No. 16 Soccer Travels to Oklahoma this Weekend

MUTIGERS.COM Michelle Collins and the Tigers travel to Oklahoma this weekend to face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Michelle Collins and the Tigers travel to Oklahoma this weekend to face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Oct. 9, 2008

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 16 University of Missouri soccer team hits the road this weekend for a pair of Big 12 Conference matchups in Oklahoma. The Tigers (8-3-0, 2-1-0) kickoff the road trip with a game against Oklahoma (1- 11-0, 0-3-0) in Norman on Friday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. before clashing with No. 12 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Sunday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. 

Last Time Out
The Tigers (8-3-0, 3-1-0) continued Big 12 play at home last weekend with a pair of important victories, first a 1-0 upset of No. 15 Colorado (9-2-2, 3-1-1) on Friday night and then a 2-0 triumph over Texas Tech (6-5-1, 1-4-0) on Sunday afternoon.  

Against the first-place Buffaloes, junior Kristin Andrighetto scored less than two minutes into the match to give Missouri the lead.  The forward’s team-best fourth goal of the season, assisted by sophomore striker Alysha Bonnick, would be all the Tigers would need as the Missouri defense limited Colorado’s high-scoring offense to four shots on goal.  Junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore made four saves in the shutout as the Tigers took down their first top-25 opponent of 2008.

Two days later the Tigers used a similar recipe for success: an early lead courtesy of junior forward Michelle Collins’ diving header in the 16th minute and a strong defensive showing that held the Red Raiders to three shots in the match.  Collins added an assist in the 75th minute, as Andrighetto gave Missouri an insurance goal on a well-taken shot that beat Texas Tech goalkeeper Tina Rincon to the near post.  Dittamore’s third clean sheet in four conference games and sixth of the year set the Missouri single-season record for shutouts in a season.

In a testament to the parity in the Big 12, the Tigers’ two match winning streak is currently the second longest active streak in the Big 12.

Tigers in the Polls
With the pair of conference wins, Missouri climbed eight spots to No. 16 in the Top Drawer Soccer national rankings this week.  While also receiving votes in the NSCAA/adidas top 25 poll, the Tigers rank sixth in their Central Region Rankings this week.  Other polls that include Missouri are Soccer Times at No. 25 and Soccer America at No. 22.  Missouri’s three losses this season have come against strong competition, falling to current No. 16 Illinois in overtime and on the road at current No. 19 California and current No. 29 Nebraska in double overtime. 

Conference Play in Full Swing
Four games down, six to go – that’s the status of the Tigers’ Big 12 play as they reach, and pass, the midway point of their conference schedule this weekend.  Missouri currently sits in third place in the Big 12 standings with nine points, trailing first place Texas A&M and second place Colorado.   While both the Aggies and the Buffaloes are at home this weekend, Missouri will look to earn its points on the road at Oklahoma on Friday and at No. 14 Oklahoma State on Sunday in pursuit of the conference championship.  

As expected, the Big 12 has proven to be one of the toughest conferences in the nation this season, with as many as five teams currently in the Top Drawer Soccer national rankings: No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 10 Texas, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 16 Missouri, and No. 22 Colorado.  Coming off a fourth place finish in 2007, the Tigers were picked to finish third behind Texas and Texas A&M in the Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll.  Soccer America also credited Missouri’s chances of claiming the conference title, writing in their daily edition of College Soccer Reporter earlier this season: “Missouri is looking like it could be a Big 12 contender.”  

One non-conference game remains for Missouri as the Tigers will face the Francis Marion Patriots on Friday, Oct. 17th.

Initial RPI Rankings Released
The NCAA revealed the first Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) power rankings of the 2008 season on Tuesday, with the Tigers landing at No. 22 on the list.  The RPI weights a team’s strength of schedule in relation to their performance and will be updated weekly for the remainder of the season. The top 25 ranking rewards Missouri’s challenging non-conference schedule in which the Tigers faced quality teams from the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-10 conferences.  

The RPI rankings are also used in the selection process for the NCAA Tournament.  Last year, Missouri received at an-large bid and the right to host as the Tigers reached the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament before falling in double overtime to eventual national champions USC. 

Two Upcoming Matches on National Television
ESPNU has selected the Tigers for two of their four regular season NCAA women’s broadcasts this season.  Mizzou’s match at No. 7 Texas A&M on Oct. 19 will air live at 1:30 pm CT from College Station, Texas. One week later, the Tigers host No. 10 Texas at 1 pm CT with the game televised on a tape delay at 4:30 pm CT.

The games will feature three of the top teams in the Big 12 last year, with both contests rematches of dramatic games a season ago. In their 2007 conference opener, Missouri upset No. 4 Texas A&M 3-2 in double overtime on an Andrighetto goal with 32 seconds remaining in front of 1,545 fans at Walton Stadium. Nearly a month later on the road at No. 7 Texas, the Tigers scored twice in the opening 10 minutes before the Longhorns fought back for a 3-2 overtime win.

Veteran play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins will be paired with US Women’s National Team defender Cat Whitehill in the broadcast booth for the Missouri-Texas matchup. 

Well Balanced Attack
After a slow first few games to the season, the Missouri offense has been producing plenty of goals as of late -- 18 in its last eight games – and the onslaught has been via a collective effort.  The Tigers’ 20 goals this season have come from 10 different players, and a total of 12 players have tallied at least a point.  Andrighetto leads the team with five goals and 11 points, followed by Bonnick and Collins with nine points each.  Missouri has only been shutout once this season and has scored multiple goals in seven of their last eight.

Finishing Strong
After not scoring a goal in the first half in the team’s first five games this season, Missouri has now struck in the opening half in each of its last six.  Nevertheless, the Tigers have continued to assert themselves as a strong second-half team this season and the statistics certainly support it: 14 of the team’s 20 goals have come in the second half.  The Tigers’ defense has followed suit, allowing just three second half goals in 11 games, resulting in Missouri’s 14-3 second half advantage in goals scored this season.  Following last weekend’s games against Colorado and Texas Tech in which Missouri outshot their opponents 22-6 in the final period, the Tigers have now outshot their opponents 134-54 in the second half this season.

Tigers Among League Leaders
Within conference play so far this season, Missouri has fired the second most shots (95), scored the second most goals (eight), and posted the most shutouts (three) among all Big 12 teams.  Individually, Andrighetto is first in points (eight), points per game (2.0), goals (four), goals per game (1.0), and game winning goals (two).  Michelle Collins also is atop the chart in assists (three) and assists per game (0.75), while Bonnick, fourth in the conference with two goals scored, is also tied with Collins for fourth in points with five apiece.  Finally, Dittamore leads the Big 12 with six total shutouts and three conference play shutouts in the first four games.

Andrighetto Climbing the Charts
Andrighetto is making her mark felt on the Missouri career record books this season.  Having already moved up the career charts to fifth for shots on goal, fourth on the career shots list, and fifth on the Tigers’ career points chart this season, Andrighetto’s game winning goal in Friday’s upset win over No. 15 Colorado was her ninth of her college career, moving her into a tie for third place on the Missouri career game winning goal list with Jennifer Nobis (2002-05).  Andrighetto was an All-Big 12 first team selection as a sophomore last season, only the second Missouri player to ever receive such recognition, after tallying 14 goals and nine assists. 

Tigers Take Advantage of Depth
Head Coach Bryan Blitz has been making the most of his roster in Missouri’s 2008 campaign.  All 20 players used thus far have seen at least 160 minutes of action and 18 of the 20 have started as least one game.  Junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore is the only Tiger to have played all 1,010 minutes, though Missouri’s veteran backline of senior Janelle Cordia, senior Kat Tarr, and junior Crystal Wagner have all logged over 950 minutes.  Of the incoming class, top 75 recruit Kelsey Blincow has become the most consistent starter earning nearly 500 minutes, while Mallory Stipetich has come off the bench to score twice for the Tigers this season.

Dittamore and Wagner Receive Weekly Honors
After their strong defensive showing last weekend in the Tigers’ shutout wins over No. 15 Colorado and Texas Tech, Dittamore and Wagner each earned recognition by national awards this week.  

Wagner was named to the Women’s College Team of the Week. Recognized for her role in central defense, Wagner played all 180 minutes last weekend and leads all field players with 996 this year.  The Houston, Texas, native is the first Missouri player to receive Top Drawer Soccer’s team of the week recognition this season.  It is Wagner’s second career team of the week honor as she was chosen to the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week as a freshman in 2006.

Dittamore was selected Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after making six saves on the weekend. The two shutouts came against nationally-ranked offenses and upped her season total to six to set a new Missouri single-season record.  Sunday’s shutout win over the Red Raiders also moved her into second place on the career shutout list with nine total, passing Jackie Adamec (1997-00), and into fifth place on the career wins chart with 14 career victories.  The Granite City, Ill., native has played every minute in goal this season for the Tigers, making 43 saves and posting a 0.89 goals against average. 

Scouting Oklahoma
The Sooners (1-11-0, 0-3-0) enter Friday’s match looking to shed a nine game losing streak, with their only win coming in August over Ball State.  The matchup will be the first of a five game homestand for Oklahoma, after being outscored 12-1 in their first three conference contests on the road.

The Oklahoma offense, statistically the worst in the conference this season, is led by striker Whitney Palmer with five goals after scoring six for the Sooners as a freshman a season ago.  Palmer leads the Big 12 in shots per game in conference play, averaging 4.67 per outing.  Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Allison, a 2007 Big 12 All-Newcomer Team selection, leads Oklahoma with three assists.  

Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Lisa Jett, a transfer from UCLA this season, has played every minute in net for Oklahoma, conceding 34 goals for a 2.80 goals against average.  Jett leads the Big 12 in saves with 72 and her conference-best 6.0 saves per game average ranks No. 41 in the nation. 

First-year head coach Nicole Nelson takes over an Oklahoma squad that went 6-10-3 (2-7-1) and finished in ninth place in 2007, the same position the team was picked to finish in the Big 12 coaches preseason poll this season.  Though the team returns seven starters, the Sooners sport a young squad made up of 12 sophomores and seven freshman.

Missouri is 6-4-1 all time against the Sooners and was a 3-0 winner in their regular season meeting last year in Columbia.  Sooners’ forward Lauren Alkek will not be available against Missouri, as the sophomore received a red card in their last match, a 5-0 loss to No. 7 Texas A&M.

Scouting Oklahoma State
The No. 14 Cowgirls (10-1-1, 1-1-1) face Missouri on Sunday after playing Kansas on Friday at home, where they are 6-0-0 this season.  Oklahoma State has gotten off to a fast start in 2008, posting the 10th best winning percentage in the nation with their lone blemish coming in a 2-1 loss at No. 7 Texas A&M last weekend.

Ranked as high as No. 9 by, the Cowgirls are ranked No. 2 in the NSCAA/adidas Central Region and No. 12 in the most recent RPI rankings released by the NCAA.  The Oklahoma State offense -- ranked the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation at 3.75 goals per game -- leads the Big 12 in shots (279), goals (45), assists (34), and points (124).  The Cowgirls have already surpassed their goals scored total from 2007 when they went 14-6-3 (5-4-1) and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after finishing sixth in the Big 12.  OSU returns nine starters from their squad a season ago and was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 coaches preseason poll.

The Cowgirls’ attack is led by senior Yolanda Odenyo, junior Kasey Langdon, and freshman Kyndall Treadwell -- the top three point earners in the conference, respectively.  Odenyo, named Co-Big 12 Player of the Year in 2006 and All Big 12 first team the last two seasons, has 10 goals and two assists so far this season.  Given an extra season of eligibility, the decorated midfielder is making the most of it as her 0.833 goals per game ranks No. 16 in the nation.  Langdon, a NSCAA All-Central Region second team selection last season, leads the Cowgirls in points with seven goals -- four of them game winners -- and 11 assists, good for No. 14 in the nation in points per game (2.08) and No. 4 in the nation in assists per game (0.92).  Treadwell, part of the No. 28 recruiting class in the nation according to Soccer Buzz, has seven goals and four assists in her freshman campaign.

On the defensive side of the ball, goalkeeper Erin Stigler has allowed eight goals in 12 games for a 0.82 goals against average.  The senior has led the Big 12 in shutouts the last two seasons and has recorded two shutouts thus far in 2008, making 33 saves.

Missouri is 8-4-1 all time against Oklahoma State, but will be looking to avenge a 2-1 overtime loss at home a season ago when the Tigers had reached their highest ranking of the season at No. 5.  

Mizzou Soccer Online
In addition to the official news, photos, statistics and more that are available on the newly designed, the Missouri soccer program is complementing the team’s coverage with several supplementary sites for fans, alumni, and recruits. The team has continued to update since its debut this spring, which features a coach’s blog, photos and video of the team in action, team information and much more.  Additionally, Missouri was the first school to launch its customized team page on the recently unveiled  Finally, the team launched a MizzouSoccer Twitter account last week to provide instant updates and information on the team, as well as a MizzouSoccer YouTube channel to post match footage.  The Tigers are excited to continue highlighting their program in the national spotlight via all of these resources and to provide up close and timely coverage of the team for all those who follow Mizzou soccer.




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