Although the Missouri football team has earned the right to host ESPN's College GameDay for the first time, it is not the only team getting national exposure on the ESPN family of networks.
On Sunday, the Missouri women’s soccer team played in front of a national TV audience in a game televised on ESPNU. ESPNU is an ESPN channel devoted purely to collegiate athletics, which broadcasts live soccer games every Sunday.
Missouri mascot Truman and Mini-Mizzou were there to show off school spirit and cheer on the team.
Prior to the game, Missouri coach Bryan Blitz was very excited to have the opportunity to play a home game on national TV.
“Its nice to get coverage for our program, and I think it’s a tribute to our tradition and our program and I’m excited about that,” Blitz said.
Missouri lost to No. 7 Texas A&M 4-2, but did not trail in the game until the 69th minute. The Tigers led 1-0 for most of the first half, and also led 2-1 early in the second half.
Despite the loss, Blitz was still very pleased to have the recruiting exposure.
“I think kids would be excited to play here with our attack-oriented style,” Blitz said. “We want to win every game, but I think compared to Friday we made a jump in effort and a jump in how we competed, and that’s who we are, and we want to make sure that comes through if they’re here in person, or on camera.”
The Tigers and Aggies also played a televised game on ESPNU last season at College Station, when they played to a 4-4 tie. The two teams have combined for 23 goals in their past four matches.
Senior forward Alysha Bonnick, who was on the team last year and is a member of the Canadian National Team, was excited to have another opportunity to play in front of a national audience.
“It’s so exciting,” Bonnick said. “Parents and friends get to see you from home.”
Bonnick also added that playing on TV could have been part of the reason the Tigers were able to get off to such a fast start. Bonnick scored in the second minute of play to give the Tigers an early lead, a rarity for the team. In seven conference games this season, this was just the second time Missouri scored first.
But getting an opportunity to play on ESPNU might not have been as exciting for anybody as it was for the freshmen, who have never played in a nationally-televised game before.
“It’s really cool,” freshman midfielder Danielle Nottingham said. “I’m glad that we were able to put on a good game to show everyone.”
But Nottingham added that knowing the game was televised did not impact the play on the field.
“You don’t even realize it,” Nottingham said. “Besides the TV timeouts, you don’t even realize that the cameras are there.”
The loss to Texas A&M was the final home game of the season for Missouri. The Tigers finish out the regular season at Baylor and Texas Tech next weekend, and at Iowa State the following weekend.