The No. 17 Missouri soccer team (6-1) clawed past Auburn, 2-0, on Friday in Auburn, Ala. to record its first win as members of Southeastern Conference win.
Coach Brian Blitz’ visiting Tigers jumped ahead in the 29th minute when sophomore midfielder Kaysie Clark’s low strike from the left side of the box found space and beat Auburn keeper Amy Howard. The goal was Clark’s second of the year.
Missouri got on the board again shortly after halftime, when sophomore forward Taylor Grant found senior forward Haley Krentz open about 22 yards out. Krentz took the pass and fired a bullet that sailed past Howard to put the visiting Tigers up 2-0. The goal was Krentz’ second of the season and her ninth point, tied for the team lead.
With a two-goal lead, the reformatted Tiger defense contained the way they’ve done all season so far: by finding ways to keep the ball out of the net. The formitable back line of junior Danielle Nottingham, junior Dominique Richardson, redshirt freshman Lauren Flynn and senior Allison Hu did allow a season-high nine shots on goal, but outmuscled Auburn 13-6 in fouls and forfieted just two corners.
For the balls that did get through the line, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein was there to record a season-high eight saves on the way to her third shutout of the year.
Perhaps as good of news as the win for Blitz was to see star forward Alyssa Diggs back in action after a more than three-week absence. The speedy scorer had been sidelined since injuring her hamstring against UC Santa Barbara on Aug. 19. Diggs managed two shots in 49 minutes off the bench in her return.
Missouri will continue its inaugural SEC slate Sunday on the road against South Carolina.