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Friday, October 24, 2014

Diggs focuses beyond awards

On the doorstep of history, Alyssa Diggs opts to concentrate on team goals.

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Senior Alyssa Diggs jumps over Eastern Illinois' Lauren Hoppensteadt in 2011 at Walton Stadium. Diggs was awarded her third first-team award.

Maneater File Photo

Aug. 21, 2013

When offered the choice of another first team award — it would be the third in her career and second in the Southeastern Conference – or Missouri’s first SEC championship, the choice for senior forward Alyssa Diggs was easy.

“We all want the ring,” Diggs said without hesitation. “That’s what we’re gunning for.”

Only three athletes in the history of MU sports have been named first team all-conference in two separate major conferences. Diggs has a chance to add to her already historic resume with another impressive year. But when asked about her awards, Diggs doesn’t brag.

“It’s always a surprise,” she said of her awards. “I just play the game, and whatever happens after, whatever awards come after is just secondary.”

A primary goal for the team’s 2012 scoring leader is preserving lasting relationships with teammates and continuing to build Mizzou’s program.

“A big aspect here is family. We’re a really close team,” Diggs said. “I don’t see myself leaving here and not talking to these girls. We’ve gotten so close, and it’s kind of cliché to say, but these are life long relationships …. These people are going to be at my wedding.”

Looking back on her three years, Diggs recognizes she would not be the player, or person, she is today without the girls she has come to call family. From her freshman year goal against rival Kansas to her sophomore year all-Big 12 Conference honors, she gives credit to the team around her.

“The older players took me under their wing and showed me how to play this Mizzou style,” Diggs said. “I’m from Texas, and we played different there. When I came here, it was faster pace and we had a different formation.”

After her breakout sophomore year, she only improved. In her junior season, Diggs led the team in scoring with 8 goals and received all-Southeastern Conference first-team honors in Missouri’s first year in the conference.

Diggs’ stellar play on the pitch helped the Tigers to one of their best seasons in recent memory. However, their run was cut short after a first round defeat in the NCAA tournament.

The 2013 season is fast approaching, and the Tigers hope to build on the accomplishments of the previous year. Diggs, who has spent the offseason fighting continuous nagging hamstring strains, is poised to lead her team on the field for her final time.

Diggs could be aiming for another first team all-SEC award this season. But the thought hasn’t really crossed her mind, she says. She is more focused on her team, her family.

“It’s a big honor for me. I’m always happy to get that, but that’s not what I came here for,” Diggs said about the possibility of another personal award. “Family over awards, over personal recognition, over whatever — it’s all about the big group.”

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