By: Harry Loomis
A rainy Spratt Stadium didn’t put a damper on Missouri Western’s weekend.
On the back of a couple of dominant defensive efforts, the Griffons won both of their games this weekend. They defeated Missouri Southern 1-0 on Friday and followed it up with a 2-0 victory over arch-rival Northwest Missouri on Sunday. The weekend success has the Griffons riding a three game winning streak.
The Griffons came out flying in the first half of Friday’s game. They dominated the possession to the tune of 19 shots for the half highlighted by Julia Stahlhuth scoring off a Mackenzie O’Neill corner kick. With rain starting to fall at halftime, the turf started to get slick, which seemed to affect both teams. While the offense still managed nine shots, with five of them being on goal, they weren’t able to generate the same quality chances as the first half, and were held scoreless. With the offense slowing back down, it was up to the defense to secure the win for the Griffons. After not allowing a shot in the first half, the defense only let up three shots in the second half with only one going on goal, only to be stopped by Anna Mayer. The Griffons held on and secured their second shutout in three games. The win was their sixth in a row against Missouri Southern.
Coach Chad Edwards was happy with the defensive effort by his team.
“We talked about setting the tone early,” Edwards said. “I thought we did a really good job of defending at a high level.”
Sunday presented a new challenge to the young Griffons: a home game against arch rival Northwest Missouri. Missouri Western showed that they were up to the challenge. Eleven minutes into the first half, junior Taylor Schwartzkopf took advantage of a misplay by the Northwest goalkeeper and scored her long overdue first goal of the season.
The rest of the half saw both teams generate solid scoring chances, but neither team could convert them into goals. Then in the 43rd minute, Kaili Campbell took a pass from Mackenzie Billings and scored a beautiful left footed goal into the top left corner and gave the Griffons a 2-0 lead into the half.
The second half was more of the same. Both teams had their share of chances, neither team could score. Northwest outshot Missouri Western for the game 17-16 but only got six of those on goal. Mayer saved all six of those and gave herself and the team their third shutout of the season. The Griffons defeated Northwest 2-0 to end the weekend with two wins and no goals allowed.
Edwards was proud of the weekend his team had.
“If you pitch a shutout, you’re not going to lose,” Edwards said. “We have to have that mentality of keeping team out of the back of the net.”
Mayer was happy with the way she and the defense played over the weekend.
“At practice, we’ve worked on the little things to become better for the games,” Mayer said. “It’s showing off and we can only go up from here.”
Schwartzkopf, her goal on Sunday was on her 29th shot of the season, which is by far the highest mark on the team.
“It felt good,” Schwartzkopf said. “I feel like every one of my shots is just wide or the goalie saves it so it feels good to finally get a shot in.”
Edwards agreed that it was good to see Schwartzkopf score.
“We knew eventually she’d break through,” Edwards said. “She’ll score a lot of goals for us this year.”
The Griffons will look to extend their winning streak this weekend. They will travel to Central Missouri on Friday and then head to Missouri Southern on Sunday. Their next home game will be on October 11.