Kansas Falls in Penalty Kicks to Texas A&M
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Despite taking the No. 2 seed Texas A&M Aggies to penalty kicks, the No. 7 seed Kansas Jayhawks fell just shy of pulling off the upset in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship on Wednesday night at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
With the match tied 3-3 after two overtime periods, TAMU edged KU 5-3 in penalty kicks to advance to the championship semifinal, while knocking the Jayhawks out of the tournament.
The game will go down as one of the more exciting games in Big 12 Championship history as both teams went toe-to-toe. Unfortunately, only one team could advance. With the tie, Kansas moved its record to 11-8-1 on the year, while Texas A&M became 13-5-2.
Just when it looked like Texas A&M was going home with a win in regulation, the Jayhawks pulled off a dramatic game-tying goal. With three seconds remaining sophomore Caroline Kastor sent a diving header into the net off an assist from freshman Ingrid Vidal to tie the game at 3-3 and sending the game into overtime.
After both teams made their first three penalty kicks, A&M’s goal keeper Jordan Day made a diving stop on Vidal’s attempt. Trailing 4-3, the Aggies sent Merritt Mathias to the box and to seal the win.
Mathias sent her kick high into the back of the net over a diving attempt from freshman goal keeper Kaitlyn Stroud to give Texas A&M a 5-3 win.
Neither team could get anything going in the first or second overtime as the game headed to penalty kicks. Texas A&M had a good look at a game-winning goal from Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Kelley Monogue, but Stroud made a great save to punch out of the box.
After both teams spent a majority of the first half feeling each other out, the Jayhawks finally broke the scoreless tie.
Junior Whitney Berry received a pass from Shelby Williamson and Berry was able to beat two Aggie defenders at the top of the penalty box. Berry was then able to send her kick high into the back left corner, after it ricocheted off the crossbar, of the net giving KU a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.
The goal for Berry was her eighth of the season and 17th of her career. She now has 58 career points as she moves closer to passing Rachel Gilfillan for third all-time in Kansas soccer history.
Coming into tonight’s match the Jayhawks were being outshot 69-59 on goal, but the Jayhawks managed to take a 3-1 advantage, in that category, into halftime over the Aggies.
In the second half, Texas A&M had a great look to even the score after KU committed a handball penalty inside the penalty box, and the Aggies would send their best offensive player, Monogue, to attempt the penalty kick.
However, it would be Stroud who would come up with a huge save. Stroud made a fantastic diving save to her left to shut down the 2011 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year on the PK.
Texas A&M picked up the pace in the second half, but the Jayhawks would not back down to the higher seeded Aggies. Stroud would continue her solid goal-keeping as she denied the Aggies on two more occasions within a five minute span.
With 25 minutes remaining the weather became a major factor as the wind started gusting and a light rain fell for a brief span, but neither team would let it slow them down.
In the 73rd minute, Kansas was able to strike through the weather as Berry sent a long pass down the left sideline to freshman Jamie Fletcher, who then sent a pass across the box to fellow-freshman Liana Salazar, who would find the back of the net, giving KU a 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M would not be fazed by a 2-0 deficit as the Aggies scored three goals in a span of just under five minutes late in the second half to take a 3-2 lead, showing why they are one of the top teams in the Big 12. The first two goals came only 1:12 apart the Aggies caught KU offguard.
Kansas awaits to see if they will receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.