In a game drenched in the remains of Hurricane Isaac, the No. 18 Missouri soccer team clawed its way to a 4-1 victory Friday afternoon over Arizona State.
The win improves Missouri’s record to 4-0.
“(Going into it) with the game-time change and the weather, we could have used that as an excuse,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “But we put two good halves together. From that standpoint, besides the goal, I thought they put in a good effort.”
The massive storm pushed the game to 1:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m., as more inclement weather was predicted for later that day. Hours of rain before the game created miniature ponds all over the field, which turned routine plays into challenges.
The rain converted the field into what looked like a giant Slip 'N Slide, resulting in hard hits on both sides of the ball.
“It was a painful game,” sophomore midfielder Abi Raymer said. “You couldn’t really pass the ball on the ground out there. It was more of a kick-and-run styled game.”
However, Missouri continued to pound the ball away on offense, outshooting Arizona State 17-8. Raymer scored the first goal of the game in the opening minutes, tapping the ball to the left side of the net for her third goal of the young season.
“It wasn’t the prettiest goal, that’s for sure,” Raymer said. “I think the conditions helped it slide in.”
Raymer included, the Tigers are the only team in the Southeastern Conference with four players who have at least five points.
Later in the half, redshirt freshman defender Lauren Flynn fished a ball out of an oversized puddle on the left side of the box. Flynn nudged a pass to junior midfielder Dominique Richardson who trickled in a shot to the right side of the net with 10 minutes left.
The goal marked Richardson’s first of the season, a surprising stat considering she led the team in goals last season.
“It was good. … I think I just found the ball today,” Richardson said. “It just started happening.”
During halftime, three poncho-wearing groundskeepers tried to break up the puddles with leaf blowers, but the water quickly regrouped in the second half.
So did Missouri. Four minutes into the half, Richardson again scored, this time on a penalty kick, going right past a diving Arizona State goalie who went left.
Up 3-0, the Tigers powered another goal five minutes later. Senior midfielder Haley Krentz sent a pass to sophomore forward Kaysie Clark who settled the ball and drilled it into the net.
With 29 minutes left, Arizona State made its only noise of the day, knocking in a goal after the ball slipped out of redshirt sophomore McKenzie Sauerwein’s hands.
Devin Marshall scored the goal for the Sun Devils, sliding her way past Sauerwein and popping it over the keeper’s body.
On the whole, Sauerwein looked impressive on the soggy pitch, making three saves and helping Missouri to a fourth win.
The unbeaten Tigers will take on Tennessee Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday at Walton Stadium.
“I feel good (about the season),” Richardson said. “Everyone’s so close, we’re like sisters. We’ve bonded so much over the last few weeks.”