Jayhawks storm back to top No. 25 Texas Tech, 2-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of penalty kicks helped the Kansas Jayhawks secure a victory in come-from-behind fashion as KU defeated the 25th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders Friday night in front of a record crowd at Rock Chalk Park. Senior Ashley Pankey and sophomore Grace Hagan were the Jayhawk goal scorers and helped the Jayhawks beat the Red Raiders for the first time since 2011.
The win elevated the Jayhawks to a 6-3-2 record overall and 1-0 in conference play, while the Red Raiders dropped to 7-2-2 overall and 0-1 to start Big 12 play.
“I’m really proud of the kids. This is a great way to start Big 12 play,” said head coach Mark Francis. “The way Texas Tech plays forced us to make us to make some changes defensively and I thought the kids did a really good job of handling those changes. It was definitely a team effort. All around I’m really proud of the kids, they did a tremendous job tonight.”
In what was a less than ideal start for the Jayhawks, the Red Raiders got on the board early by netting the match’s first goal in the sixth minute. Junior defender Cassie Conarty saw an opening and carried the ball deep into the KU half before letting loose a shot from the top of the Jayhawk box. The strike found the inside of the right post and put the visitors up 1-0 while the 1,617 fans in attendance were still getting settled into their seats.
The Jayhawks didn’t waver though, as the home side leveled the score six minutes before the end of the first half. After Pankey was taken down in the center of the box, she left it up to herself to convert on the penalty opportunity. She blasted home the resulting penalty kick for her first goal of the season and pulled KU into a 1-1 tie as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Sophomore Grace Hagan sent in her 5th goal of the season and the eventual game-winner in KU’s win Friday.Kansas stepped on the accelerator in the second frame, outshooting the Red Raiders 6-3 and attacking early and often. The eventual game-winner came in the 66th minute. As freshman Katie McClure was attempting to corral a loose ball, she was fouled just inside the TTU penalty area. For the second time on the night, the official blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot, signaling the Jayhawks second PK try of the match. Sophomore Grace Hagan was called upon this go-around, and had little trouble sending home her fifth goal of the season to give the Jayhawks the advantage still with more than 20 minutes to play.
There were tense moments down the waning moments of the match, but none more stressful than when the Red Raiders appeared to have tied the match with just minutes to play in regulation. With TTU spending players forward and on the attack, a Red Raider striker go in behind the KU defense and sent the ball into the back netting, however the linesman raised his flag to signal an offside penalty on the visitors, sending Texas Tech the other way and keeping Kansas in the lead.
That would be the Red Raiders final chance as the KU offense controlled the ball over the remaining minutes to secure the Jayhawks’ Big 12-opening victory.
The Jayhawks continued to push offensively until the final whistle totaling 17 shots for the night. Heavy possession with the home team held the Red Raiders to just seven. Senior midfielder Taylor Estrada led Kansas with five shots, while six other Jayhawks tallied shots.
Kansas will head south for a pair of conference road matches in the Lone Star State next weekend. The Jayhawks will take on the unbeaten TCU Horned Frogs on Friday, Sept. 30 in Fort Worth before journeying to Austin for a Sunday match up with the Texas Longhorns.
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