The play of freshman forwards Kristin Andrighetto and Bree Thornton has given the Missouri soccer team much needed depth this season.
However, the recent injury to forward Ashley Hamblin means they will have to take an even bigger role to help the Tigers make up for lost offensive output.
Hamblin suffered a season-ending ACL tear in her left knee in last Friday’s 2-0 loss to Nebraska. She leads the Tigers and is second in the Big 12 Conference in goals and points. But Andrighetto and Thornton have not panicked about taking over some of the scoring duties.
“Since everyone on our team is capable of scoring, I think that we will be able to fill Ashley’s shoes,” Andrighetto said. “Obviously it hurts because we are going to miss her because she is a great player, but I think we will be able to start scoring with everyone on our team.”
Andrighetto and Thornton have been starters and consistent contributors to the offense. Thornton, a starter in every game this season, ranks second on the team with 10 points off of four goals and two assists. Andrighetto ranks fifth with six points while starting in eight of 10 games this season.
“I tell them to do what they always do,” MU coach Bryan Blitz said. “They are natural goal scorers and attackers. Right now it is going to be an offense by committee.”
Players said a few slight changes have been made over the practice week. Some shuffling in the lineup includes moving midfielder Meggie Malm to the front line where she could possibly start tonight against Texas Tech.
Despite being limited to only one assist this season, Malm drew the penalty in overtime that eventually led to the winning penalty kick against Illinois State on Sunday. She among others will be looked at to become a more frequent contributor to the MU scoring effort.
“It’s hard because she (Hamblin) had a huge role offensively, but we are moving people around to play someone else there and getting used to playing with other people,” Thornton said.
Blitz said he wanted to use the Nebraska game as a measuring stick for the team’s progress. Blitz calls this weekend’s opponents, Texas Tech and Baylor, well-coached and organized and said they are teams not to be taken lightly.
“They are going to be hard to break down,” Blitz said. “It’s going to be a war every conference game, and you saw that Friday because records are deceiving, and the good thing about conference is that everything is new and rejuvenated.”