Jayhawks Shut Down Arkansas in Spring Finale, 2-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas women’s soccer concluded its spring exhibition slate with a 2-0 victory over Arkansas Saturday afternoon at Rock Chalk Park. With the shutout win, the Jayhawks closed out their spring campaign with a 3-2 record and over 180 scoreless minutes of action.
“I think it’s been a really good spring,” head coach Mark Francis said. “We told the girls that we needed to finish with a good performance and I think we did that today. In the three exhibition games that we played against college teams, we scored eight goals and gave up one. We’re pretty happy with that, especially the offensive part of it. It’s something to build on and it sets a good tone for the summer.”
The two teams battled it out in the midfield in the opening moments of the game, with neither team recording a shot in the first 10 minutes of action. In the 11th minute, junior forward Ashley Pankey turned and let loose on a volley from the top of the box that sailed just over the crossbar. Not satisfied, Pankey rocketed in a header from inside the penalty area just a minute later on a cross from junior defender Morgan Williams to give the Jayhawks the early lead.
In the 18th minute, Kansas saw its best shot at another first-half goal fly wide to the left after freshman forward Grace Hagan beat her defender and fired a shot from 25 yards out. Williams and junior defender Aurélie Gagnet continued to put pressure up-field and cause problems for the Razorback defense, but the score remained 1-0 at the break.
As the wind picked up in the second half, both teams struggled to create opportunities, until the 75th minute when a ball sent into the box for Ashley Pankey drew the Arkansas keeper off her line. Neither player managed to control the pass, and sophomore forward Lois Heuchan sent the loose ball across the penalty area to freshman midfielder Anna Courtney, who capped off Saturday’s scoring with a top-shelf goal over a leaping defender.
“In the fall, the offensive attack was a bit of a struggle for us, and we worked a lot this spring on it,” Francis said. “I think it has been more of a collective effort, especially with crossing and getting on the end of it. Pankey had a great goal with the header, great service from Morgan (Williams). And then following up and being aggressive in the box, I think some of the goals we’ve scored in those three games have come from that. It’s a good mentality we’ve set and hopefully we can continue that going into the fall.”