Golden Goal lifts No. 24 Kansas past Sooners in 2OT, 2-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With just 53 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, junior forward Katie McClure knocked in the game-winner to help the No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks top the Oklahoma Sooners, 2-1, Friday night inside Rock Chalk Park. The golden goal was the second of the season for McClure and capped a Kansas comeback that saw the Jayhawks rebound from a 1-0 first-half deficit.
The victory improved Kansas to 7-1-2 on the year and made it one of four Big 12 squads to open league play with a win. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s record dropped to 4-5-1 in 2018 and 0-1-0 to start its Big 12 slate.
On a night when the Rock Chalk Park was packed in west Lawrence with boisterous Jayhawk fans galore, a raucous pep band and fireworks, it was the Sooners who quickly grabbed the momentum. Oklahoma’s Kaylee Dao headed in her team’s lone score of the evening, her fifth of the season, in the 17th minute of action. The redshirt-junior midfielder out of Tulsa knocked the ball in with a diving header on a cross from Marissa McMahand. After 45 minutes of play, the Sooner goal sent Kansas to the halftime locker room with a deficit for just the second time this season.
It took KU just 15 minutes into the second frame to pull even, with junior defender Elisa Reina tallying her second goal of 2018. The Fayetteville, Arkansas native was in the right place at the right time, knocking in a rebound after KU teammate Miriam Melugin’s shot forced Oklahoma goalkeeper, McKinley Crone into a diving save. Reina’s goal knotted up the match at 1-1, still with 30 minutes to play in regulation.
After 90 minutes, the score was still even at 1-1, sending the match into KU’s fourth overtime of the season. Neither side was able to manage any dangerous attacks, that is until the final minute of the second overtime, when McClure found space inside the Oklahoma six-yard box.
With the clock reading 109:07 on just moments before the night was to end in a draw, Eva Eliasdottir played an in-swinging cross into the heart of the Sooner penalty area. The service was flicked on by the head of Miriam Melugin and straight to the chest of McClure. The Jayhawks’ leading goal-scorer took one touch, turned and sent it past Crone to give her team the sudden victory. It was the Wichita, Kansas native’s sixth goal of the season, and her first goal after three-straight scoreless matches.
KU closed the night outshooting the Sooners 19-9, which included a 13-7 advantage in the second half and overtime. Jayhawk goalkeeper Sarah Peters ended the evening with four saves, tying for her most of the season.
Head Coach Mark Francis
On the Jayhawks’ creating chances:
“We felt like we were crossing the ball in the air in the first half closest to the end line and putting it in the air. They are really good at that. We really were not getting a lot of productivity out of that. A lot of our chances in the second half came from us driving the ball into the box.”
On Kansas’ mentality against a tough Oklahoma team:
“Yeah it was great. Oklahoma played really great. They battled hard and defended and they’re very good in the back especially in the air. The difference in the game today was our ability switch the ball where we attacked from the wide areas.”
On his reaction to the game-winner:
“I was jumping around like a lunatic. It was exciting. I would have less grey hairs if we had won it in regulation, but this group has done it so many times this season where we have come from behind and won in overtime. Our core value is resilience and I think this group epitomizes that. Going down and we did not do the things we’ve been working on well and the girls did a great job at applying our adjustments we talked about during halftime.”
Junior forward Katie McClure
On the team’s never-say-die attitude:
“Our team doesn’t know the word ‘quit’. We’ve had many overtime wins and come-from-behind wins, so I think this team never quits. To have a team like this win in the conference opener means a lot because we know exactly what we want and what we’re headed for.”
On the mentality of the team during these come from behind wins:
“We don’t quit. We don’t shut off. We don’t care if it’s 2-0 behind. We don’t care if we’re 3-0 behind. We know we are doing it for each other. We have a motto ‘who do you play for.’ That stands out for us a lot this year. We are playing for everybody, not just the people on the team, the people on the bench or the coaches, but our fans. The stadium has been incredible. Our mentality has been unbelievable.”
Junior defender Elise Reina
On the win to open league play:
“It was great. We want to win every home game here. We’re still undefeated here. We’re tenacious and coach says it, it was our first conference win and we want to get another on Sunday.”
- Friday night’s match at Rock Chalk Park was the Jayhawks and Sooners’ 24th meeting on the pitch. With the double-overtime victory, Kansas now leads the series 13-9-2.
- Now in its 23rd season of play, the Kansas soccer program is 9-12-2 in conference openers and 13-6-1 in Big 12 home openers with Friday night’s win. This is the eighth time in head coach Mark Francis’ 20 years at the helm of the program that his squad has opened league play with a victory.
- With Friday’s win over Oklahoma, Kansas remains perfect when playing on its home pitch. The Jayhawks are now 6-0-0 in their first six outings at Rock Chalk Park in the 2018 season. The last time Kansas notched more than six victories on its home pitch was 2014, when KU went 10-3-0 at Rock Chalk Park.
- In the 58th minute of play, sophomore Ceri Holland was assessed her first yellow card of the season. It was the Jayhawks’ fourth card of the 2018 season as a team (4 yellow, 0 red).
- KU head coach Mark Francis has amassed a record of 214-158-33 at the helm of the Jayhawks. He is just three wins shy of hitting the 250-win plateau, as he is 247-183-34 in his 23rd season overall.
- The double-overtime win marked the first time Kansas has notched a pair of overtime victories in a single season since 2015. The year KU tallied a 2-1 win at Arkansas in the first overtime and a double OT win over Baylor, 1-0.
In its second league match of the season, Kansas will host the defending Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma State on Sunday, Sept. 23. The contest will be KU’s annual Jayhawks for a Cure match and is slated to begin at 1 p.m. on ESPN+.
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