Savannah Trujillo takes over role as Tigers’ leading scorer

The sophomore scored three goals last season.

At a glance, sophomore forward Savannah Trujillo does not look like the player who would be leading Missouri in scoring halfway through the 2015 season.

Trujillo is listed on the roster at 5-foot-3-inches — the smallest forward Missouri has and one of the shortest players on the team. However, what she lacks in height, Trujillo makes up for in athleticism and scoring ability.

Through 10 games, Trujillo has notched a team-leading four goals, guiding a Missouri offense out of a scoring drought that saw the team without goals for two straight games.

Despite the offensive struggles, Trujillo is pleased with the Tigers’ position so far this season.

“Overall, we’re pretty happy with where we are,” Trujillo said. “It could be better, but we can’t harp on the bad things. We have to stay positive with it. I mean move on from there, just because there is no point in getting down about it because you can always go up from where you start.”

Trujillo’s ascension as a goal scorer has helped to take some of the pressure off senior forward Reagan Russell. Russell has been cold for the first half of the season. Many expected her to be Missouri’s leading goal scorer.

“Even the young kids that came in were ready to excel and ready to lead the team, and you can see that in Amanda (Shaw) and Beth Coons, Savannah (Trujillo),” Russell said. “They are ready to come play and to make a difference.”

The rise of Trujillo comes after a freshman year in which she had 10 starts, scored three goals and notched four assists.

“Last year, I played a pretty decent amount of minutes, I scored a couple goals, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Trujillo said.

Despite her early success, Trujillo is choosing not to focus on her past and is putting all of her concentration on improving herself this year.

“Freshman year is freshman year; it’s in the past now,” Trujillo said. “I mean, I can work and work and work, which I have been, so the only thing I can really do is use my work ethic and everything else that goes my way.”

Besides becoming a regular starter, Trujillo has also been given the task of replacing Taylor Grant.

Grant scored 18 goals in her career as a Tiger, including a career-high nine goals in her senior year. Those nine goals led all scorers for Missouri last season.

Trujillo is optimistic about her ability to fill the big shoes left by Grant.

“Losing Taylor was a big loss for us, but I think I’m going to be able to fill her shoes,” Trujillo said. “We are close friends, and she taught me a lot last year so I can only go up from here.”

As the newfound goal scorer for the Tigers, Trujillo has found herself placed in a leadership role of the youthful Tigers’ attacking core.

“I’ve tried to help (the freshmen) in any way possible,” Trujillo said. “Whether it’s telling them to make a certain run or telling them to keep their head up. We’ve all been freshmen, and we know how hard it is juggling school for the first time with soccer and being away from home, so we really do anything we can to help them. We pretty much help them with anything they ask for.”

Trujillo’s performance has been a pleasant surprise for both herself and the Tigers this season. Now the only other thing Trujillo could ask for is a Southeastern Conference championship.

“We are after an SEC Championship and we want to make it to the NCAAs and go on from there,” Trujillo said. “ We know we have the talent and the drive, we just have to put it all into play and make sure everyone is on the same page.”

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