Sophomore Lauren Street tries to keep the ball away from a defender.

Over the weekend, Griffon soccer was able to make it to the championship game of the MIAA conference tournament in Oklahoma. They defeated Northeastern State in the semifinals on Thursday before falling to Central Oklahoma in the championship on Sunday.

The Central Oklahoma Broncos defeated the Griffons 4-1 in the final game, with junior Kaili Campbell scoring the only goal for Missouri Western. That goal was scored in just the second minute of the game, and Central Oklahoma came back to tie the game at halftime.

The Broncos controlled the second half, as they went on to score three more goals to win 4-1. Griffon senior Anna Mayer finished the game with nine saves in goal, but Central Oklahoma outshot Missouri Western 19-6 throughout the game.

The No. 2 seeded Griffons were able to advance to the championship game after defeating No. 1 seed Northeastern State on Thursday. That game ended in a 3-3 tie before Missouri Western won the shootout 2-1.

The Northeastern State Riverhawks took the lead early, as they scored in the second minute and were ahead 1-0 at halftime. The Griffons, however, came back shooting as Campbell scored just a couple minutes into the second half. Sophomore Lauren Street and Campbell then scored two more goals just seconds apart in the 67 minute of the game.

But three goals weren’t enough, as the Riverhawks would rally back to force overtime. There were two overtime periods where neither team scored, so the match escalated to a shootout to determine the winner.

Northeastern State made their first attempt while the Griffons missed, but after that, Mayer didn’t allow another goal throughout the shootout. Senior Taylor Schwartzkopf scored her penalty kick to tie the shootout 1-1. Freshman Brianna Davis then made her attempt, putting the Griffons ahead 2-1 with one Northeastern State attempt left.

Mayer made the final save to send the Griffons to the championship game. She had ten saves in goal throughout the game.

This year’s conference tournament was set up differently than in previous years, much like everything else that soccer experienced this school year. Instead of a regular bracket, conference teams were split into two divisions, a Northwest division and a Southeast division. 

Teams were seeded one through five within those divisions, with each division’s one seed playing the other’s two seed, three seed to four seed and five seeds would play each other. Northeastern State was a No. 1 seed in the Southeast division, so they played No. 2 seeded Missouri Western in the first round game.

No. 2 in the Southeast division, Central Oklahoma, had won over the Northwest division’s No. 1 seed Emporia State. So, when Missouri Western and Central Oklahoma had won those games, they were set to meet each other in the championship. Northeastern State and Emporia State would play for third place.

A sport that usually competes in the fall, soccer waited to play until the spring so they would have a better chance at playing a full season. They were able to play in 13 total games in the spring of 2021, compared to normal years which have close to 20 games per season. The Griffons ended with a record of 8-3-2.

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