No. 10 Aggies Edge Kansas Soccer, 1-0, in Friday Big 12 Match
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer held the nation’s 17th-best offense to just one goal Friday afternoon at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. But the Jayhawks were edged by the lone goal, falling 1-0 to No. 10 Texas A&M.
The Jayhawks (4-7-0, 0-3-0 Big 12) were led by Whitney Berry’s six shots, one of which was on target. Berry nearly netted the equalizer late in the second half, but saw her shot narrowly deflected off the right post.
Emily Cressy made the most of her two opportunities Friday, with both of her shots on goal. Madi Hillis and Kortney Clifton also each finished with a pair of shots. On defense, goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau, the Big 12’s save leader, collected nine, while facing 27 shots. The defense was also able to hold two of the conference’s top offensive players, Merritt Mathias and Rachel Shipley, scoreless.
“We battled. We really stayed consistent today for the 90 minutes of battling and we never backed off,” said associate head coach Kelly Miller. “We made a mistake early and gave up a goal, but we certainly created chances.”
The Aggies (9-3-0, 2-1-0 Big 12) came into Friday’s contest averaging nearly a hat trick each game. But after allowing an early Alyssa Mautz goal, the Jayhawks got back on track.
The Aggies only other solid scoring opportunity came in the 25th minute, just four minutes after Mautz scored. Whitney Hooper tried to aim low and cross a ball past Liebetrau into the left corner, but Liebetrau made a diving deflection.
In the second half, the Jayhawks pressed hard, forcing A&M to take off-target shots and foiling several attempts near the goal. Liebetrau saved all four on-goal shots to close out the game.
“We were able to break them down,” Miller said. “We can play. When we are composed and we play quick we are a good soccer team.”
In the 76th minute, Berry blasted a ball toward the goal from more than 30 yards out, catching the far post just enough for the ball to deflect back into the box. With the box clear of Aggies, Clifton picked up the loose ball before Dyer could get to it. But Clifton’s shot went just inches too far to the right, and the 1-0 score held up for the Texas A&M win.
“We just weren’t clean in the final third,” Miller said. “Our shooting and finishing wasn’t great. Our final ball wasn’t as good as it needed to be. But getting those chances and being able to break down a high caliber team like that is good for us.”
KU’s weekend series continues Sunday, with Texas. The Longhorns come into the contest unranked but receiving votes. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m., at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.