COLUMBIA — Tiger fan Emily Deutschmann had a ball as she watched the Tigers game Friday at Walton Stadium.
Actually, she had several of them.
The Tigers took an early lead after Sophomore midfielder Dominique Richardson scored with a strong header off a corner kick in the seventh minute. It was Richardson's third goal of the season.
Missouri dominated ball possession and built on their lead in the 27th minute, as freshman midfielder Taylor Grant made a crossed shot to make the score 2-0.
In the second half, the Tigers scored their third goal in the 73rd minute, when sophomore forward Brooke Williams beat the Northern Arizona goalkeeper to set the final 3-0 margin. It was Williams' first career goal.
Coach Bryan Blitz was happy with the result and the performance of his defensive players, but thinks his team still has a lot to improve.
"I think our defense was outstanding today," Blitz said. "But we weren't as sharp attacking-wise. We have to possess the ball a bit more," he said.
"I'm hoping that's a good lesson because the rest of our schedule continues to get harder and harder," he said.
Friday's was the fourth home win in a row for the Tigers, who have a series of three games on the road starting Sunday against the TCU Frogs in Fort Worth, TX.
Ten-year-old Emily, of Columbia, got picked as one of the ball girls for Missouri soccer's 3-0 win over Northern Arizona on Friday. It was her first time as a ball girl.
"It is really fun because you get to see the game up close," Emily said, as she paid careful attention to the action. "I am so excited."
A soccer player herself, Emily enjoyed the Tigers game with friend and teammate Maleah Ray, also 10. They were among the dozens of children who watched Friday's game.
Emily and Maleah both play for Carrera Soccer Club, a youth soccer team. Emily plays as a left midfielder and Maleah is a striker.
"I love soccer because it really makes you move your feet. You run a lot more than baseball," Emily said.
"It is just so much fun," Maleah added.
Emily has no doubts about where she wants to take her soccer career.
"I want to play for Mizzou," she said.
She attended the game with her parents, Jim and Kim Deutschmann, who both think it is important for Emily and her teammates to come to Missouri games and see college players in action.
"It is just positive to have them watch the game and learn some skills," Kim Deutschmann said. "It teaches them the value of teamwork."
Kim Deutschmann even tries to gather other parents from Carrera to come to MU soccer games as a group.
"I send out e-mails to the team and mention it on practice," Kim Deutschmann said. "The idea is to see how many people we can get here. It is a way of promoting women's athletics."
Kim Deutschmann thinks there should be more promotion of soccer games in the community.
"They used to send free tickets to public schools a few years ago," she said. "I really wish they would do that again."
"That would increase the level of social involvement with soccer," Jim Deutschmann said.
The Deutschmanns also enjoy going to soccer matches as a family activity, so they try to attend as many games as possible.
"It is a chance to have some great family time," Jim Deutschmann said.
For Emily, Friday's game was a memorable time.
"I am definitely going to tell my friends about this," she said.