Nov. 13, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 10 University of Missouri soccer team (15-5-1, 7-3-0), the No. 4 seed in the North Carolina bracket of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, will open tourney play with a first round matchup against Missouri Valley Conference champion Evansville (13-4-2, 5-1-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14 at Walton Stadium. The contest follows a 4 p.m. contest between Illinois (11-1-8, 5-5 Big Ten) and Memphis (15-4-2, 8-2-1 Conference USA). The winners of both games will play against each other on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m., also at Walton Stadium.
All three games will be streamed for free online through the Mizzou All-Access platform. Users will have to register prior to viewing the games. Webcasts will begin 15 minutes prior to kickoff.
Last Time Out
Missouri captured its first ever Big 12 Soccer Championship with a 1-0 victory over the No. 10 Colorado Buffaloes (14-4-4, 6-2-2) in San Antonio, Texas, last Sunday. Senior captain Mo Redmond scored the game’s only goal in the sixth minute and a determined Missouri defense held the Buffaloes to just two shots on goal in the shutout.
Redmond scored the match winner off a failed shot attempt by junior forward Kristin Andrighetto in the game’s opening minutes. The ball rolled to the top of the box, where Redmond was well positioned to blast it past Colorado goalkeeper Kirstin Radlinski for her fourth goal of the season.
Junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore recorded two saves and was named the tournament’s defensive MVP after allowing just two goals in the three games. Sophomore striker Alysha Bonnick was awarded offensive MVP honors for her two-goal performance in the Tigers’ 3-1 quarterfinal victory over No. 9 Texas. Three other Missouri players – Redmond, junior midfielder Meghan Pfeiffer and senior defender Kat Tarr – were named to the 2008 Big 12 All-Tournament Team.
The match marked Missouri’s fourth appearance in the Big 12 Tournament Championship and was televised live on Fox Sports Net.
The title, the school’s fourth conference championship and first postseason league title since softball claimed their regular season and tournament championships in 1997, awarded Missouri an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Mizzou in the 2008 NCAA Tournament
Already assured of a berth in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, the fourth appearance in program history and the first time to appear in consecutive seasons, the Tigers anxiously awaited the NCAA Selection Show on ESPNews at D. Rowe’s Restaurant on Monday to learn who and where they would play in the opening round. The news was positive as Missouri was awarded the No. 4 seed in their 16-team regional and the right to host the first and second rounds. It is the first time Missouri has received a national seeding and fourth time the school has been selected as one of the sixteen host sites for the 64-team tournament.
Illinois and Memphis will kick off play in Columbia at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14 at Walton Stadium, followed by Missouri and Evansville at 7 p.m. The winners will advance to meet at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16 in the second round. Tickets are $4 for children and seniors, and $7 for adults, and are on sale now. They can be ordered in person at the Mizzou Arena Box Office, or by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS in mid-Missouri). Both games on Friday are part of a single session.
Tigers’ NCAA Tournament History
Missouri is a 1-3-1 all time in NCAA Tournament play. In the 13-year history of the program, the Tigers have earned berths to four tournaments, in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2008. In all four trips to the big dance, Missouri has hosted first and second round action in the friendly confines of Walton Stadium.
Mizzou’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament was a dramatic one, falling 3-2 to Marquette in quadruple overtime after more than 141 minutes of play. The contest, ending in near darkness, remains the longest match in both school’s history.
Four years later, the Tigers used a brutal schedule that featured matches against 11 top-25 opponents to prepare them for postseason play. Missouri earned its first ever NCAA Tournament victory with a 1-0 win over Eastern Illinois, before falling 2-0 to rival Kansas in the second round.
Last season, Missouri again advanced to the second round thanks to a penalty shootout, following a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtimes, against Southeast Missouri State. Forward Michelle Collins, a junior this season, scored the game’s opening goal in the 17th minute, before current seniors Kat Tarr and goalkeeper Mallory Forst converted penalties to best SEMO 2-0 in the shootout. Two days later, the Tigers again appeared headed for penalty kicks only to see eventual champion USC score with five minutes remaining in the second overtime period to win 1-0.
Year Round Opponent Outcome
1999 First Round Marquette Lost, 3-2 (4OT)
2003 First Round Eastern Illinois Won, 1-0
Second Round No. 16 Kansas Lost, 2-0
2007 First Round SEMO Tied, 1-1 (Advanced on penalty kicks, 2-0)
Second Round No. 8 USC Lost, 1-0 (2OT)
Tigers Host, Once Again
Friday’s contest with Evansville marks Missouri’s sixth NCAA Tournament game and the sixth such game played at Walton Stadium. In their four NCAA berths, the Tigers have never played a contest away from the friendly confines of their home field.
The Tigers’ Big 12 Tournament title gave the team a program first -- back to back NCAA Tournament berths. After earning an NCAA at-large invite last season, Missouri claimed the Big 12’s automatic berth with their Big 12 Championship on Sunday. The win gave Mizzou back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history. Previously, all berths were spaced four years apart -- 1999, 2003 and 2007.
The Purple Aces (13-4-2, 5-1-0) return to NCAA Tournament play for the first time since 2001 and for the fourth time in program history (1998, 1999, 2001, 2008). After being crowned Missouri Valley Conference co-champions in the regular season, their fifth regular season title, Evansville collected their sixth conference tournament championship with wins over Missouri State and Indiana State last weekend as the tournament’s top seed.
The Aces’ attack is led by senior forward Kayla Lambert. The MVC Player of the Year in 2008, Lambert is the school and conference’s all-time leading scorer with 132 points on 51 goals and 30 assists. Her 14 goals and eight assists this season produced an astounding 2.5 points per game average in conference and 1.89 points per game average overall. Lambert is joined by former club teammate Mia Tofano, forming a dangerous duo up top for Evansville. Tofano, a back-to-back First Team All-MVC selection, has 12 goals and nine assists this season as a senior striker. Creating the chances for Lambert and Tofano is senior midfielder Nicole Moyen, who leads the squad with 14 assists on the year, a school single season record.
In goal for Evansville is sophomore goalkeeper Theresa Bagby, an MVC All-Freshman honoree last season. The Golden, Colo., native matched her freshman campaign with six shutouts this season and has recorded 91 saves for a 1.11 goals against average.
Evansville has won the only two meetings with Missouri, a 4-0 decision in 1996 and a 2-1 victory in 1997. The Purple Aces are 0-3-0 all time in NCAA Tournament play, dropping one-goal games as a host to Northwestern in 1998 and away to Dayton in 1999, before falling 3-0 to eventual national champion Santa Clara in 2001.
Two Tigers Earn Weekly Honors
Dittamore and Tarr each earned team of the week selections for their performances in the Big 12 Tournament. Dittamore was named by Soccer America and Tarr was chosen to Top Drawer Soccer’s best eleven. Both players played every minute of the tournament for a stout Missouri defense that allowed just two goals in three games.
Dittamore, named the tournament’s defensive MVP, recorded 11 saves in the three matches and made two critical stops in the semifinal penalty shootout over rival Kansas before going on to keep the clean sheet in the final on Sunday.
Tarr, one of five Tigers selected to the Big 12 All-Tournament Team, played a big part on both ends of the field. Against Texas, her free kick was flicked to Bonnick for the game-sealing third goal. Then in the semifinal, Tarr converted the first of four consecutive penalty kicks to tie the shootout at 1-1. Finally, in the championship, Tarr’s cross to Andrighetto resulted in Redmond’s game winning goal.
Tarr and Dittamore have been fixtures on the field for Missouri this season as they lead the team in minutes played, having played in over 93 percent of the team’s total minutes.
Four Tigers Earn Big 12 Postseason Honors
Four members of the No. 15 University of Missouri women’s soccer team received Big 12 Conference postseason honors, the league announced Monday. Junior forward Kristin Andrighetto and sophomore striker Alysha Bonnick were each named to the All-Big 12 first team, junior midfielder Meghan Pfeiffer earned an All-Big 12 second team selection and freshman forward Kendra Collins was chosen to the Big 12 All-Newcomer team.
Andrighetto and Bonnick garnered first team awards on the heels of strong seasons within Big 12 Conference play. Within conference play, the tandem both led the Big 12 in points (15), points per game (1.50), goals (six), goals per game (0.60) and game-winning goals (2). Andrighetto was named to the first team award for the second straight season while Bonnick becomes just the third player in Missouri history named to the first team, joining Andrighetto and former Tiger Nikki Thole.
Pfeiffer also repeats as an All-Big 12 second team honoree for her role at defensive midfield. The redshirt junior has recorded two goals and three assists in addition to playing a big part in the Tigers’ school record 10 shutouts, seven of which came against conference opponents, a Big 12 best this season.
Breaking into the starting lineup in the absence of Bonnick and older sister Michelle Collins, Kendra Collins has appeared in every game with eight starts. The Naperville, Ill., native earned the first point of her collegiate career with an assist against Eastern Washington.
Nine Tigers Named to Academic All-Big 12 Teams
Showing they excel in the classroom as well as on the field, nine members of the Missouri women’s soccer team received Academic All-Big 12 Conference honors, as announced by the league office Tuesday.
Four Tigers, seniors Janelle Cordia and Lindsay McCoy, junior Bree Thornton and sophomore Kelsey Stokes each earned Academic All-Big 12 first team honors. Additionally, seniors Mallory Forst and Mo Redmond were accompanied by juniors Michelle Collins and Crystal Wagner and sophomore Alysha Bonnick on the second team.
Cordia and McCoy are now three-time first team members while Redmond is making her third appearance as an honoree for the second team. Forst and Wagner are being honored as second team selections for the second consecutive year.
2008 A Record Breaking Season
The Tigers set a number of program records with their 13-5-0 mark during the regular season. The Tigers’ 13 wins are the most ever in the regular season, besting the previous record of 12 set in 2007, 2001, and 1999. The seven conference wins is also a new mark, breaking the old record of six achieved in 2007 and 1999. Additionally, Mizzou’s 21 points in conference play (three for a win, one for a tie, zero for a loss) broke the old mark of 19 set in 1999. Further, the team’s current 15-5-1 record is a school record for overall wins in a season, besting the 1999 squad that went 14-6-1.
The team has also rewritten the record books in several other statistics, including most shutouts with 11, longest home winning streak at eight straight games and consecutive games without being shutout, which currently stands at 18. This Missouri squad has also tied program records for home victories with nine, and is on pace to set records in fewest goals allowed and team goals against average.
A New Record on the Horizon?
Prior to the 2008 season, Missouri had won nine games at Walton Stadium twice -- 2001 and 2003. Already sitting on nine wins at Walton this season, a victory over Evansville on Friday will give the Tigers a new Walton Stadium record with 10 victories in one year.
Tigers in the Polls
Following last weekend’s 2-0-1 run to the conference tournament championship, Missouri jumped 11 spots to its highest ranking of the season, No. 10 in Soccer America. The Tigers come in at No. 12 in Soccer Buzz, No. 11 in Soccer Times, No. 13 in the NSCAA/adidas coaches’ poll, and No. 15 in Top Drawer Soccer. Missouri currently sits in second in both the Soccer Buzz and NSCAA/adidas Central Region Rankings, trailing only Big 12 regular season champion Oklahoma State.
Missouri’s five losses this season have come against strong competition, with four of the five foes being selected to the NCAA Tournament.
Friday Night Lights
With the tie against Kansas in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, the Tigers improved to 9-0-1 this season in Friday competition. In the ten Friday matches, Missouri has outscored opponents 27-3.
Tigers on Television
Missouri was selected for a program high three televised matches this season. ESPNU selected the Tigers for two of their four regular season NCAA women’s soccer broadcasts this season. Mizzou’s 3-0 upset win at No. 6 Texas A&M on Oct. 19th aired live on the national network, and last Sunday’s matchup with No. 10 Texas was shown on a tape delay at 4:30 p.m. Veteran play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins and US Women’s National Team defender Cat Whitehill called the action for both contests.
Additionally, Missouri’s big 12 Championship title game against colorado was broadcast on Fox Sports Net.
The NCAA released the final updated Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) power rankings of the 2008 season prior to the Big 12 Tournament on Nov. 2, with the Tigers landing at No. 28 on the list. The RPI weights a team’s strength of schedule in relation to their performance, both home and away, and is used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
Missouri enters its game with Evansville in the midst of a record breaking streak -- the team has not been shut out since Sept. 6 -- a streak that spans 18 games. The previous record was 16 games, set between Aug. 27-Oct. 24, 1999. Since the Tigers fell to California 3-0, the squad has scored at least one goal in every game. In fact, Mizzou has averaged 2.5 goals per game in that stretch.
During the 18 games, Mizzou has scored six goals twice, three goals five times, two goals seven times and one goal on just four occassions.
All Out Attack
After a slow first few games to the season, the Missouri offense came to life and has been producing plenty of goals ever since, scoring 47 goals in the team’s 21 games this season. The 2.24 goals per game average has come via a collective effort with 14 different players tallying goals and 16 total players contributing at least a point.
Missouri was the only team not to be shutout in Big 12 play this season, and has only been shutout once in 2008, a 3-0 loss at California in the team’s third game of the season. The Tigers also put together an impressive span of scoring multiple games in 14 of 16 matches, prior to be held to a single goal in both the Big 12 Tournament semifinals against Kansas and the championship versus Colorado.
Tigers Among League Leaders
Within conference play, Missouri finished first in shots (220), second in goals (24) and points (66), tied for third in assists (18), fourth in goals allowed (eight) and goals against average (0.78). The team led the conference in overall shutouts (10) and conference shutouts (seven), earning clean sheets in seven of their 10 conference matches.
Within Big 12 play, three Tiger players also were among the league leaders. Andrighetto and Bonnick were tied for first in goals (six), goals per game (0.60), points (15), points per game (1.50) and game-winning goals (two). Junior forward Michelle Collins tied for first in assists per game (0.50), tied for second in assists (four), and fifth in points per game (1.25). Finally, Dittamore is leads the Big 12 in all competition with nine shutouts and a 0.43 shutouts per game average, and is second within Big 12 play with five shutouts and a 0.50 shutout per game average.
Tigers Climbing the Charts
Andrighetto is making her mark felt on the Missouri career record books this season. The junior has already moved up the career charts to fourth in game-winning goals (nine), shots (256) and shots on goal (111), and sixth in points (69) and goals (27). Additionally, Bonnick and Collins have worked their way into the record books this season. Bonnick is third in game-winning goals (10) and stands in seventh in goals (22) and points (57). Collins is now ninth in career points (53) and tied for eighth in goals (19).
On the other end of the field, senior captain Janelle Cordia moved into fourth in career games played with 82 after playing the full 90 against Colorado on Sunday. Behind her in defense, Dittamore’s victory over the Buffaloes extends her single season record to 15, as well as her single season record for shutouts with nine. Already this season, Dittamore has moved into third place on the Missouri career victories list with 21.
Tigers Take Advantage of Depth
Head Coach Bryan Blitz has been making the most of his roster in Missouri’s 2008 campaign. All 19 field players used thus far have seen over 425 minutes of action and all have been selected to start at least one game. Dittamore leads the team with 1,860 minutes played, while the Tigers’ veteran backline of Cordia, junior Crystal Wagner, and Tarr, have all logged nearly 1,800 minutes, the most of any field players.
Capitalizing on Corner Kicks
With two corner kicks in the final on Sunday, the Tigers upped their single-season record for corner kicks to 142. Missouri is averaging nearly seven per game and leads the Big 12 in corners both in conference play (75) and overall (142). The set pieces have proven to be a pivotal part of the Missouri attack, with five goals scored off corner kicks so far this season.
Mizzou Soccer Online
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 ThisIsMizzouSoccer.com 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 GoCollegeSoccer.com. 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.