Missouri played host to Southern Methodist University at Audrey J. Walton Stadium as the Tigers held their first and only exhibition match of the 2013 season Saturday night.
The Tigers kicked off their season in style, downing the Mustangs 3-2 in a high scoring affair.
“We have a lot of new players. Our objective was to cross our fingers and get everyone out of here healthy, and then to play every single person,” coach Bryan Blitz said.
The first Tiger to be subbed off the field was senior forward Alyssa Diggs. The returning team leader in goals, Diggs is still fighting a hamstring injury she suffered in the 2012 season.
“She’s probably 60 percent,” Blitz said. “Hopefully by next weekend, we’re 65. We’re trying to ease her into it because we need her out there.”
Missouri controlled the pace of the game through the first half. The Tigers' high back line led to Missouri more than doubling SMU’s shots, leading 11-5 on shots heading into the half.
Although the Tigers dominated possession, the scoring did not come quick. It wasn’t until the 43rd minute that the dam finally burst.
Freshman midfielder Lauren Selaiden played a bouncing ball up the middle to a streaking Reagan Russell. Russell beat the defender on her hip and two touched the ball passed rushing SMU goalkeeper Lauryn Bodden to notch the game’s first goal.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the second half in the 55th minute off the foot of Kaysie Clark. The play began with a lofted through ball from freshman Melanie Donaldson that landed at the feet of Russell. Russell sent the ball over to Taylor Grant on the right wing for a cross into the box that Clark rattled home.
With the 2-0 lead the Tigers were able to settle back into a defensive set and look for counter opportunities. SMU began to bring as many as nine players forward in hopes of a goal.
The Mustang’s finally drew blood in the 77th minute off the foot of Bari Kesner, but the Tigers answered minutes later.
Brooke Williams took a clearance ball on the run, breaking past her defender and leaving only the goalkeeper to beat. Rather than mess around with fancy footwork, Williams struck a brilliant ball from 35 yards that dropped over the keeper’s head.
“I just saw the goalie off her line, and I was like, ‘I’m gonna do this,’” Williams said. “Coach normally tells me not to take those shots.”
SMU squeezed in one more goal with 22 seconds left on the clock, but it would be for naught. The Tigers took home the victory 3-2.
“I think we did we did some really good things, and I think we have some things, obviously, to work on,” Blitz said.
Missouri begins regular season play on Friday, Aug. 23, at home against Pacific.