Freshman Firepower Leads No. 20 KU Past UAB

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Freshmen forwards Kortney Clifton and Emily Cressy scored two goals each, while Jessica Bush recorded a pair of assists as 20th-ranked Kansas overcame an early hole for a 5-2 victory over UAB Friday evening at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

The Jayhawks improve to 3-0, their best start since winning six in a row to open the 2004 season. The Blazers drop to 0-4.

Clifton and Cressy proved to be simply too much for UAB to handle. The pair became the first Kansas duo to record multi-goal games in the same contest since Monica Dolinsky and Jessica Bush turned the trick against Missouri on Oct. 15, 2006.

However, it was the Blazers who took an early lead. Just three minutes in, UAB’s Ayana Russell got loose deep in the Kansas zone and found Laura McCalla with a cross in the box to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead. It marked the first time that the Jayhawks have trailed this season.

The Blazers’ lead didn’t last very long. Just under four minutes later, the Jayhawks tied the score when UAB was called for a hand ball in the box. Junior Monica Dolinsky buried a penalty kick into the far corner to knot the score at one.

Thirty-one seconds later, KU took the lead when Clifton headed in a Bush cross from the near side of the field. It was the freshman’s first collegiate goal, and marked the fastest consecutive scoring plays for the Jayhawks since Lindsay Horner and Carmel Kaplinger scored 15 seconds apart against Iowa State in 2000.

Still in the first half, Kansas was called for a foul in the box and Danya Barsalona tied the score again with a penalty kick.

In the 19th minute, Cressy recorded her second game-winning goal in a row, when she took a feed from Bush and blasted it past the keeper on the near corner. It gave the Jayhawks a 3-2 lead and ended a five-goal flurry for the first 19 minutes of action.

Following the Cressy goal, KU took control of the game, allowing just one more shot to reach goalkeeper Julie Hanley. The Jayhawks outshot the visiting Blazers, 10-5 over the final 70 minutes of action.

Cressy completed her first regular season multi-goal match in the 51st minute with another shot off a long pass chipped over the defense. In just three matches, the freshman has four goals and an assist.

Not to be outdone, Clifton scored on another play where she beat her defender to a long pass from Shannon McCabe. The five goals were the most scored by a KU team since 2004, when the Jayhawks defeated Texas Tech, 5-0.

The win is Kansas’ sixth-straight at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, dating back to the final three regular season matches of last year.

KU (3-0) will look to continue its winning ways when it travels to SMU for a 1 p.m. match against the Mustangs Sunday at Westcott Field.