Jayhawks complete unbeaten spring with 4-1 win at Air Force
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Two goals apiece from sophomores Taylor Christie and Katie McClure helped the Kansas soccer team close out its spring exhibition season on a high note as the Jayhawks defeated Air Force, 4-1, Sunday afternoon in Colorado Springs. The win moved KU to 9-0-1 this spring, with five of those wins coming during its European tour in March.
“We got off to a slow start but I think we ended up looking really good today,” said head coach Mark Francis. “After the first 10 minutes we settled down and took control of the game. We passed the ball well, we created quite a few chances and scored some good goals. I thought it was a good way to close out the spring.”
The Jayhawks took a 2-0 lead within the opening 30 minutes of the match, with goals from McClure and Christie. The Falcons cut their two-goal deficit in half at the start of the second frame but McClure and Christie answered with two more strikes to seal the KU victory, 4-1.
An Overland Park, Kansas native, Christie ended her spring campaign with a team-leading eight goals, while McClure was not far behind with seven of her own. In all, Kansas scored 33 goals in its 10 exhibition outings, with 11 different Jayhawks getting on the stat sheet.
“After the first game (of the spring) our attacking stuff worked really well because we started scoring a lot of goals, it was different people scoring and we were scoring in different ways,” said Francis. I thought the attacking midfield players really started to figure out (our new formation) later in the spring and that aspect was really good to see.”
KU also proved to be stout defensively during the spring, conceding just five goals, notching six shutouts and allowing multiple opponent goals on only one occasion. The Jayhawk back line is looking to fill the void left by reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and departing senior Kayla Morrison as well as its three-year starting goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns.
“Defensively we were really hard to break down in these 10 matches,” said Francis. “The organization in the back was really good and that’s always encouraging to see – for the girls to really understand their jobs and know how to protect the middle of the field.”
Kansas will now look forward to its preparations for the 2018 regular-season, which is set to kick off August 17. The Jayhawks expect the return of seven starters from the 2017 campaign the saw KU finish 8-9-3. KU also has added a large class of talented newcomers, with nine having signed on to join the squad this summer.
“Overall I think the spring was very productive,” concluded Francis. “It’s been a long spring but the girls did a great job of maintaining focus and understanding what it was that we wanted to get out of it. There were a lot of positives that stood out over the last couple months. We can’t wait to get back at it this summer.”
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