Mizzou Opens Season at Home

MUTIGERS.COM Alysha Bonnick and the Tigers are preparing to face Belmont.
Alysha Bonnick and the Tigers are preparing to face Belmont.

Aug. 19, 2010

Missouri Game Notes: Week 1Get Acrobat Reader

Game 1: Missouri vs. Belmont
Friday, August 20 6:30 p.m. Walton Stadium; Columbia, Mo.
Game 2: Missouri @ Maryland
Sunday, August 22 11:00 a.m. Ludwig Field; College Park, Md.
Live Stats: GameTracker on mutigers.com

The Tigers open the regular season with a home game against the Belmont Bruins. The Back-to- Back Big 12 Champions finished the 2009 season with an overall record of 13-6-3, and the regular season Big 12 title. The team has seven newcomers including senior goalkeeper, Paula Pritzen, who comes to Missouri from Clemson. The team lost four starters from last season, including Kristin Andrighetto, Michelle Collins and goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore. Missoiuri will open conference play on Friday, Sept. 24 when the team hosts the Kansas Jayhawks.

Missouri traveled to Champaign, Ill. to face the Fighting Illini in a preseason exhibition game on Aug. 13. Mizzou led the scoring until the last few minutes of the game when the Illini found the back of the net, tying the score at 2-2. Freshman Danielle Nottingham stepped up for the Tigers and notched both goals. Nottingham, along with freshmen Alyssa Diggs and Dominique Richardson, earned starting positions in the preseason contest. Goalkeepers Jessica Gwin and Paula Pritzen made a combined eight saves on the day, and the Tiger offense totaled 13 shots.

This is the first match between the Tigers and the Bruins in program history. After earning a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference title last season, the Bruins are coming to Columbia off of a 0-1-1 pre- season run. Belmont suffered a 1-0 loss to Samford and came back to tie Villanova in a 2-2 contest. The Atlantic Sun Conference announced its preseason poll with Belmont coming in at No. three in the league. Like the Big 12, the poll is voted on by the league's coaches. Four of the team's players were selected for the All-Atlantic Sun preseason team, seniors Erica Carter, Jessica Rix and Jayme Trocino and junior Sari Lin.

The Maryland Terps open their regular season on Friday, Aug. 20 with a home match against Iona. Maryland played two preseason matches against St. John's and American, and the team earned a No. 16 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll. The team returns eight starters and 21 letterwinners from last year when the squad advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Head coach Bryan Blitz is starting off this season in record-breaking position, nearing his 200th career win. Blitz ended last season with an overall record of 199-169-23 after winning his 150th match with the Tigers. Before coming to Missouri, Blitz held the head coaching position at Butler University for five years, where he amassed a 45-44-8 record.

The defending Big 12 regular season champions received 69 points and one first place vote in the the Big 12 preseason poll released on Aug. 11. The Tigers came in at No. 3, above last year's Big 12 tournament winner, Oklahoma State. Texas A&M secured the top spot in the poll, voted on by the league's coaches. Missouri senior Alysha Bonnick was chosen for the Preseason All-Big 12 team. Bonnick finished last season with 11 goals and four assists, and she has 12 career game-winning goals to date, tying her for the school record with alum Nikki Thole.

After graduating seven seniors, Mizzou added another seven to its roster. The Tigers welcomed six freshmen and one senior transfer from Clemson. Freshman forward Danielle Nottingham is already showing her stripes, netting the only two goals in the Tigers' preseason match against the University of Illinois. Freshmen Dominique Richardson and Alyssa Diggs joined Nottingham as starters for the Tigers on the day. Senior Paula Pritzen is working hard for a goalkeeping position as she comes in under sophomore Jessica Gwin who has a year of experience with the Tigers under her belt. Pritzen was ranked first in the ACC in saves per game average during her sophomore and junior seasons at Clemson.

The Back-to-Back Big 12 Champions are starting off a new season with a new team. Mizzou lost four starters from last season including Kristin Andrighetto, Michelle Collins and goalkeeper Tasha Dit- tamore. Andrighetto leaves Missouri holding the school records for career shots (379) and shots on goal (165). She graduated as the team leader in points, goals, shots and shots on goal for the 2009 season. She also holds the Big 12 record for shots in the 2009 season with 113. Michelle Collins led the team in assists last season, racking up 22 assists in her career. Goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore holds the records for career shutouts (17), victories (35), games started in goal (55) and minutes in goal (4945:05).

The Tigers graduated a total of seven seniors from the University of Missouri last year, including mid- fielders Bree Thornton, Meghan Pfeiffer and Michelle Makasini and defender Crystal Wagner.

Senior captains Alysha Bonnick, Kari Adam and Krista Kruse are looking to lead the Missouri soccer team to tournament turf this season. Alysha Bonnick is coming into the 2010 season with Big 12 preseason honors. She followed close behind Kristin Andrighetto as one of the team's top scorers last season. With 12 career game-winning goals, Bonnick holds the program's record with Tiger alum Nikki Thole. Kruse leads by example on the field where she holds a midfield spot. She scored three game-winning goals last season. Kari Adam finished 2009 with two goals on 11 shots on goal and three assists. She has played 67 games so far in her career, allowing her to set an example for the younger players on the team.

The Tigers clinched the Big 12 regular season title last year after a 5-0 win over Nebraska. The title is the first regular season title won by a Missouri program since the softball team won it in 1997. Mis- souri's regular season title continued the success of the 2008 season when soccer came home from San Antonio, Texas with the Big 12 Tournament trophy. The team looks to continue its success this year as they defend their regular season title.

Mizzou Soccer is scheduled to appear on ESPNU when the Tigers host Texas A&M at Walton Stadium in Columbia. Game time is set for 4 p.m. on October 17. The game will also mark "Adopt-a-Player Night" for the Tigers. Fans are encouraged to bring signs, posters and any other items in support of their favorite players. The soccer team will be available for autographs at the end of the game.

A few Missouri soccer players earned the opportunity to play at a national level. Redshirt Freshman Edith Lopez spent her summer at Mexico U-20 team camp. Edith appeared versatile during the spring season for the Tigers showing her stripes in both the striker and midfield positions. She has four years of eligibility left after redshirting her freshman year. Senior Alysha Bonnick also represent- ed her country as one of 28 players selected by Canada Soccer to participate in the Senior National Team training camp. She also participated in the Canadian U-20 National Team camp in Vancouver as a freshman. Senior Krista Kruse and Freshman Dominique Richardson both represented the United States, Kruse with the US U-23 National Team training camp and Richardson with the U-18 training camp. Richardson attended the camp for the second time in her high school career.

In addition to the official news, videos, statistics, and more available on mutigers.com, updates on the Missouri women's soccer team can be found on several social media sites. Search Mizzou Soccer on www.facebook.com, check out videos at www.youtube.com/mizzousoccer and at www.vimeo.com/ user4444281, and get frequent updates at www.twitter.com/MizzouSoccer.



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