Although there were no vuvuzelas buzzing in the background, the 1-1 draw between Missouri Western State University and Northwest Missouri State had all the drama of a USA World Cup match.
With a miracle shot from Sarah Brimeyer being waved off in the dwindling seconds of the second extra period, missed calls by refs, and missed opportunities by the Griffons the home opener turned out to be a gem of a match but a disappointing result for the aspiring conference winners.
The majority of the first half was dominated by the Griffons. Western displayed a tremendous amount of patience and vision as the midfield picked apart the back four of the Bearcats. Despite the dominance of possession, coach Jeff Hansen’s side could not find the back of the net.
“We get the ball on somebody’s foot we got to put it away, credit to their keeper for making the saves,” Hansen said. “But if a couple of those first touches are better were hammering them into the back of the net.”
Although the Bearcats didn’t have many opportunities they pounced on the one golden one they had. A breakaway with seconds left in the half lead to a corner kick. With the clock running out Anna Calgaard curled the ball into the box onto the right boot of Kelly Obley.
Giving Western’s rival the lead and letting the air out of the sails of the Griffons.
“It was frustrating because we had 60 percent of the possession and they got one so late in the half,” Hansen said. “It was just one of those things of who wanted it more.”
Griffon keeper, Jenna Weis, got an up close view of what went wrong on the corner kick.
“Honestly it happened so fast it was hard to say,” Weis said.“From my point of view of the Northwest girl that scored was marked but it was an accidental deflection by one of our player which happens when there are clusters of people in that tight of a space.”
“Their goal in the closing seconds of the 1st half was disappointing. It’s hard going into halftime being down a goal to a team you’ve out played for 44 minutes,” English said.
”But we had been pounding them all half so we knew we could get in behind them, so we just had to continue to do what we were doing and wait till one went in.”
After a stale start to the 2nd half for both teams, a goal did go in for the Griffons. Senior mid-fielder Jessica Martin caught Northwest keeper Kelsey Adams off her line and chipped it over her head from about 35 yards out. The equalizer wasn’t only a beauty, but also gave a boost to the team’s spirit..
“Jessica’s goal was a huge booster. We had been working all game and finally had a point to show for it,” English said. “It put us back in it and gave us a little boost to keep working even as our legs got tired.”
The Griffons would need those legs as neither team could capitalize at the end of regulation. In extra time, Northwest had some good chances on goal but couldn’t make the Griffons pay.
The best chance for a victory came in the waning seconds of the second extra period. As Western was in the Bearcats final third trying to thump one in, the ball was cleared by a Northwest defender and the Bearcats looked to be out of trouble. With the clock running down the last Griffon back, Brimeyer got a running start and booted the ball from 45 yards out into the upper right netting past the keeper’s arms. Confusion spread through the pitch and in the crowd as many thought that it was the winning goal but in seconds it was announced that the goal had been waved off.
“That chip shot was amazing, anyone that saw that would probably say it’s one of the best shots they’ve ever seen,” Weis said.“I’ve been playing this game since I was five and have never seen a situation like this. I was under the impression that if she got the shot off before one second on the clock it was good but obviously that isn’t the case. It was a bummer.”
Though it was an exciting finish, Hansen feels like the team should not be content with the result.
“Were not satisfied,” Hansen said.“If you have aspirations to win the league you have to win at home and steal points on the road.”
The Griffons try to steal points in their next match against Southwest Baptist University on September 16.