Jayhawk Insider: OT win highlights fast start to 2018 for McClure, Jayhawks
By Nathan Traxler
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Late-game heroics from Katie McClure, continued the Jayhawks’ strong season-opening surge, leading a late comeback and double overtime victory over the Utah Utes to remain unbeaten in the young 2018 campaign.
With the victory at Rock Chalk Park on Friday night, No. 19 Kansas improved to 4-0-1 on the season, and capped another impressive August, which has become a common trend for KU teams in recent years. The win move KU to 30-7-3 in the month of August since 2008, with the Jayhawks enjoying another unbeaten August this season with much thanks to the late-game heroics of McClure Friday night and the first five outings of the season.
“She came out today and was dangerous,” said head coach Mark Francis. “She’s playing really well right now and hopefully she’ll continue to do that.”
McClure notched her fifth goal of the season Friday night, leading the team and tying her for the Big 12 lead. But according to the junior forward, only one thing was on the minds of the Jayhawks after going down a goal with just a minute to play in regulation.
“Our team is resilient and that’s one of our core values,” McClure explained following the win. “We knew we had it and we didn’t give it up.”
Less than a minute after conceding the game’s opening goal, a header off an attempted goalkeeper clearance, the Jayhawks would rally back and led by McClure, equalize the game and send it to overtime.
“The mentality of this group is unbelievable,” Francis said. “With four minutes to go, especially giving up the goal the way we did, a lot of teams would have been like, ‘Oh my gosh’ and give up. But that’s not this group.”
The Jayhawks’ resiliency showed up again with less than four minutes to go in the second overtime period, with McClure once again taking center stage. Her fifth goal of the year and the first golden goal of her career was made possible by a pinpoint feed from sophomore Ceri Holland, who connected with McClure at the corner of the six-yard box before she sent in the game-winner just inside the far post. The goal immediately gave the Jayhawks the win and ignited a memorable on-field celebration. Kansas was still unbeaten.
“Our team is resilient and that’s one of our core values,” McClure concluded. “We knew we had it and we wanted to go for it, so we took advantage of.”
The win highlighted what has been a fabulous start for the Crimson and Blue, out to its best start to a season in four years. After their first five outings of 2018, the Jayhawks’ are boasting stats the put them near top of the Big 12 and the NCAA. This is something KU will hope to continue over the month of September, with its schedule only set to get more difficult. Two more matches are on tap against top-25 squads in non-conference play as well as three contests set on the road. This all prior the KU kicking off conference play against Oklahoma on Sept. 21. The Big 12 is once again looking to be one of the nation’s toughest conferences with eight of its 10 teams ranked our receiving votes in this week’s United Soccer Coaches’ top-25 poll.
Another stern test awaits the Jayhawks this weekend when they take on their second top-25 team of the season. The No. 25 Butler Bulldogs come to Rock Chalk Park for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, Sept. 2. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.
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