Freshmen Come Up Big in KU Soccer's 2-1 Victory Over South Dakota State

Van Slambrouck Postgame Video Interview

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Freshman Liana Salazar couldn’t have timed her first collegiate goal any better as the midfielder collected a score in the 81st minute to lift the Kansas soccer team past South Dakota State 2-1 in Sunday’s contest. Fellow freshman Ingrid Vidal tallied the Jayhawks’ first goal, also in the second half.

The win is KU’s fifth-straight as it improved to 5-1 overall. SDSU fell to 2-4 with the loss.

Despite a slow start in the first half in which Kansas trailed 1-0, the Jayhawks came out stronger in the last 45 minutes and took advantage of the wind at its back as it doubled its shot total with 10 attempts during the second half.

Vidal finally found the back of the net for Kansas during the 73rd minute on a pass from junior Whitney Berry. Vidal collected the ball and then turned and shot from 12 yards out to the upper far right corner. It marked the forward’s fourth goal of the season, all within the last three games. Berry now has an assist in five of the team’s six games so far this season.

Kansas kept the intensity up dominating the offensive end during the second half. The Jayhawks’ efforts again paid off as Salazar scored in the 81st minute from inside the box. After getting a pass from freshman Caroline Van Slambrouck, Salazar used some of her fancy footwork to get around two defenders before getting a shot off from about 10 yards out. Her shot went low to the far left corner for the midfielder’s first goal in a Kansas uniform. It also marked Van Slambrouck’s first point of her career.

KU’s goalkeepers have come up with big plays all season and Sunday’s contest was no exception. Redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Stroud played all 90 minutes of the game between the posts and made six saves as she improved to 3-0. One of Stroud’s biggest plays of the day came with just two minutes remaining in the contest. South Dakota State’s Cori Bonte broke away from the KU defense and found herself one-on-one with Stroud. Bonte fired a shot from just feet away from Stroud but the KU goalie’s quick reflexes snagged the ball to prevent the impending game-tying score.

“You have to give credit to South Dakota State. They played a really good game. They played very physical and I thought they competed really well,” said head coach Mark Francis (watch complete interview here). “I thought today we were out-muscled off the ball. I thought we played ok in the first half, we had some good chances but the second half was a lot better. We have to come out a little bit better at the beginning of the game.”

The Jackrabbits tallied their lone goal in the 25th minute. SDSU midfielder Christa Nyblom hit the ball into the box but the Kansas defense misdirected the ball into its own goal to give SDSU a 1-0 lead in the first half.

KU is back on the road next weekend, Sept. 9-11, for the Boilermaker Challenge in West Lafayette, Ind. Friday the Jayhawks face Dayton at 4 p.m. On Sunday, Kansas will take on either host Purdue or Cal State Northridge at 10 a.m.