Story by Kaveh Kaghazi
Photos by Kelsey Alumbaugh
Video by Andrew Wamboldt
Led by aggressive defense, the Missouri Tiger soccer team improved to 4-1 on the season with a win against Northern Arizona Friday night at Walton Stadium.
“Our defense was outstanding today,” said coach Bryan Blitz. The Tigers didn’t allow a shot on goal in the 3-0 victory.
Sophomore Dominique Richardson scored her third goal of the season as the Tigers took an early 1-0 lead in the seventh minute. Richardson got her head on a Danielle Nottingham corner kick and the ball bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the goal.
“That first five minutes is really important so getting (the goal) right outside of that five minutes is probably more important,” said freshman Taylor Grant. “It’s definitely a wake up call to the other teams.”
Missouri took control of the match early and never let up. But Northern Arizona (0-5) did not back down.
“They’re style was kinda like our style,” Blitz said. “It was difficult. What I’m hoping for is that we learned that we have to be able to be a little bit more composed, we have to possess the ball a little bit more.”
Both teams played each other tough with some added physicality. “We always like the liberal referees for our style,” Blitz said. “I don’t think I said one word to them.”
Missouri added another goal minutes after substitutes Grant and Alyssa Diggs came on. Diggs played a ball to Grant who pushed it past the Northern Arizona goalie in the 27th minute.
“We say you have to excel on your own,” said Blitz. “You have to be better than the starters. That’s something we consistently preach. For us to be successful, our depth has to carry us.”
Missouri sealed the win in the 73rd minute when sophomore Brooke Williams notched her first career goal, making it 3-0.
The Tigers face a tough opponent in TCU on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. In their only other road game this season Missouri fell to San Diego. Richardson believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“The way that we start games, even though we’re scoring…our energy just needs to be raised,” Richardson said.
The TCU Horned Frogs are 2-2 on the season. Blitz hopes his young team can rise to the challenge of playing quality competition on the road.
“TCU’s gonna give us everything they’ve got. They have a big crowd and I’m hoping we can be ‘A’ students and learn very quick from today to Sunday.”