⚽️ KU Finishes Non-Conference Play with 3-1 Win at USF

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the South Florida Bulls 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Corbett Stadium. Kansas earned its seventh win of the season, which matches its season win total from a year ago.

“I thought today was a gutsy performance by us,” Head Coach Mark Francis said. “The tank was not full today for anybody. It really took the bench and substitutions that we made to keep the energy level up. The kids did a great job executing the game plan.”

Kansas was able to capitalize on its opportunities Sunday. One of those opportunities came in the 32nd minute. Junior midfielder Avery Smith stole a pass and sent the ball ahead to freshman forward Lexi Watts. Watts was able to get behind the defense and shoot the ball over the USF goalkeeper to give KU a 1-0 lead. The goal was Watts’ second of the season and the assist was the first of the year for Smith. Kansas scored the first goal of the match for the ninth time in 10 games this season.

Less than three minutes into the second half, KU extended its lead to 2-0. Sophomore midfielder Raena Childers was able to control a bouncing ball and leave it for her sister, super-senior midfielder Rylan Childers just outside the box. Rylan shot the ball and snuck it inside the left post past the diving goalkeeper. Rylan now has a point in each of the last five games, the longest stretch of her KU career.

The third Kansas goal was scored by Smith. Sophomore forward Emma Beltz made a run that forced the goalkeeper to come out of the box. Once Beltz got behind the goalkeeper she crossed the ball over to Smith for a tap in score. Smith’s three points in the game were a career high.

“Sunday games are always a grind,” Smith said. “The team did a really good job grinding it out. It was important for us to get momentum going into Big 12 play next week. The goal is a big confidence booster for me personally and we’re excited for next week.”

USF was able to get on the board in the 84th minute when Emilie Lajmiri scored her first goal of the season. Kansas went on to close out the rest of the game and improve to 7-3 on the season, while USF fell to 3-6.

Kansas will begin conference play on Thursday night at Rock Chalk Park against Oklahoma State. The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. CT and be broadcast on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+ and the Jayhawk Sports Network. Fans can purchase KU Soccer tickets by contacting the Kansas ticket office at 785-864-3141 or by visiting the ticketing page here.