McClure’s Hat Trick Propels Kansas into Sweet 16
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior Katie McClure found the back of the net three times in helping the No. 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks to a 3-0 victory over the Xavier Musketeers Friday afternoon inside Stone Stadium. McClure became the first Kansas player to tally a hat trick in NCAA Tournament play, as the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history.
The victory moved Kansas to 17-4-3 on the year and marked the Jayhawks’ 11th-consecutive unbeaten result. Xavier’s season ended with a 17-4-2 mark.
The Jayhawks waisted little time in getting the early advantage on the scoreboard, as the all-league forward, McClure, needed less than five minutes to net the match’s first goal. KU played a long ball forward, which the senior was able to run onto and beat the final Xavier defender to the Musketeer end line. McClure took the bad-angle shoot and put it into the side netting for her 15th goal of the season.
Less than 15 minutes later, the Wichita product struck again to hand her team a 2-0 edge. McClure and junior Mandi Duggan played executed a give-and-go that gave the senior an opening which she converted to collect her fourth multi-goal performance of the season.
After taking the 2-0 lead into the halftime locker room, Kansas again took advantage of the early minutes of the half, once again off the foot of McClure. She sent in a close-quarters shot from inside the six-yard box that the Xavier keeper was able to save, However the rebound bounced back to McClure, who redirected into the back of the net.
McClure’s performance marked her second three-goal outing of the season and the first by a Jayhawk in NCAA Tournament play and her second of the season.
From there, the Jayhawk defense clamped down to assure Xavier would not mount a heroic second-half comeback. Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Peters collected eight saves on the day, six of which came in the final 45 minutes of play, as she and the KU backline earned their 12th shutout of the season.
Kansas ended the day with a slight edge on the shot chart at 15-14, and put 10 of those 15 shots on target.
The win put KU in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in program history and the first time since 2003.
Kansas will meet the No. 2 seed South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday, Nov. 24 in the third round match set for 1 p.m. (CT). The contest at Stone Stadium will be streamed on SEC Network+ and ESPN3.
Head coach Mark Francis, Katie McClure and Sarah Peters recap KU’s second-round win