Jayhawks blank Wildcats, 2-0
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Two first-half goals from a pair Kansas juniors lifted the Jayhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats in the second installment of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown Friday night at K-State Soccer Complex. Junior Katie McClure sent in her team-leading seventh goal of the year, while junior Taylor Christie added her fourth to give KU its first win over the in-state rivals in the two-year-old series.
The win boosted the Jayhawks’ record to 9-2-2 in 2018 and gave them a 3-1-0 mark in Big 12 play, moving Kansas into a three-way tie atop the league table with nine points. The Wildcats fell to 4-7-2 in their season and 0-4-0 in the conference.
Kansas hit the pitch in Manhattan looking to not only spoil K-State’s first chance to host the Sunflower Showdown, but also avenge the loss to the Wildcats in the series debut a year ago. The Jayhawks made sure to put their foot on the gas from the opening whistle, attacking early and often before McClure opened the scoring in the 22nd minute.
Eva Eliasdottir played a long pass to the junior out of Wichita, who used one touch with her back to the goal before spinning and beating the defender on a sprint to the goal. McClure shot the ball past the KSU keeper inside the far post to give her team the early advantage, 1-0.
It took just 12 more minutes for KU to extend its lead, this time at the hands of a miscue from Wildcat goalkeeper Emma Malsy. A pass into the KU box appeared as though it would be grabbed by the KSU keeper, however the ball came loose and Christie was there to still possession. The Overland Park native used some fancy dribbling to evade Malsy before sending in her fourth goal of the season into the side-netting with a swift, left-footed strike.
From there KU cruised to the win, keeping the KSU offense at bay with some stout defense and putting the Wildcat backline on its heels by continuing to attack the home side’s goal. Kansas ended the match with a 14-10 edge in shots, and a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.
Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters picked up her seventh shutout of the season with the help of a pair of saves.
Head Coach Mark Francis
On getting the win in the hostile environment:
It was a great crowd out here today. It’s always fun, even if they’re not your fans, to have people in the stands and it was a great atmosphere. I’m glad we got the win and, obviously, any win on the road in the Big 12 is good. I didn’t think today was our best game in terms of the way we played, but I think, to be fair, K-State probably had a lot to do with it. I thought they battled extremely hard today. I think you have to give their players and their staff a lot of credit and I think that threw us off a little bit.”
On gaining the momentum early in the match:
“We were way better in the first half, I thought, in terms of chances we created. Our rhythm was better and they were two really good goals. For us to win, last year we lost to these guys at our place and had a lot of shots and they didn’t have many and we lost so I said we need to be tuned in in those key moments, those game defining moments and I thought tonight we were in those two instances and that won us the game. Ceri Holland made an unbelievable challenge in the box when the keeper was wide open and she came in from nowhere. Plays like that help you win these kind of games.”
Junior forward Taylor Christie
On her goal:
“The keeper kind of just fumbled it and had kind of a bad angle, but I was able to get it in. Last year, I had a really good opportunity and I wasn’t able to make it, so this year I knew that I had to take advantage of any opportunity I had.”
Junior defender Addisyn Merrick
On the defense:
“Definitely coming into the game we talked about how we need to not let any goals in and for the first part of the season we did a really good job — we had a 360-minute shutout streak — so that was going well. We’ve had a lot of shutouts this season and that’s our focus, just keeping the ball out of the back of the net, because as long as we don’t get scored on, we have every chance to win every game.”
- With the 2-0 shutout against K-State, freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters notched her seventh shutout of the season, moving her into fourth all-time in the Kansas single-season record books.
- Senior forward Grace Hagan’s four shots move her to eighth on the Kansas career shots list. Hagan has now tallied 157 shots in her career.
- The Jayhawks 2-0 victory at the K-State Soccer Complex marks the first game Kansas has played against the Wildcats in Manhattan and its first true road victory this season.
- KU’s 14 shots against the Wildcats are the fewest shots by the Jayhawks in Big 12 play.
The Jayhawks will return to Lawrence for the final home stand of the regular season when they go up against a pair of squads out of the Lone Star State. On Friday, Oct. 12, the TCU Horned Frogs will come to Rock Chalk Park for a 7 p.m. match. Two days later the Texas Tech Red Raiders will come to town for a Sunday afternoon battle scheduled for 1 p.m. Both matches will be televised on ESPN+.FOLLOW
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