MU women's soccer beats Baylor in Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | 8:06 p.m. CDT; updated 11:13 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, November 2, 2011

McKenzie Sauerwein is supposed to stop goals, not score them.

On Wednesday afternoon, though, she proved she can also help her team on the offense.

Sauerwein, a redshirt freshman goalkeeper, played a major part in the Missouri soccer team's win against  Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament on Wednesday in San Antonio. She made a key save and scored the winning penalty kick in a shootout that put the Tigers in the tournament semifinals.

After regulation time and two overtimes, the match ended in a 2-2 tie and went to a penalty-kick shootout. After each team had taken four penalty kicks and converted three, Sauerwein dove to her right and saved Baylor's fifth shot.

She then removed her goalkeeper gloves and stepped up to take Missouri's fifth penalty kick. She didn't miss.

After scoring the key penalty kick, a video feed from the Big 12 athletics website showed Sauerwein jumping in joy and then running to the middle of the field, where all her teammates and some of the coaches joined her in celebration.

The fact that Sauerwein took the last penalty kick for Missouri was no coincidence.

"We train for set pieces like penalty kicks and free kicks all the time," Tigers assistant coach Todd Shulenberger said by phone. "And yesterday, McKenzie made her mark during practice and showed us her potential for penalty kicks, so we decided to have her take the last shot."

Wednesday's win came as a morale booster for Missouri, after the team lost 1-0 to Iowa State in its final regular season game Friday at Walton Stadium. Sauerwein had a particularly tough night that night because the game's only goal came after she failed to stop an apparently harmless shot.

But at the Big 12 quarterfinal match, Sauerwein proved she knows how to bounce back.

"She is such a humble individual," Shulenberger said. "She just handled herself very well after Friday's game. She knew the whole team was behind her, and that we win as a group and also lose as a group. So she came back stronger."

Resiliency is a characteristic that Sauerwein shares with all her teammates.

"It was a team effort," Shulenberger said. "Tonight, every player had a part, from our senior leadership to our younger players. They knew they had to get a result, and they did just that."

But the Tigers know that Wednesday's win is just the first step to Big 12 success.

"As good as we may feel tonight, the players know they have until midnight to celebrate" Shulenberger said. "Starting tomorrow, it's back to business for all of us, and we need to move on."

Missouri will play next against Texas A&M in a game set for 8 p.m. Friday in San Antonio. The Aggies also won their quarterfinal in a penalty-kick shootout after tying with Kansas 3-3.

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