Kansas outlasts Valparaiso, 2-1
LINCOLN, Neb. –Sophomore Grace Hagan sent in the game-winner and added an assist as she helped the Kansas Jayhawks dispatch of the Valparaiso Crusaders, 2-1, Sunday morning at Hibner Stadium. Freshman Katie McClure also added a goal in the victory, the second in her last three outings.
The win moved Kansas to 3-2-1 on the season, while Valparaiso dropped to 2-4-0 in its 2016 campaign.
“I didn’t think we were very good today. The intensity was fine, we definitely had some flashes of brilliance and we’re happy to come away with the result, but our quality is well below where we expect it right now,” said head coach Mark Francis. “Luckily there is still a lot of soccer to be played this season and that means we have a lot more opportunities to go out there and show what I think we’re capable of.”
The Jayhawks jumped on the Crusaders from the opening whistle. By the midway point of the first half, KU had dominated possession, tallied six shots and held their opponents without a single attempt.
For the fourth time in its six games this season, Kansas saw a goal come within the first 20 minutes of action. With the Jayhawks on the attack, Hagan caught up to a loose ball near the Valparaiso’s end line. Hagan played a short, low pass across the face of the Crusader goal and found fellow Wichitan, McClure, who was there to tap the ball into the back of the net. The goal was the second of the season for the freshman.
KU held its 1-0 lead through the rest of the opening half and finished the period with an 8-1 advantage on the shot chart.
Sophomore Grace Hagan celebrates after netting her second goal of the season Sunday against Valparaiso.The Jayhawks again wasted little time in attacking their opponent at the start of the second frame. Hagan was on the receiving end of KU’s next goal, which came less than 10 minutes into the half. Senior Jackie Georgoulis lined up a KU free kick from the left wing of the Crusader defensive end and sent a curling ball into the heart of the Valpo box. Junior Kayla Morrison flicked the ball to the far post where Hagan headed it home off the bounce to post her second goal of the young season.
The final 25 minutes of regulation were tenser than the Jayhawks would have liked after the Crusaders got on the board in the 65 minute. A Kansas foul yielded a Valpo free kick near midfield, which was sent to the top of the Jayhawk penalty area. Crusader forward Adi Johnson met the service and sent in a bullet the snuck inside the top left corner of the KU frame to cut the Jayhawk lead in half.
The KU defense buckled down though to secure the victory, allowing only one more Valpo shot during the remainder of the match.
The final whistle blew after several frantic Crusader attempts at the equalizer, handing the Jayhawks their third win of the season, and their fourth unbeaten result in their last five outings.
Hagan led all players with three shots on the day, while the Jayhawks outshot Valparaiso by a tally of 18-3. KU goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns had a quiet day, making just one save but facing only three Crusader shots.
Kansas will return home Friday to take on Pittsburgh inside Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks and Panthers will hit the pitch for a 7 p.m. kickoff. KU will then make the 30 minute trip east to take on the UMKC Kangaroos on Sunday, Sept. 11. Game time from Durwood Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
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