COLUMBIA — Mallory Stipetich is the first to admit the Missouri women's soccer team can get rough at times. In a 3-2 win over 12th-ranked Oklahoma State on Sunday at Walton Stadium, the Tigers were called for 27 fouls and given three yellow cards.
“We’re competitors,” Stipetich said. “We like to play hard.”
Missouri senior midfielder Bree Thornton was named Big 12 Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week after scoring three goals and an assist in two Tigers home victories, an 8-0 rout of Northern Iowa on Friday and a 3-2 comeback victory against Oklahoma State on Sunday.
The award is the first in Thornton's career, but she leads the team in goals (4), points (10) and is tied for the lead in assists (2). She shares it with Oklahoma's Whitney Palmer, who scored two goals in the Sooners' victory against Texas A&M.
And Stipetich , a sophomore defender for Missouri, might play the hardest when the game gets physical. At one point Sunday, an official had to step in to stop a shoving match between Stipetich and Oklahoma State forward Kasey Langdon that drew the attention of those watching in the stands.
Stipetich said Missouri coach Bryan Blitz tells them to press hard on defense, and despite being only 5-foot-6, Stipetich manages to find ways to frustrate her opponents. Langdon finished the game with only two shots, neither of them on goal.
“I’m smaller so I have to be more aggressive,” Stipetich said.
Initially recruited as a defender, Stipetich played outside midfielder her freshmen season because there were already two senior defenders. Now, she is back to her original position which she says she prefers.
Stipetich said she was not surprised with the number of fouls in the game. She said it is typical for the Tigers.
“Oklahoma State was just as physical as we were,” Stipetich said.
Although, Stipetich is a fierce competitor on the field, off the field she is a different person, according to teammate Kelsey Blincow, a sophomore midfielder, who lives with Stipetich.
“She’s happy-go-lucky,” said Blincow, who said that despite her quiet nature, Stipetich isn't one to back away from a challenge.
“She gets feisty when it gets like that,” Blincow said.
Stipetich did not draw any of the yellow cards and played for 84 minutes of the contest, and many of the Tigers play with the edge and intensity Stipetich has.
“We just know before every game, everyone wants to beat us because we won the (Big 12) tournament last year,” Stipetich said.
The victory in the Tigers' conference opener puts them at 6-4-1. They return to the field Friday when they play at Texas, then at 4 p.m. Sunday they play at Texas A&M in a game that will be broadcast on ESPNU.