The MU women's soccer team reached .500 by defeating Alabama A&M 5-2 on Friday at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Complex. The Tigers are 9-9-1 and 5-5 in the Big 12 going into the Big 12 Tournament in San Antonio, Texas, next weekend.
The Tiger offense, led by senior forward Kristen Heil, turned in one of its best performances of the season, dominating the game throughout both halves.
"We're a scary team when we're attacking like we can," Coach Bryan Blitz said.
MU's first goal came eight and half minutes in when senior Shea Swoboda shot it past the Bulldog's goalkeeper Priscilla Mensah off of an assist from Heil. It was Swoboda's fourth goal of the season. Thirty seconds later MU added goal number two when Heil dribbled in and scored her second goal of the season unassisted.
The Tigers continued to put pressure on Alabama's defense, outshooting the Bulldogs 19-4. The third Tiger goal came from junior forward Jennifer Nobis, who scored her ninth goal off of an assist from Heil. Nobis will have to play the rest of the season behind a facemask after breaking her nose in the October 24 victory over Baylor.
In the second half, MU stayed aggressive and scored their fourth goal one minute into the half. Senior midfielder Karen Bauer connected on a penalty kick after Heil was fouled in the box. It was the sixth penalty kick of Bauer's career, and she has yet to miss one.
"I hope that I would always finish them because the odds are with you," Bauer said. "But you always have to be focused when you are up there."
The Tiger's final goal was scored by sophomore midfielder Elyse Nikonchuk, who headed in a corner kick by Bauer twenty minutes into the second half. It is the second time Nikonchuk has scored, and also the second time she's scored with a header.
Alabama managed to get by MU goalkeeper Kira Reyes only twice. Lillian Phalatse connected off of an assist from Lorraine Mbatha five minutes into the second half, and Alberta Annan shot from twenty yards after an assist from Natara Rashid to make it 5-2 with twenty minutes left in the game.
MU has won four of its last five games and hopes to take that momentum into the tournament.
"We're the underdogs," Nobis said. "We're going to come in and we're going to fight hard. That's just who we are and that's what we are going to do."
Bauer said, "We're going in confident, and we also know that every game in the Big 12 tournament is going to be a battle and we're going to have to fight for every win."