COLUMBIA — The ball sat at the 12-yard-marker, waiting to be struck goalward by a Missouri player.
Junior midfielder Dominique Richardson calmly stepped up and placed the ball in the right side of the net, putting Missouri up three goals, and ending any chance Arizona State had at a comeback in a heavy downpour at Walton Stadium.
Missouri Tigers (4-0) vs. Tennessee Tech (3-2-1)
WHEN: Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Walton Stadium, Columbia
Richardson knew that she would be called upon in the clutch situation as a result of winning a pre-game ritual called “Queen of the 18,” in which teammates compete against each other to decide who will take the important shot.
“Whoever wants to take a PK gets in a line,” Richardson said, “and then we have the people who aren’t taking them screaming things at us.”
The distractions clearly did not phase Richardson, who won the right to take the penalty kick, and came through in a big way.
Coach Bryan Blitz noted it takes a special player to bury a penalty.
“We always take the kid who wants the pressure,” Blitz said. “You’ve got to have swagger at that point.”
The successful 49th minute penalty was Richardson’s second goal of the day, following a trickling shot that squeaked through the arms of Sun Devils keeper Chandler Morris in the 34th minute.
Sophomore Abi Raymer opened the scoring with a nice finish to the right side in the fifth minute after the ball caromed to her in the box. The goal tied her with Taiwo Adeshigbin and Alyssa Diggs (three each) for the team’s top scorer for the season.
“It was lucky placement,” Raymer said, “But, hey, I’ll take it.”
Sophomore forward Kaysie Clark added a fourth goal after receiving an accurate cross from senior Haley Krentz. Clark brought down the ball, paused, then confidently buried the shot in the 54th minute.
The Tigers’ only miscue came when goalie McKenzie Sauerwein gave up a rebound to the Sun Devils’ Devin Marshall, who coolly slotted Arizona State’s only goal in the 61st minute.
The players sloshed through the field for most of the 90 minutes while the ball’s path was constantly diverted by muddy areas of the pitch. Richardson had to fight off heavy sheets of rain while taking her game-deciding kick.
“I was calm,” Richardson said, “I like taking PK’s.”
The undefeated Tigers (4-0) now have a clear candidate to turn to later in the season when the game is on the line.