By Molly Hulsey
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Michelle Makasini knew she'd finally found where she belonged.
In January of her junior year, Makasini, a starting midfielder at LSU, applied for and received a release to transfer to another Division I school. After three years in Louisiana, she knew she needed a change. Makasini chose the University of Missouri almost immediately when she first visited the school.
"I just wasn't happy with soccer at (LSU) anymore. When I came on my visit here, just right away I said, 'Mom, I want to come here,'" Makasini said. "The coaching staff and the girls showed me a really good time, and I loved the fact that they were like a family and were really big on that aspect."
Missouri coach Bryan Blitz, who had recruited Makasini three years earlier as a high school senior, was happy to receive an email from her expressing her interest in playing at Mizzou."
"It was a pleasant, surprising email," Blitz said. "I think she brings a certain level of skill and experience. She fills a need that we have in the center part of the midfield for skillful playing, good decisions, and scoring a lot of goals."
Makasini is no stranger to a high level of competition. The Euless, Texas native was a standout midfielder for the nationally-ranked Dallas Texans club soccer team in high school, as well as serving as her team captain at Colleyville Heritage High School. Makasini credits that experience with her smooth transition to the intensity of college soccer.
As a freshman at LSU, Makasini was an integral part of a young team that carried LSU to new heights. She was named to the SEC All-Freshman team, received SEC Freshman of the Week honors a league-leading four times and scored an LSU freshman-record 29 points. In her sophomore season, Makasini helped lead the team to its first ever SEC Western Division championship and LSU's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
"That was awesome," Makasini said. "It was really cool because we kind of started the program over. There were 12 girls in my class and there was a new coaching staff, and it was fun to make new records. It felt really good."
After her junior season, Makasini began looking into other schools. While she has a lot of respect for LSU and her teammates, she says she felt something was lacking - something that she found immediately with her teammates at Mizzou.
"If you're down one day, you know your teammates are there to pick you up," she said. "Here everyone's so close, which I really like."
Makasini's senior season has started well. As a reserve she has contributed two goals and two assists and has had an active role in all ten of Mizzou's games. Blitz says she has fit in with the team surprisingly quickly and he commends her dedication.
"She had options to go other places, and she knew we were returning about 80 percent of our team on the attacking side, but she was really in for the challenge," Blitz said. "She could have gone somewhere else and been promised a starting spot, but she still chose to come here instead of taking the easy way."
Initially ranked No. 10 in the nation, Mizzou has fallen in the rankings after four non-conference losses. However, the Tigers started 1-0 in Big 12 Conference play.
"Rankings really don't even matter at all," Makasini said. "We've had a hard schedule, but even though we lost we wouldn't change that. We've learned from our losses and really gotten better as a team."