Jayhawk Insider: Late game heroics pay off for Kansas once again
By Jordan Cronan
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Resilience. Grit. Perseverance. These three traits have helped eliminate any remanence of quit in the 2018 Kansas soccer team as the Jayhawks have fought already fought through a host of overtimes and come-from-behind wins in the first half of the season.
Junior forward Katie McClure is no stranger to fighting her way back into games. KU’s first double overtime comeback victory came against Utah back in August. McClure scored two late goals, one in regulation to tie it and one to win it all with just three minutes left in the second overtime.
“We don’t quit. We don’t shut off. We don’t care if we’re 2-0 behind. We don’t care if we’re 3-0 behind. We know we are doing it for each other,” said McClure. “We are playing for everybody, not just the people on the team, the people on the bench or the coaches, but our fans.”
Just two weeks later, the Jayhawks found themselves in a hole once again when Saint Louis went up 2-0 within the opening 20 minutes of the match. McClure wasn’t the only one getting in on the comeback action. Senior forward Grace Hagan put together her first-career hat trick to lift Kansas to yet another gutsy victory.
The Jayhawks found themselves in this familiar situation Friday night as they went into the locker room down at halftime with the Oklahoma Sooners out front 1-0. But McClure and the rest of her teammates utilized that “never quit” mentality to help Kansas had to fight its way back in it.
“Going down and we did not do the things we’ve been working on well and the girls did a great job at applying our adjustments we talked about during halftime,” said head coach Mark Francis.
The equalizer came from junior defender Elisa Reina early in the second half to give her team a spark, but the Jayhawks would once again need overtime to finish this one.
The win was looking like it wasn’t going to happen, as the first overtime came and went. With only one minute left to play in the second overtime, and the match destined for a draw, McClure wasn’t done. KU’s leading scorer struck gold with 53 ticks left on the clock to collect the sudden victory a give the Jayhawks their seventh victory on the season.
“We have done this so many times this season, where the game is on the line and we have come from behind or have won in overtime,” said Francis. “They’re so resilient as a group. One of our core values is resilience and this group optimizes that.”
Already with three come-from-behind win in the first half of the 2018 campaign, Kansas has shown everyone that giving up is never an option. It may take the Jayhawks almost 110 minutes to do it, but never count them out.
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