Jayhawks Celebrate Senior Day in Style, 5-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Nicole Chrisopulos tallied a goal and an assist, while junior Jamie Fletcher added a pair of assists as Kansas soccer celebrated Senior Day with a 5-0 triumph over Northern Colorado in the regular season finale at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex Friday afternoon.
The Jayhawks move to 10-7-2 overall and await results later tonight to find out who they will face in the first round of the Big 12 Soccer Championship Wednesday in San Antonio, Texas. At 3-5 in the Big 12, KU could finish fifth, sixth or seventh in the final league standings.
On Friday, the Jayhawks dominated throughout the match, but didn’t get on the scoreboard until Whitney Berry’s breakaway goal in the 61st minute, which started an avalanche for the KU offense.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” Kansas head coach Mark Francis said. “We just started to figure some things out in the second half. I thought we were a little more clinical around the goal.”
Berry’s goal, her sixth of the season, was the first of four goals in a seven-minute span during the second half for Kansas. The senior from Wichita, Kan., moved into second place on KU’s all-time scoring list with 78 career points.
Just three minutes after Berry’s goal gave KU a 1-0 lead, Fletcher carried a ball deep into Northern Colorado territory and fired a bad-angle cross that freshman Ashley Williams redirected in for her eighth goal of the season.
Chrisopulos added her second career goal just three minutes later, collecting her own rebound after a diving save by NC goalkeeper Natalie D’Adamio, while Caroline Kastor scored her team-best 11th goal of the season just 38 seconds after Chrisopulos’ score.
Freshman Ali Kimura rounded out the scoring with her first career goal in the 88th minute on a beautifully set up play by Chrisopulos and sophomore Kelsey Lyden. KU’s five second-half goals tied a school record, which was set in 2008 when the Jayhawks scored five times in the second half against Francis Marion.
KU’s defensive unit, which included senior goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau and defenders Cassie Dickerson and Shelby Williamson, earned its fourth shutout of the season. After allowing 46 goals a year ago, KU’s defense held its opponents to just 21 goals in 19 matches this year.
Kansas held a 23-5 advantage in shots over the Bears as well as a 10-1 edge in shots on goal. Berry led a balanced attack with four shots, while four other players had three shots each.
Following the match, KU honored its seven-member senior class with a ceremony at the middle of the field. The class of Berry, Chrisopulos, Dickerson, Amy Grow, Liebetrau, Sarah Robbins and Williamson all played what will likely be their final home match as Jayhawks.
“I told the team before the game that today was all about the seniors,” Francis said. “We wanted to honor them and then wanted to come out and play well to get some momentum heading into the tournament.”
KU will open the Big 12 Championship on Wednesday at the Blossom Soccer Complex in San Antonio, Texas. Game time and opponent will be announced later this evening.
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