Hagan’s hat trick hoists No. 18 Jayhawks over Saint Louis, 3-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Despite being faced with an early 2-0 deficit, senior forward Grace Hagan’s first-career hat trick powered the No. 18 Kansas Jayhawks to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Saint Louis Billikens Friday night at Rock Chalk Park.
KU’s win kept the Jayhawks undefeated on the season, now at 6-0-2, while Saint Louis fell to 4-3-1 in its 2018 campaign.
The match began on a sour note for a Kansas team looking to extend the longest unbeaten streak in program history, now at nine matches. The Billikens quickly put the Jayhawks on their heels, finding the back of the KU net twice within a minute. SLU’s Alyssa Seitzer put the Billikens on the board with her fifth goal of the year in the 19th minute, before Hannah Friedrich followed with her fourth of the season in the 20th minute. The two goal deficit was KU’s largest of 2018.
The Billiken advantage was short-lived however as Hagan’s first goal of the season came just two minutes later, to cut KU’s deficit in half. Sophomore Ceri Holland played a free kick service to the heart of the Saint Louis box, where Hagan headed it home.
It only took 10 more minutes for the Jayhawks to knot up the score, once again with Hagan strike. The senior out of Wichita let loose a shoot from 20 yards out that deflected off a SLU defender and past Billiken goalkeeper Olivia Silverman.
After the intermission, Hagan struck again just over seven minutes into the second frame. Another feed from Holland set her up for a shot from the top of the SLU 18-yard box. Her attempt made it through the legs of Silverman and across the goal line to not only give the Jayhawks the lead, but give Hagan the first hat trick of her career.
The Jayhawks held off a handful of late SLU attacks to stay ahead for good, wrapping up the 3-2 win and remain unbeaten on the year. Hagan’s three-goal performance was the first hat trick by a Jayhawks since 2008 when Shannon McCabe netted three goals against Francis Marion.
Head Coach Mark Francis
On the Jayhawks’ comeback:
“I thought there was a lot of fight today to be able to come back so quickly after being down 2-0. I thought in the second half the kids were a lot better. A lot of credit to the girls for the character they showed today.”
On Hagan’s scoring output:
“She’s been doing everything else but scoring, and it was just a gradual process. Last game she led the team with eight shots against Cincinnati. It was really a matter of time. [It’s a] massive confidence boost for her, and she’ll score more goals for us this year for sure.”
Senior forward Grace Hagan
On her first goal of the season:
“I just needed one to get in the back of the net. I think I was feeling a little rusty; I don’t know what was going on. I’ve been working hard, and I was trying not to get frustrated. I knew it would come eventually, but I’m glad it could come on a night like this at home.”
On her third goal of the night:
“You just get a little lucky here and there. It was good for it to come on this night. Moving forward, hopefully we don’t need to use any more luck and just play to the best of our abilities.
- The Jayhawks’ 6-0-2 start ties the program record for the deepest into the season without a loss. In 2014, KU began the year at 8-0-0.
- The win extended KU’s current unbeaten streak to nine games. The streak dates back to last season, which ended with a 1-1 draw to TCU on Nov. 1.
- Senior forward Grace Hagan’s three goals moved her into eighth on KU’s all-time scoring list, now with 21 career goals.
- SLU’s two first-half goals marked the first time in KU’s last nine outings the Jayhawks allowed more than one opponent goal in the game.
- Hagan’s three goals marked the first time in her career she posted multiple goals in a game.
- The Wichita native’s hat trick was the first by a Jayhawk since Shannon McCabe’s in 2008 and marks the eighth hat trick overall in Kansas soccer history.
- The Jayhawks overcame their largest deficit of the season after being down 0-2 early in the first half.
The Jayhawks will travel to College Station, Texas, to duel No. 4 Texas A&M on Sunday, Sept. 16 at. The Aggies are perfect on the year at 9-0-0. The battle of the unbeaten to kickoff at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+.
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