In what has been an up-and-down season for Missouri (7-7-2, 3-3-2 SEC), one reason why the Tigers have been in every game is because of junior goalie McKenzie Sauerwein.
“She’s been great for the last month,” coach Bryan Blitz said. “We’ve challenged her to be better with such a young back line, and she’s rose to the challenge each time.”
Sauerwein shined this past weekend in goal for the Tigers, helping the Tigers pick four points in the Southeastern Conference standings with an upset over then-No.11 South Carolina and a tie against Auburn.
“I think we’re playing really well,” Sauerwein said. “I think we’re peaking at a later stage in the season than most teams, which is only going to help us at the end of the season and for the SEC tournament.”
All of the Tigers losses this season have been by a single goal with Sauerwein averaging 1.12 goals against average in net, good for ninth in the conference. Sauerwein has only allowed three goals in a single game once this season, one of the main reasons why the Tigers have been in every game until the end.
She entered Sunday’s game leading the SEC in saves while ranking in the top three in save percentage and saves per game, giving her a strong case to be named all-conference.
The Texas native recently became the Tigers’ all-time leader for minutes played in goal, a feat she accomplished in the first half of the Tigers’ 1-0 loss at Louisiana State. While the record is an achievement itself, the fact that Sauerwein broke it as a junior after redshirting her first year on campus makes the feat even more impressive.
“It’s pretty awesome that I got it,” Sauerwein said. “I’m grateful to be here, and it’s awesome to be on this team and to be playing with these girls. It’s really cool that I have another year to add to it.”
Sauerwein also set the record for games in played in goal with 58 and games started in goal with 56 during Friday’s 2-1 upset against South Carolina but she doesn’t seem to be done there.
She is closing in on other marks including career shutouts, which she is one clean slate away from breaking. Sauerwein ranks second in wins with 32, and third in saves, goals against average and games started.
Sauerwein has a chance to hold all of the Tigers goalkeeping records by the time she graduates, putting her among the all-time greats to wear the black and gold.
Despite the success Sauerwein has had as the Tigers’ netminder, she has not given any of the records much thought and is more worried about the team’s goals than her own.
“I like to think of it as when they come, they come,” Sauerwein said of the records. “I don’t want it to affect me in anyway. Basically, we set team goals at the start of the year, and that’s what we all focus on.”