March 9, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The University of Missouri women's soccer team kicked off its spring season with a 1-0 victory over Minnesota at Rockhurst University on Sunday. Freshman forward Candace Ruff scored the game's only goal in the 72nd minute as she headed home a free kick taken by fellow freshman Mallory Stipetich.
"Being our first game of the spring, I knew it would be tough," Missouri head coach Bryan Blitz said. "And full credit to Minnesota, they're a very strong team. We were fortunate to pull it out."
Minnesota reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season after capturing their third Big Ten Conference regular season championship. The Gophers finished with a 22-4-0 record and ranked No. 15 in the NSCAA/adidas rankings, making 2008 the most successful season in school history.
Tiger junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore made six saves in the shutout. The Granite City, Ill., native made her best save of the day on a breakaway in the 59th minute, stopping a close range shot from Minnesota's Tamara Strahota. One minute later, Dittamore was called into action again to keep out a deflection heading inside the far post.
Coupled with strong defensive efforts by both sides, each team had a shot strike the goalposts in the second half. In the 55th minute, Minnesota's Angie Olson got behind the Missouri backline and shot the ball past Dittamore only to hit the right post. Then for the Tigers, junior Krista Kruse's acrobatic volley rattled the crossbar before rebounding back into play with four minutes remaining in the match.
Missouri returns to action next Monday, March 16th at 1:30 p.m. in St. Louis against St. Louis Athletica of Women's Professional Soccer. St. Louis is preparing for its inaugural season in the WPS and boasts professionals such as Hope Solo, Lori Chalupny, Tina Ellertson and Kerri Hanks.