Kansas Knocks Off No. 20 Missouri, Closes in on Big 12 Championship Berth

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Emily Cressy scored two goals, while senior Monica Dolinsky added her team-leading eighth assist of the season as Kansas wrapped up the 2009 regular season with a 3-2 victory over No. 20 Missouri on a windy Friday afternoon at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

The Jayhawks improve to 12-7-1 overall and 4-6 in the Big 12 Conference, while the Tigers drop to 12-5-3 overall and 7-1-2 in league play. The loss was the first since Sept. 20 for Missouri.

Kansas’ win, coupled with Texas Tech’s (3-4-3) loss to Colorado Friday, moves the Jayhawks into a seventh-place tie with the Red Raiders for the moment. However, KU could finish anywhere between seventh and ninth-place by the end of the night, pending the result of the Baylor-Oklahoma match this evening.

On Friday, Kansas played like a championship team, becoming the only Big 12 team to defeat the Tigers during the regular season.

After falling behind in the first minute of play, the Jayhawks rallied for three unanswered goals, including two by Cressy.

In the 23rd minute, Dolinsky played a through-ball to Cressy up the middle of the field, where the sophomore chipped a shot low to the near corner of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

Just over 15 minutes later, freshman Shelby Williamson found the back of the net to give KU its first lead of the day. After taking a pass from fellow freshman Sarah Robbins, Williamson found space in the middle of the field. She made a move around a defender at the top of the box and touched a shot in with her left foot at 37:29. It was the freshman’s seventh goal of the season.

KU took a 3-1 lead midway through the second half as Cressy recovered a loose ball in the middle of the box following a free kick by KU’s Estelle Johnson. The sophomore forward fired home a shot from 12 yards out into the far side of the net at 76:51. The goal was Cressy’s 11th of the season, the most by a Jayhawk since Caroline Smith tallied 11 goals in 2004.

Missouri brought the deficit back to one just under six minutes later as Michelle Collins finished a rebound in the 83rd minute for her seventh goal of the season.

However, KU’s defense clamped down the final seven minutes, allowing just two shots, which both missed the net.

Freshman goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau made three saves in the contest, including a point blank stop on Michelle Pfeiffer in the 78th minute.

Missouri outshot the Jayhawks, 16-14, including 10-8 in the second half. Both teams played a physical game, combining for 31 fouls and five yellow cards.

The win is KU’s fifth-straight over the Tigers at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. Mizzou hasn’t won in Lawrence since 1996.

The Jayhawks also honored its five member senior class as Kim Boyer, Monica Dolinsky, Julie Hanley, Estelle Johnson and Shannon McCabe were all recognized with a short ceremony following the match.

Kansas will await its postseason fate this evening. The first round of the Big 12 Soccer Championship begins at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the Blossom Soccer Complex in San Antonio, Texas.

Postgame Quotes
Kansas 3, No. 20 Missouri 2
Oct. 30, 2009

Kansas Head Coach Mark Francis:
On the win over Missouri:
“I’m really proud of the kids today. Missouri is a very tough team to play. We knew it would be a battle today, it always is against them. I said to our kids that we have to win the fight. If we don’t win the fight, you don’t have a chance against them. I thought we scraped and challenged for balls in the air, made tackles. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be pretty. Sometimes you just have to get the job done.”

On defending the Tigers:
“(Goalkeeper) Kat (Liebetrau) really came up with some big saves for us today, and I thought defensively we played really well. They (Missouri) is the highest scoring team in the conference, and after the way we started, giving up a goal in the first minute, we came back and kept our composure.”

On how physical the game was:
“That’s how Missouri plays. They’re very good at it. They don’t give you an inch, whatever you get, you’re going to have to take from them. You know with them, they’re never going to back off. Collectively, this was a great win.”

Kansas Sophomore Forward Emily Cressy:
On beating Missouri:
“I think it was revenge. We wanted revenge after last year (a 6-0 Missouri win), it was kind of embarrassing. We came out and proved that we could beat the best team (in the Big 12).”

On bouncing back after the first goal:
“I think we kind of dropped back at first, but we kept encouraging each other and it paid off.”

On her second goal:
“It was an amazing goal. It was probably one of the best goals I’ve scored in my entire life. It was just right there, and I finished it.”

Kansas Senior Defender Estelle Johnson:
On beating Missouri on Senior Day:
“It’s awesome. I think a lot of people didn’t think we could do it, but it’s nice to prove them wrong. It’s always good to win on Senior Day, and against Missouri. I think these are the types of games that you play for. These are the games that you remember forever.”

On the feeling after giving up the first goal:
“I think at first we asked ourselves ‘Did that really just happen?’ But then once we settled down and started playing, we knew we could come back on them.”