Fletcher Nets Game-Winning Goal as Jayhawks Down USC 3-2
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Freshman Jamie Fletcher’s goal in the 62nd minute proved to the be the game-winner as the Kansas soccer team held on to defeat USC 3-2 Friday night in the opening game of the USD Tournament. KU junior Whitney Berry also had a big night collecting a goal and two assists.
With the win, the Jayhawks improved to 2-1 overall, while the preseason nationally-ranked Trojans fell to 0-3.
During the first 45 minutes, USC held a 10-5 shot advantage but coming out after the break with the score tied 2-2, both teams focused on defense as they combined for just nine shots in the second half.
Facing a tougher time offensively, Fletcher was able to take advantage of one of KU’s five shots in the second half finishing a pass from Berry in the 62nd minute. The goal gave the Jayhawks a 3-2 advantage, which they were able to preserve through the final 28 minutes. It marked Fletcher’s fourth goal and second game-winner this year.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, USC nearly tied the match with a breakaway. Facing a one-on-one situation, KU goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau charged off her line and made a diving stop. Following a corner kick off the save, Liebetrau made another great stop on a header in front of the goal. For the game, Liebetrau made six saves as she improved to 1-1 in the goal.
Berry led the KU offense with five shots during the contest, including four on goal. Fletcher chipped in with three shots.
After an early USC goal during the fourth minute on a cross in front of the goal, sophomore Amy Grow helped the Jayhawks get even in the 15th minute. Following a USC foul from about 25 yards away from its own goal, Grow took the free kick and sent a high shot over the defense that hit the bottom side of the crossbar and bounced into the goal for her second score of the season.
The Jayhawks nearly took the lead in the 27th minute when freshman Liana Salazar hit a wide open Berry with a pass at the top of the box. Berry launched a shot but it hit the crossbar and bounced out of bounds. She soon made up for the missed opportunity however. The midfielder sent a corner kick into the box where eventually freshman Ingrid Vidal collected the loose ball on the near side. Vidal took her time while Berry made her way back onto the field and then hit her with a short pass. Berry made a touch on the ball then fired a shot to the opposite corner from 15 yards to record her first goal of the year during the 37th minute.
The advantage did not last long as less than four minutes later USC won a free kick just outside the box. Trojan Brittany Kerridge shot the ball directly over a wall of KU defenders and into the upper left corner just out of Liebetrau’s reach to knot the score, 2-2, in the first half.
KU will wrap up the weekend tournament when it faces host San Diego Sunday, Aug. 28 at 1:30 p.m. CST. Live stats for the match will be available at www.KUAthletics.com.