COLUMBIA--When Kansas scored in the 11th minute to take a 1-0 lead over the Missouri soccer team, freshman forward Alyssa Diggs knew the Tigers would answer.
“I knew that we were going to come back,” Diggs said. “Before we even came out of the locker room, everyone was fired up, every one was ready to go and there was no way we were going to lose this game.”
The Tigers (3-4-2) responded by scoring four unanswered goals for a 4-1 victory over Kansas (4-5) in their Big 12 opener at Walton Stadium Friday.
MU dominated offensively, besting Kansas in shots 25-6 and shots on goal 14-2.
Getting a win against the Jayhawks was made even sweeter for players who were on last year’s Missouri team who saw its attempt at an undefeated conference regular season end with a loss to Kansas in the Big 12 finale.
“We wanted to win this game for weeks now,” senior midfielder Krista Kruse said. “We’re pretty pumped.”
The Jayhawks struck first with a goal from senior forward Kaitlyn Cunningham. Getting free behind Missouri defenders, Cunningham took a pass from junior midfielder Kelsey Clifton and scooted a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Gwin.
“It certainly was a gut-check and I’m happy with how we responded right after that,” Missouri coach Bryan Blitz said of the goal.
The Tigers responded by taking charge offensively. After Missouri started regularly attacking the Kansas goal, Kruse and junior forward Kendra Collins collaborated to tie the game in the 30th minute.
Kruse dished the ball off to Collins in the middle of Kansas defenders, and Collins knocked in a close-range goal.
Missouri ended the half with a 15-4 advantage in shots.
The Tigers took the lead with a goal from Kruse in the 63rd minute and added to it when freshman midfielder Dominique Richardson scored in the 74th minute.
Diggs ended the scoring by knocking in an errant shot from freshman midfielder/forward Danielle Nottingham in the 81st minute.
“It was kind of awkward because it was coming away from my head and so I just shouldered it in,” Diggs said.