No. 19 Jayhawks battle past No. 25 Butler, 1-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior Elise Reina picked a perfect time for her first career goal as her late game-winner pushed No.19 Kansas past No. 25 Butler, 1-0, Sunday night at Rock Chalk Park, keeping the Jayhawks unbeaten record intact.
Kansas (5-0-1) battled through the first 45 minutes, leading the Bulldogs (4-1-) on the offensive end as Kansas launched three shots to Butlers’ one in the opening half. The difference, the Jayhawk defense and freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters, held Butler scoreless in the first half as the teams headed to the locker room deadlocked at 0-0.
After playing back-to-back overtime matches, it appeared the Jayhawks were on their way to a third. However, in a match which scoring opportunities were few, Kansas took advantage of a rare corner in the 85th minute. On the set piece Reina was able to get on the end of a loose ball and slid a shot past the Bulldog goalkeeper into the side netting of the far post. Junior Katie McClure, who served the ball into the corner, and freshman Bri Amos, who kept the ball alive before Reina’s strike, recorded assists.
Kansas outshot Butler 10-6 in the match, which included seven in the second half. Sophomore Ceri Holland took a match-high three shots on the night in her 72 minutes on the field.
Peters tallied two saves while recording her fourth clean sheet of the season.
Kansas improved its record to 4-0 at Rock Chalk Park this season and has held its opponents scoreless in the first half for a sixth-straight match. The victory marked the second top-25 win in 2018 for Kansas and its 26th victory over a ranked opponent all-time.
Head Coach Mark Francis
“It’s a really good win. Butler’s a really good team. There’s a reason they were unbeaten and in the top-25. I thought their game plan was really good, they sat in and just made it really difficult for us to get wide, which is what we like to do, so they had obviously scouted us. I thought the girls did a really good job of adjusting the things (we talked about) after (halftime). I think that really ended up being the difference in the game because the fact that we were more patient allowed us to tuck it in.”
On shutting out, and getting a win over, a quality team like No. 25 Butler:
“It feels good. I thought defensively today, we had to rotate a few people in there; Italia (Bradley) came in there and gave us some minutes in the first half. Bri (Amos) came in and played on the other side; she usually plays on the left. We put Eva (Eliasdottir) in toward the end as Kaela (Hansen) was getting gassed. I think, again, our depth is allowing us to try to keep fresh players in there when someone’s giving it everything they’ve got and they can’t go anymore, we can give them a break and put someone else in there who is coming in and doing the same thing.”
On the aggressiveness of tonight’s match between the two teams:
“I don’t think the game was dirty, I thought it was physical. But they’re a physical team. We are too. Our kids are tough, we don’t back down from physicality and I thought the girls handled that part of it really well. You don’t beat Butler if you don’t compete with them, because they are very good at that.”
Junior Elise Reina
On the set piece which led to the game-winning goal:
“I don’t even remember the beginning of the play, I just remember getting my head down and hitting it as hard as I could into the back of the net with the outside of my foot. I saw a gap and I took the shot.”
On how well KU defended:
“Our back line really communicates well and I think that’s a big part of it. I’m really proud of us, we have two freshman back there and a freshman goal keeper so I’d say we’ve made progress since pre-season.”
On the play of Addisyn
“She is our cover player, she cleans up our messes if it goes over. We trust that she will out run anyone and go for every ball.”
On Ceri Holland’s toughness
“Ceri is someone you want on your team. Off the field she’s the sweetest but on the field, she’ll take a ball for anyone and takedown anyone. If someone messes with one of our players, Ceri’s coming in and cleaning it up.”
- Tonight was the two teams’ first meeting in a regular season after meeting in exhibition play prior to the 2016 season, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Thus, Kansas moves to 1-0 in the all-time series while Butler falls to 0-1. KU improves to 5-0-1 overall in 2018 while Butler records its first loss of the season, moving its record to 4-1-0.
- Butler and Kansas headed to the locker rooms tied at half, 0-0. Of the few statistics recorded in the first 45 minutes of play, both teams had a shot on goal as well as a save. Kansas led in two other categories: shots, 3-1, and fouls, 5-1, over the Bulldogs.
- Junior D Elisa Reina scored her first goal of the 2018 season in the 87th minute off of a double assist by junior F Katie McClure and senior M Bri Amos. In addition to it being Reina’s first score of the current season, it was also her initial goal in her two-plus years donning the Crimson and Blue.
- Junior forward Katie McClure was assessed her first yellow card of the season as time was winding down in the second frame, at 87:23 on the clock, to be exact. It was the Jayhawks’ first caution of the year.
- With tonight’s 1-0 win over the No. 25-ranked Butler Bulldogs, Kansas now has its first unbeaten start to a season following six games since 2014 and the third time in head coach Mark Francis’ 20 seasons in Lawrence.
- The Jayhawks earned their second win of the 2018 season over a ranked opponent with tonight’s 1-0 victory over No. 25 Butler. Kansas, ranked No. 19 this past week in the polls itself, also beat then-No. 18 ranked Pepperdine on Aug. 17, also by a score of 1-0.
- Freshman Sarah Peters improved her record to 5-0-1 in 2018, as did the Jayhawks. The GK from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, has played all 576:11 in goal for KU this season. Tonight she saved another two shots, bringing her total to nine for the year.
Kansas will be back on the road next weekend for a pair of contests. The Jayhawks will meet the Cincinnati Bearcats on Thursday, Sept. 6 at Gettler Stadium for a 6 p.m. (CT) kickoff. KU will then head to Pittsburgh for a match with the Panthers on Sunday, Sept. 9. First touch from Ambrose Urbanic Field is slated for 12 p.m. (CT).
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