COLUMBIA – After falling in its season opener the Missouri women’s soccer team bounced back Sunday night to defeat the Eastern Illinois Panthers 4-1 in its home opener at Walton Stadium.
The Tigers (1-1) scored an early goal when sophomore Alyssa Diggs dribbled in from the right side and beat EIU goalie Jessica Taldone at the near post. Diggs’ goal was her first of the season and third of her career and put Mizzou up 1-0.
The seventh minute goal was important because getting an early goal was something the Tigers were unable to accomplish on Friday night at San Diego when they quickly fell behind in a 2-1 loss to the Toreros.
Mizzou continued to press in the first half and forced Taldone into making seven saves. Despite not handling many of the shots cleanly, Taldone wouldn’t budge, and the Tigers went into halftime leading 1-0.
To start the second half, Missouri coach Bryan Blitz made a switch in goal, sending out redshirt freshman McKenzie Sauerwein to replace true freshman starter Caroline Stanley.
Mizzou once again got off to a fast start in the second half. Danielle Nottingham scored her fourth career goal, which became her second career game-winner. The sophomore broke into the box and slid a shot past the goalie to make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
The Tigers continued to press for a third goal and were rewarded for their efforts when Kelsey Blinkow scored in the 68th minute. Not long after the goal, EIU (0-2) replaced its goalkeeper, but that didn't slow the Tigers.
In the 76th minute, Blinkow sent a cross into the box that found freshman Kaysie Clark, who finished to earn her first career goal. Clark agreed getting an early goal helped, but she said it was also important that they “didn’t slow up after.”
Clark and Stanley headline a talented group of Tiger freshman, four of whom were ranked as top-100 recruits by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
A defensive error on the part of Mizzou led to the Panthers' lone goal. A pass in the box by a Mizzou defender found the foot of Kristin Germann and the junior slotted it home.
The Tigers resume their tough nonconference schedule next weekend with a pair of home games against Big Ten teams Ohio State and Purdue, which were picked to finish second and ninth respectively in the 12-team conference.
“We pride ourselves on playing a tough nonconference schedule," Blitz said.