McClure strikes twice as Jayhawks top Sooners, 3-1
NORMAN, Okla. – Katie McClure’s first-career multi-goal match, paired with Grace Hagan’s sixth goal of the season, helped the Kansas soccer team top the Oklahoma Sooners Friday night at the OU Soccer Complex. The two Wichita natives combined for 10 of their team’s 17 shots as they helped hand the Jayhawks their first win in Norman since 2009.
The win lifted the Jayhawks 8-7-2 on the year with a 3-3-1 record in league play. Oklahoma dropped to 2-11-4 in its 2017 campaign, with a 0-4-3 Big 12 tally.
“The first 15-20 minutes, I thought we played well and were creating a lot of chances,” said head coach Mark Francis following the match. “But once we went up, I felt like we took our foot off the gas pedal a little bit. So I challenged them at halftime and I was really happy with how they responded in the second half. We had two good goals from Katie and a great goal from Grace. Those two have played well this year. They haven’t always reaped the benefits of the work they’ve been doing, but I thought tonight, the chances that the got, they finished well. I’m happy for them.”
The Jayhawks wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard with McClure finding the back of the OU net just 60 seconds into the match. After being fouled just inches outside the Sooner 18-yard box, McClure lined up the free kick and sent it past the Oklahoma keeper on a low, skipping shot at the near post.
The goal was the quickest strike by a Jayhawk since 2010 and the fifth-fastest goal to start a match in program history.
KU continued to take it to the Sooners in the early minutes of the match, outshooting the home side by a tally of 5-1 in the opening 15 minutes. However, OU slowly turned the momentum before managing to tie the match up just under the half-hour mark.
Oklahoma sophomore Kyle Escobedo sent in a high, curling shot from the top of Kansas penalty area that snuck in the top, left corner of the Jayhawk frame. Once again though, McClure didn’t let the score stay level for long as she gave Kansas back the lead two minutes later.
With KU connecting passes around OU’s end of the field in the 32nd minute, Hagan played a back-heel pass to McClure as she sprinted toward the goal. She then only needed to beat the keeper before sending in her second goal of the match. The shot gave McClure her first multi-goal game of her career and helped Kansas take a 2-1 lead into the halftime locker room.
After the intermission the Jayhawks continued to attack the Oklahoma back line. KU logged the first seven shots of the second frame before final breaking through for the third time on Hagan’s sixth goal of the season.
After gaining possession 30 yards from the Sooner frame, Hagan charged down the field and let loose a shot from the top of the penalty box. Her right-footed boot slammed off the right post and ricocheted in to give her team a two goal lead with just under 30 minutes to play in regulation.
KU would cruise the win from there, ending the game having outshot the Sooners by a tally of 17-7, which included a 9-1 advantage in the second half. McClure and Hagan lead all players with five shots apiece, with McClure’s four shots on frame tying a career-high.
In her 57th-career start in between the posts, senior goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns collected three saves. She is now only nine saves shy from hitting the 200-mark.
KU will hit the pitch in Stillwater for a Sunday, Oct. 22 match against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. The contest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Kansas will then close out the regular season when the Jayhawks welcome West Virginia to Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 27. First touch against the Mountaineers is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rock Chalk Park.
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