The Missouri women’s soccer team beat arch-rival Kansas 4-1 Friday in its first Big 12 game of the season at Walton Stadium.
The Jayhawks scored first, but the Tigers struck back with four unanswered goals. Junior forward Kendra Collins supplied the only Tiger goal of the first half off of an assist by senior midfielder Krista Kruse. The goal concluded a long possession with a lot of passing by MU.
“We just did quick combinations,” Kruse said. “We played it out wide and then did a cross. At practices the past couple of weeks, we’ve been trying to play it out wide and then get crosses in, and it works.”
With the game tied 1-1 at halftime, the Tigers broke the game open in the second half with three goals.
Kruse, already with an assist in the game, scored to give the Tigers the lead in the 63rd minute. Junior defender Mallory Stipetich provided the assist with a header to Kruse off of a throw in by senior forward Kari Adam.
The last two goals were scored by freshmen, first by midfielder Dominique Richardson, and second by forward Alysha Diggs —- her first as a Tiger. Sophomore midfielder Haley Krentz sent in a corner kick to assist Richardson, while freshman midfielder Danielle Nottingham assisted the goal by Diggs.
“It was great because I hadn’t scored all season,” Diggs said. “I thought if I could score my first tonight that would be great.”
The game between the big rivals was physical, with Kansas recording 11 fouls, and Missouri recording 19.
“For us to be successful we have to be physical,” MU head coach Brian Blitz said. “I think a KU-MU game in any sport is always going to be physical, but for us and for our specific system we have to be physical all the way through till the end.”
This was the second come-from-behind victory the Tigers have had this season. The first came last Friday when MU overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Loyola 3-2.
“We just never gave up,” Kruse said. “We’ve wanted to win this game for weeks. We always play like it's 0-0.”
Blitz thinks this mentality could help the Tigers succeed in Big 12 play.
“Earlier in the season, we weren’t mature enough to have that belief (that we could come back) and close out games, and I hope that that coming in will help us,” he said.
The victory gives MU a nice 1-0 start in Big 12 play, and a resounding victory over its biggest rival. Kansas was the only team to beat MU in Big 12 regular season play, beating the Tigers 3-2 in the final game of the 2009 regular season.
“We’re pretty pumped,” Kruse said. “But at twelve its over and done with, and onto the next game.”
That next game will be a home matchup with No. 12 Oklahoma State next Friday, followed by a home game against Oklahoma on Sunday.