Jayhawks strike late to top Longhorns, 1-0
AUSTIN, Texas –With less than five minutes remaining in regulation, freshman Katie McClure slotted home her fourth goal of the year to help the Jayhawks to a 1-0 victory over the Texas Longhorns Sunday at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Kansas moved its current unbeaten streak to four games and sits atop the Big 12 standings after the first two weekends of conference play.
The win moved the Jayhawks to 8-3-2 in their 2016 campaign and to 3-0-0 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns fell to 6-6-1 on the season and dropped to 0-3-1 in league action.
“Texas is always a really tough place to come and play and I thought we came in and really had the better of the match,” said head coach Mark Francis. “I’m really happy for Katie (McClure). She had a lot of good looks today and it was great to see her get that (goal) when it mattered down the stretch. We got a lot of very good performances today from a lot of different people. At this point in the season, that’s great to see; a lot of different players playing well and the team really coming together. We did a tremendous job this weekend and really happy to be out to a 3-0 start in this conference.”
After playing more than 85 minutes of scoreless soccer, Kansas came up with its latest goal of the season with a senior-to-freshman connection. Senior Jackie Georgoulis played a ball into the heart of the Texas penalty area, perfectly timing the service to McClure, who had snuck in behind the UT defense. McClure took one touch to corral the ball before sending in right-footed stab that flew into the back of the net.
The goal was the fourth of the year for the Wichita product, the fifth assist of 2016 for Georgoulis, and all but secured Kansas’ third-straight victory to start conference play.
McClure’s goal wasn’t the only dangerous chance she saw in the match. Twice in the second half the Wichita product was on the cusp of sending in the game’s first goal. In the 53rd minute McClure found herself with a one-on-one opportunity with Texas’ freshman goalkeeper, Paige Brown. McClure got a shot off but it was directed right into the Longhorn’s chest for her second save of the day. Brown pulled in another save against a McClure strike just four minutes later when the KU forward again found herself with a look at the UT frame. Brown managed to make another impressive stop though keeping the score deadlocked at 0-0 with more than 30 minutes still to play.
The Jayhawks’ offensive attack in the second half was much improved from a first half which saw neither team create many opportunities. Kansas notched just three shots over the opening 40 minutes of action and forced Brown into only one save.
KU was back at full strength in the second half, attacking early and often with six shots in the first 30 minutes of the frame. After several close misses, the Jayhawks broke through with the Georgoulis-McClure connection in the 86th minute to eventually lift Kansas to its third-straight win and seventh unbeaten result in its last eight outings.
Kansas was outshot by the home team 15-13, but added a five shots on goal. McClure led the squad with five shots on the day while three of her teammates added a pair of attempts.
Jayhawk goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns collected five saves, four of which came in the second half. The shutout marked the third of Dobyns’ season and the ninth of her career.
Kansas will return home to take on the Big 12 regular-season championship squads from six of the last eight years. The Jayhawks will first host the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday, Oct. 7 inside Rock Chalk Park in a 7 p.m., match. Two days later Kansas will do battle with the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in a Sunday afternoon match. KU and OSU are slated to kickoff at 1 p.m., and will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
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