Monday Musings - Another Hurdle Destroyed

I really want to make sure this week is not just entirely about the football team, but about all the Mizzou sports in general.  However, since Saturday night's game is all we are likely to talk about the beginning part of this week, along with the fact that I kinda took last week off with the bye week, you will understand if I get a little...um....bloggy about what I saw the other night.  Here we go...

Football:

The last couple of seasons have seen Mizzou (in most cases) destroy old stumbling blocks.  Brad Smith took care of a (ironically) Bo Pelini defense back in 2003, but last season saw wins in Boulder and in Manhattan (both in pretty emphatic ways).  This past game was the next hurdle, and possibly the largest of the group.  The way I see it, there are only two hurdles left which Mizzou has yet to traverse.  Beating Texas in Austin (which we have not done in this millennia) and beating OU when it counts.  Those two hurdles are still a little bit away, so let's enjoy this one for just a little while longer, shall we?

This was a very important game in a three-game stretch which will see two road games in venues where Mizzou had not won in approximately 140 years combined.  The Tigers took all the took all week long (even when I did not think there was talk to take in some cases) and then parlayed that with a last second (reported) expectoration by an unnamed Husker and just crushed them.  Yes, NU had a nice offensive strategy early of moving Ganz out of the pocket and picking on Justin Garrett.  They even looked up to par on defense on the 2nd drive, but could not get out of their own way and two large penalties later, Mizzou was getting into the endzone again....and again....and again. 

By the time most fans reach Lots A-X this coming weekend, most of them will know the final of the OU/UT Game of the Century and just what Mizzou will have in store in Austin.  Hell, by this afternoon, we should know what time that game will be and thus potentially what sort of atmosphere we will be up against.  But an unblemished (and somewhat untested) Okie State is coming to town this weekend.  They bring a great offense...and...well...a great offense.  And their coach (of course) is a man.  They might even be the best team we have faced to date (will let The Boy tell us if they are better than Illinois).  And when, as a program, you are #2 in the country and with as much on the line week in and week out, this WILL be one of the most important games we have played in years.   Staying in a position to compete for a National Title makes it so.

The game is a sell-out, our first of at least two in a row. (Sidebar...a sell-out against k-State which is assumed at this point, will drive Mizzou's average attendance to over 64,000 on this season). Get in the stadium just a little early.  Watch the gold stream in.  Watch the stadium fill to its outer edges.  Feel the buzz (both emotional and physical with the 7pm start) grow towards game time.  Appreciate how you might describe Chase Daniel as having been a little off this past week even when he missed five total passes.  Realize that Derrick Washington has a streak of five games in which he has rushed for TWO TD's per game.  Take in Maclin's play-making ability when he makes a catch in space.  Notice the inspired play of all who have donned the "25" of their fallen teammate.  And most importantly, find the a special memory you will take from each occasion of getting a chance to watch this amazing team.

Volleyball:

A very interesting split week for the ladies, and consider it perhaps an opportunity missed.  The team started the week in solid fashion, winning a five-set match against the Cyclones in the Hearnes, but in as impressive a fashion as you can win a five setter.  The team seemed to fall asleep at the wheel in the 3rd set and parts of the 4th, but dominated the first two sets and the important 5th for the win.  Four Tigers reached double-digit kills, with Julianna Klein leading the way with 17 and an almost 40 percent hitting percentage.  Caitlyn Vann was once again the leader in digs with 24 and Klein completed her double-double with 16 digs herself.  The win moved the ladies to 2-2 in the Big XII and 8-6 overall.

Moving on to Saturday where the ladies travelled down to College Station to take on the Aggies, and once again took part in a five set match.  However, the ladies only really showed up for sets one and four, and lost in the 5th in a score I have never seen before of 15-4.  Klein seems to be hitting her stride (which is a good sign) with 20 kills (but on only .152 hitting).  Megan Wilson and Wendy Wang added double digit kills and Caitlyn Vann lead a trio of Tigers in double digit digs.  However, service errors, serve receive errors and a lack of a consistent block helped the Aggies score 20 more points over the five sets.  This moves the team back under .500 in the league at 2-3 and 8-7 overall.  They now travel to Manhattan for a midweek contest before returning home to take on the highly ranked Nebraska Huskers.  That game is scheduled for noon on Sunday, and nothing cures a hangover faster than Mizzou Volleyball :-)

Soccer:

As The Boy referenced in The Links this morning, the soccer team did in fact have the weekend they needed to have early in the conference season.  They were home to take on a highly ranked CU team and a fairly pedestrian TTech team and they took out both.  Friday night saw Mizzou get on the board just about as early as you can, with Kristen Andrighetto (who is rounding into high-scoring form) scored in the 2nd minute off a pass from Alysha Bonnick, and that would be it.  The teams would pretty much stifle one another from there, with Tasha Dittamore saving all four CU shots which made it on net and the Tigers would come away with a satisfying 1-0 win.

Sunday would see them take on TTech and once again the Tigers would get on the board (pretty) early, as junior Michelle Collins would put away a header in the 16th minute to give Mizzou the early lead.  Kristen Andrighetto would add her 5th goal of the season (this time from Collins) in the 75th minute to salt this one away at 2-0.  Dittamore did not need to do much, but she did save the two shots on net for her 6th shutout of the season and 3rd already in Big XII play.

Andrighetto's five goals (two points) and one assist (one point) give her a team-high 11 points on the season, with Bonnick (4/1) and Collins (3/3) right behind with nine points.  Collins and junior Bree Thorton are tied for the team lead in assists with three.  Mizzou is now sitting 8-3 and 3-1 in conference and should look to make a nice move up the national charts.  This coming weekend, they will take their trip through the state of Oklahoma, taking on a Cowgirl team which is 1-1-1 in conference but an impressive 10-1-1 overall.  Okie State and Mizzou will play Friday night, with the Tigers wrapping up the trip in Norman on Sunday against the last place Sooners.  Another swept weekend and the Tigers will have only one road game remaining for the season...at conference leader aTm.

Women's Golf:

Early last week, and between the rain drops, the team played in the 2nd annual Johnie Imes Invitational, their home tournament.  And for the 2nd time, junior Julia Potter walked away as the tournament champion, carding a three-round score of -7 (209), which destroyed the previous three-round record by five strokes by Maria Ohlsson back in 2004.  Potter's total would lead Mizzou to finishing in a tie for second place with Ark-Little Rock, just two shots behind team champ Ole Miss. The "B" team of Tigers (which I guess only happens when you host the tournament) finished 14th in the 18 team field.

Also hitting well for the ladies over the weekend was senior Chelsea Schriewer, who shook off a bad opening round to come back to finish 11th.  Freshman Hannah Lovelock, who played with the "B" team, ended up finishing 23rd, though she was in second after two rounds with a -4 (she shot 90 in the last round...ouch).  Junior Michelle Morgan was 29th and sophomore Madison Marcolla was 39th with the "B" team.  Had the coach mixed the players a little differently, Mizzou would have run away with the team title actually.

Currently, the Tigers are down in Lubbock competing in the Two Women I have Never Heard of Invitational, which is set to complete today.  More on that next week, which will then see the team travel out to Las Cruces, NM for the Price's Give 'Em Five Intercollegiate.

Tennis:

All apologies to the Women's Tennis team, who just completed their third weekend tournament without a real mention on here.  Fall tournaments appear to be just that, tournaments, whereas action in the "regular" season (in the spring) are dual competitions. 

The Tigers started their season at home in the Mizzou Tennis Invitational, and dominated all brackets of action.  The doubles team of sophomore Mallory Weber and highly acclaimed freshman Jamie Mera took down their teammates sophomore Kaitlyn Richie and senior Jessica Giuggioli in the finals, while the team of junior Sofie Ayala and sophomore Maureen Modesto won the consolation side.  In singles action, Giuggioli  defeated Richie (and Mera along the way) for the "A" title, Ayala dominated the action in the "B" flight for the championship and junior Kaitlin Dunham did the same in the "C" flight for the championship.

The second tournament saw the Tigers travel down to Las Vegas for a tournament with UNLV and the Tigers came away with some solid finishes.  Freshman Jamie Mera made it to the finals of the "B" flight before falling to her UNLV opponent, and the same for Dunham in the "D" flight.  Sofia Ayala made it to the consolation finals in the "C" flight before falling as well.  Other Tigers did make the most of their final matches, with Jessica Giuggioli winning both her singles and doubles (with Ritchie) matches, Mallory Weber winning both her singles and doubles (with Mera) matches and Maureen Modesto winning her doubles (with Ayala) match while falling in her singles action.

Finally, the Tigers returned home this past weekend to take part in the first annual "Ace for a Cure" Invitational.  The doubles team of Ritchie and Giuggioli took the consolation finals in the "B" flight of the doubles, with Ayala and Dunham taking the championship in the "C" flight, with the interesting pair of Maureen Modesto from MU and Sarah Acosta of SMU took the consolation championship in the same flight.  In singles, Jessica Giuggioli came through the "A" flight to win the championship in a hard-fought three-set win in the finals.  Sofie Ayala fell in the finals of the "B" flight, and Maureen Modesto was champion of the "C" flight.

All in all, a start which coach Blake Starkey seems to be pretty pleased with.  A LOT of youth on this team (only the one senior in Giuggioli) is a good sign for this team as well.  Next up in the fall season will be what appears to be a split squad weekend, with some traveling to the ITA Central Region in Salt Lake City while others will head to Albuquerque for the New Mexico Invitational in two weeks.  Both of these represent the last of the fall season for the squad.

Softball:

To our knowledge, the team took on Jefferson County and Crowder Community College, but no update exists on MUTigers.com

Random Thoughts:

  • I was really pulling for the Texans to win yesterday...what a finish by the Colts
  • The NL playoffs have not really been too much to talk about so far.  I will be pulling for the Dodgers in this next round.
  • Penn State looked decent enough on the road this past weekend.  Evan Royster was very impressive running the ball, and Penn State really is as physical a spread offense as I have seen.  At Wisconsin is next...will be interesting to see how the Badgers bounce back after their tough loss to tOSU
  • Though I imagine UribeAuction might/will disagree...I was fine with the Mets resigning Manuel, though pleased to see them do it for just two years (especially since I believe they are still paying Randolph in 2009).  Now they need to turn towards obtaining the correct pieces.  Will be interesting to see if they move to let go of Pedro and if they will resign Ollie Perez.  Santana, Pelphrey and (a healthy) Maine is a nice start to a rotation...I believe they feel Niese SHOULD be ready to join it as well.
  • Mizzou Tigers - 5 wins in 5 games.  NFL Teams in Missouri - 1 win in 9 games.
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