Missouri goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein had barely been challenged for most of the game before a Tennessee Tech player sent a dangerous cross into the box late in the second half.
Sauerwein stepped up, made an athletic swipe to send the ball to safety, and then received a blow from an opposing Golden Eagles forward, sending her sprawling.
Missouri Tigers (5-0) at Ohio State Buckeyes (2-2)
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. CT
WHERE: Columbus, Ohio
The sophomore lay on the grass hunched over before finally getting back up and finishing the rest of a 2-0 Tigers' victory.
“A girl came in and clocked my neck,” Sauerwein said, adding that she stayed on the ground a little longer to give her Missouri teammates a rest.
The Tigers needed one at that point. They unleashed 34 shots Sunday (the school record is 41), yet only scored twice. Coach Bryan Blitz attributed the wacky statistics to Tennessee Tech’s conservative “bunker” style of defense.
Blitz likened the Golden Eagles defensive front to the 2-3 zone commonly used in college basketball. To defeat the other team, one must attempt a lot of long shots and hope some of them fall.
The Tigers had no such luck on their long attempts, hitting the goal posts on at least three occasions but managed to muscle their way inside the box twice to find to the net.
Senior Jessica Greer notched her first goal of the season, finishing a beautiful pass into the box from junior Danielle Nottingham in the 30th minute.
Taiwo Adeshigbin scored her team-leading fourth goal on a pass from fellow senior Haley Krentz in the 62nd minute, shutting the door on an offensively-challenged Tennessee Tech team that could only muster two total shots Sunday.
The Golden Eagles remained physical all game, however, committing seven fouls to Missouri’s four and defending their side of the field aggressively.
“That’s what we like, that shows respect for us,” Greer said of the physical play. “We can take a hit here and there because we’re probably going to give a hit here and there.”
Missouri is 5-0 for the first time since 2006, when it opened the season with seven straight wins.
The Tigers have one more nonconference game before beginning Southeastern Conference play in Auburn on Sept. 14. Missouri faces Ohio State (2-2) at 6 p.m. Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.