Missouri women's soccer team wraps up perfect weekend

Sunday, August 28, 2011 | 6:51 p.m. CDT; updated 7:07 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 28, 2011
Missouri forward Kendra Collins advances toward Purdue's goal during Sunday's 4-2 win. It was the second win of the weekend for the Missouri women's soccer team. As a senior, Collins' experience is an asset for the team.

COLUMBIA — Mallory Stipetich says that Sunday games are twice as hard as Friday games, no matter who you play against.

"Sundays are definitely tougher," Stipetich said after the Missouri women's soccer team earned its third home victory in a row, beating Purdue 4-2 Sunday at Walton Stadium. "You come from playing 90 minutes on Friday."

That is why coming from behind to beat Purdue meant a lot to the Tigers players and coaches.

"We really wanted two wins this weekend," Stipetich, a senior defender, said.

The win rounded up a perfect weekend for the Tigers, who had defeated No. 7 Ohio State on Friday.

On Sunday, Missouri dominated ball possession and had more than 30 shots, five of them against the crossbar. It was the Boilermakers, however, who broke a scoreless deadlock. Senior midfielder Alexis Tryba scored Purdue's first goal with a crossed shot in the 20th minute.

The Tigers got back in the game only 5 minutes later. Freshman forward Abi Raymer scored the equalizer with a low shot. It was Raymer's first goal of the season.

And it was an important goal.

"It was really big," sophomore midfielder Danielle Nottingham said. "After their goal, we didn't give up. We came back."

After the equalizer, Missouri kept pushing forward and got its reward. After a corner kick in the 35th minute, sophomore midfielder Dominique Richardson put a header into the back of the net.

It was Richardson's second goal of the season. She also scored the goal that earned Missouri their valuable win against Ohio State on Friday. Richardson played at a high level through most of the game. But she said she shouldn't take all the credit for Sunday's win.

"I was just at the right place at the right time," she said.

The Tigers took an early 3-1 lead at the start of the second half. In the 50th minute, Nottingham took the ball on the right side of the pitch and made a long run to the Boilermakers' goal. She beat Purdue's goalkeeper with a crossed shot. It was her second goal of the season.

From that point, the action focused on the midfield, as both teams battled for ball possession but got few scoring chances. That changed in the 75th minute, when Boilermakers senior forward Kaitlyn Blacha took a shot at point-blank range to make the score 3-2.

From then on, it was a fast-paced game with both teams trying to get a decisive goal. It was the Tigers who scored that goal.

In the 80th minute, Missouri sophomore forward Alyssa Diggs took advantage of Purdue's desperate attempts to score and quickly turned the Tigers' defense into an attack. Her low shot connected for her second goal of the season and set the final margin.

The win leaves Missouri's at 3-1-0 and keeps the Tigers undefeated at Walton Stadium.

Young players have played a major part in the Tigers' positive start, but coach Bryan Blitz also gives credit to his more experienced players.

"I certainly know we have a lot of young talent," Blitz said. "But it's the seniors that lead us forward."

The weekend's victories have lifted the Tigers' expectations.

"If we keep playing like we did today, we're going to be good this year," Nottingham said.

The Tigers are set to play Northern Arizona at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Walton Stadium.

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