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Sports | Published Oct. 4, 2011 | 0 comments

Two newcomers make impact for MU soccer

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]Junior midfielder Jessica Greer heads the ball away from Texas players Sunday at Walton Stadium. The Tigers fell short to the Longhorns 2-1. Danielle Kasper/Senior Staff Photographer

Freshman Kaysie Clark and junior Allison Hu have been integral to the team’s improvements from last season.

Kaysie Clark and Allison Hu took vastly different paths to MU.

Clark, a freshman forward from Kansas City, played for the United States under-17 national team last summer and the KCFC Alliance for club play prior to that.

Hu, on the other hand, is spending her first year at MU as a junior defender, after spending the first two years of her collegiate career at Saint Louis University. Prior to her two years at SLU, St. Charles-native Hu was a standout for Duchesne High School, where she won the state title her senior year. Hu was also named St. Louis Post-Dispatch first team All-Metro as both a junior and a senior.

The two might hail from opposite ends of the state and play on opposite sides of the pitch, but both of their assimilations to MU soccer have been nearly flawless.

Hu has stepped right in and reinvigorated a defense that had its fair share of struggles last season. The Tigers are an aggressive bunch, playing just three back defenders, putting an extra emphasis on communication. Hu and the other two defenders, junior Jessica Greer and senior Mallory Stipetich, have done an outstanding job of that.

“Before I came here coach Blitz really sold me on the fact that this team is like a family, and they’ve been great,” Hu said. “Our chemistry is really good. Mallory is our central back and she really takes control and keeps me and Jessica in check which works well.”

Hu has started all 14 of the Tigers' games thus far and has played the full 90 minutes in each of those games, a testament to her ability.

“Allison has been a blessing for us,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “She is a great leader by example, in the classroom, off the field, on the field and with her work ethic we’re so lucky to have her.”

Blitz said two factors make his standout defender so effective on the field.

“She’s a tremendous competitor and she’s smart,” Blitz said.

If it weren’t for academics, Hu wouldn’t even be at MU. While an athlete typically transfers to see more playing time, Hu left SLU for MU for academic purposes. She is studying pharmacy, a major SLU doesn’t offer.

On the opposite end of the pitch, Clark is also making her presence known, serving as a catalyst for the offense.

Clark has also started each of MU’s 14 matches this season, and although she just scored her first goal this past Friday, box scores don’t do justice to the impact she’s had.

Both teammates and coaches alike have raved about the freshman. Clark has been masterful with the ball at her feet, always setting her teammates up in high quality scoring positions.

“She’s incredibly composed on the ball, she can take anyone on one-on-one,” senior forward Kendra Collins said. “We wish we could have the skills she has with her feet. She’s just an incredible player. It’s great having her on the team.”

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