Soccer Falls 4-1 to Missouri in Big 12 Opener

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Kansas soccer jumped on the board early Friday night in Columbia, Mo., but the lead would not hold, as Missouri’s big second half led the Tigers past KU, 4-1, in the Border Showdown.

In front of a crowd of 3,116 at Walton Stadium, Missouri (3-4-2 overall, 1-0 Big 12) put up a three-goal second half that proved too much for KU (4-5 overall, 0-1 Big 12) to overcome in the 2010 Big 12 opener.

Kortney Clifton led Kansas with three shots and Kaitlyn Cunningham had two and scored KU’s only goal. Kat Liebetrau collected nine saves to push her Big 12 lead to 60.

The Jayhawks got off to a strong start under the lights, with a goal in the fifth minute by Cunningham. Kelsey Clifton gave Cunningham a long pass from the left side, and the senior forward knocked it in from the corner of the box for her second goal of the season.

Cunningham nearly had another a minute later when she shot a ball just a few inches high of the crossbar.

But Kendra Collins came back with the equalizer in the 15th minute, off a deep shot to the back of the net. Kortney Clifton tried to tie the game in KU’s next possession but her shot hit the crossbar.

Mizzou quickly took over offensively after Collins scored, pounding Kansas’ defense with shots. The Tigers were fairly accurate, with several shots on target, but Liebetrau was just as accurate, making a series of acrobatic saves to keep the game tied 1-1 going into the intermission.

The Missouri offense continued to control the game in the second half, and Krista Kruse broke through with a goal from short range early on, putting the Jayhawks down by one.

Kortney and Whitney Berry made a handful of runs for KU in the second half, but couldn’t put the ball in the net. The Jayhawks struggled to make another run, and the Tigers went on to score two more.

KU will continue Big 12 play Sunday, when the Jayhawks travel to Iowa State. The Jayhawks will square off at 1 p.m., in Ames, Iowa.