Tigers upset KU in first round of NCAA soccer playoffs

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By Joey Schneider, 23 Sports

Monday, Nov. 17-

When Mizzou switched to the SEC conference in 2012, there was uncertainty that their Border War rivalry with the Kansas Jayhawks would retain its significance. Over two years later, the rivals were reunited in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament with more bragging rights up for grabs.

On Sunday afternoon, the Tigers persevered and defeated a favored Jayhawks squad in Lawrence, Kan. by a score of 3-1. Mizzou improved to 12-6-3 on the year, as KU was eliminated, ending their season.

Less than three minutes into the game, Mizzou forward Taylor Grant collected her eighth goal of the season. The senior was the lone first half scorer, but her big day was far from complete. Grant added another goal in the 51st minute of play. This tally marked her team-leading ninth goal and eventually settled as the game winner.

After Mizzou scored the game’s first pair of goals, Kansas responded quickly. Six minutes later, Kansas midfielder Liana Salazar posted her thirteenth goal of the year and cut the Tigers’ lead in half.

In the 66th minute of play, Grant found junior Reagan Russell open for a long pass, who padded Mizzou’s lead with the team’s final goal. Russell had a strong offensive day, picking up her seventh goal on the year and assisting on Grant’s first tally.

Senior Kaysie Clark also contributed a solid effort and reached some personal milestones in the victory, despite receiving a yellow card in the second half. The midfielder collected her team-leading thirteenth assist on Russell’s goal, which ties her for the second-largest single season total in Mizzou history and moves her fourth all-time among Mizzou’s assist leaders with 23.

The Tigers were able to pressure their longtime rivals with ball control and defensive execution. The Jayhawks were limited to only 16 shots and were unable to force any corner kick opportunities.

The goaltenders had a large effect on the outcome as well. Mackenzie Sauerwein chipped in with seven saves for the Tigers, while Jayhawks’ netminder Kaitlyn Stroud only saved five of eight shots on goal.

This game embraced the Border War tradition and competitive spirit that both teams had anticipated coming into the matchup. The Jayhawks totaled seven fouls, while the Tigers were issued 14 fouls.

When the two teams last squared off in October 2011, Mizzou netted three goals in the final six minutes to pull a come-from-behind victory. The Kansas Jayhawks had been looking for an opportunity to gain revenge ever since Mizzou moved away from the Big 12. But KU soccer will have to wait even longer to end a three-game losing skid against the Tigers that dates back to 2010.

The win moves Mizzou athletics to 2-0 against KU in NCAA competition following Mizzou’s transition to the SEC. With Border War origins dating back to the late 19th century, Mizzou and Kansas will look toward future matchups in NCAA playoffs and tournaments to keep this tradition alive.

An emotional first round victory advances the Tigers to the second round of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament. Mizzou’s next opponent will be the Washington Huskies in Stanford, California this Friday at 6:30 p.m.