Less than two years into a career that's barely half-way complete, Northwest Missouri State junior forward Tori Von Mende has already established herself as the greatest goal scorer in Bearcat women's soccer history.
Von Mende scored her 18th career goal in the 22nd minute of Friday's 3-0 win over Northeastern State at Bearcat Pitch, making her the new all-time leader in goals and points with 40.
She supplanted Beth Gutschenritter who played at Northwest from 2003-2006 and needed all four years to set both records.
"Tori, she's a goal scorer," said Northwest Missouri State head coach Tracy Hoza. "She'll find ways to get the ball in the back of the net and that's her job. That's what she's here to do. It's good that she has it. Now, we can continue on and focus on what she's going to do with the team from here on out and getting us more goals."
In Northwest's first 10 matches, Von Mende has scored seven goals—tied for third-most in the MIAA.
Beginning with Friday's road match against Emporia State, Von Mende will have at least seven more opportunities to break Northwest's single-season record of 11 that both she and Tammi Eiberger set last year.
Recruited as a setter out of national high school power Lenexa (Kan.) St. James, Northwest Missouri State's 5-10 freshman Dallas Gardner has quickly developed into one of team's best all-around players.
Gardner's versatility was on full display Friday during Northwest Missouri State's 3-2 home win over Southwest Baptist.
Playing in every rotation, Gardner posted her first career triple-double and first by a Bearcat this season with 13 kills, 11 digs and a team-high 34 assists. Gardner's kill total was the second highest on the team and her .500 hitting percentage was easily the best.
"I think the thing that helps the most is she played at a high level in high school and in club," said Northwest Missouri State head coach Amy Phelps. "High level players take the very small things that opponents give them and they attack. Because she's played at such a high level, she recognizes those small things. She's not the the most powerful hitter. She's very accurate with what she does. You're not going to see her go up and take a swing you see Brooke (Bartosh) or Abby (Graves) take. You're going to see her go up and be smooth."
A regular when it comes to double-doubles, Gardner has started 14 of 15 matches for Northwest this year, taking over the spot held by all-conference setter Laira Akin last year.
Gardner is far-and-away the team's assist leader with 365 and her powerful jump serve has produced a team-high 25 service aces.
Hitting-wise, she ranks third on the team behind Graves and Bartosh with 84 kills.
Page 2 of 2 - That's more than either of Northwest's two starting middles, Whitney Mason and Mackie Keller.
"She's emerging as one of the go-to's for us that can provide stability and consistency on offense," said Phelps.
Northwest Missouri State concludes its fall schedule with its first and only home meet Thursday and Friday at Mozingo Lake Golf Course.
The Bearcat Fall Classic will include nine schools, several of which are in the MIAA.
Northwest has finished fifth or better at each of its first four tournaments of the fall, including a pair of first place showings at Graceland and Ottawa.
The Bearcats took second at their fall home meet last year behind Missouri Western.