, but I think that was a part of it."

Missouri returns to the pitch for a pair of home games this weekend before heading back on the road. The Tigers will face Georgia in their SEC opener at 6:30 p.m. Friday on SEC Network+ and will square off against Albany at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Walton Stadium.

Supervising editor is Brooks Holton.

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