COLUMBIA – Forward Kendra Collins knows that being the underdog is not a bad thing.
“When you are the underdog, there is a lot less expectation, so you just go out there and have fun,” Collins said.
The Missouri women's soccer team did just that in a 1-0 upset of the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday at Walton Stadium . It was the second home win in a row for the Tigers, who beat Eastern Illinois on Sunday.
“It’s great to actually size up to a team that’s in the top 10,” Collins said of Friday’s win, which gave Missouri a 2-1-0 record. It was Ohio State's first loss.
The teams shared possession in a physical first half and neither team was able to break the deadlock.
That changed early in the second half.
After a corner kick in the fifth minute, sophomore midfielder Dominique Richardson took a shot and the ball ended in the back of the net. It was her first goal of the season.
After Richardson’s goal, Missouri dominated ball possession and had at least two clear scoring opportunities.
Freshman goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein played the full game and made several key saves.
“I am really confident after tonight’s game,” Sauerwein said. “I just tried to stay focused all the time,” she said.
The atmosphere at Walton Stadium was lively with 625 people cheering for the Tigers in the highest attendance of the season.
“The fans were great tonight. It was really awesome to be out here,” Collins said.
Missouri, a team full of young players, showed a solid collective performance through most of the game.
“We played as a team. We’ve done a lot of team-bonding. We are a family,” Sauerwein said. She is one of 10 freshmen on the roster.
Coach Bryan Blitz and his players understand the importance of the win, but they are not overlooking their next game.
“This is a big win, of course, but not if we don’t put together another win on Sunday,” Blitz said. “We are already preparing for our next game.”
Missouri hosts Purdue at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
“It’s huge to beat Ohio State,” Richardson said. “But Purdue is a great team also and we’ve got to stay focused."