No. 25 Jayhawks outlast Cyclones, clinch second in Big 12 standings
LAWRENCE, Kan. – On a night when the Jayhawks were celebrating their senior class, it was a freshman that made the play of the match as Katie McClure scored with less than five minutes left in regulation to lift No. 25 Kansas past the Iowa State Cyclones, 1-0, Friday at Rock Chalk Park. The win secured Kansas a second-place finish in the final Big 12 standings, the squads’ highest since 2004.
Kansas heads into the Big 12 Tournament with a final regular-season record of 10-4-4, and a 5-1-2 mark in Big 12 play. The Cyclones sit at 10-7-1 overall and 3-4-1 in conference play.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” said head coach Mark Francis. “It wasn’t the best game we’ve played all year, but they kept battling and earned this win. Iowa State is a tough team to play and they played really hard tonight. We left it until a little later than we would’ve liked, but it’s great to get the result and secure that No. 2 seed.”
The Jayhawks got out to a quick start on a breezy night. In the opening minutes, seniors Tayler Estrada and Ashley Pankey had shots that sailed just wide of the net. Kansas dominated offensively, firing off five shots within the first 10 minutes of the match and totaling 16 by the end of the first half. The Jayhawks backline matched the offensive push, keeping the Cyclones without a shot until the 37th minute.
Kansas honored its seven seniors prior to Friday’s match.After the break, Kansas came back still hungry for a chance to come to fruition. Junior Lois Heuchan ripped one off from outside the box but, as was the story of most of the night, it went wide. Just three minutes later, Grace Hagan had a beautiful chance when she received the ball from Heuchan and took a wide open shot from eight yards out. Cyclone goalkeeper, Lindsey Hendon, dove and grabbed the ball keeping the match scoreless 56 minutes in.
The stalemate finally broke with less than five minutes left in regulation when McClure got a pass from fellow freshman Eva Eliasdottir on the far side of the box. The Wichita product struggled a bit to get it past the Iowa State defender as they closed in on her. After some determination and footwork, McClure got it free, took the shot and sent it home for her fifth of the 2016 season.
The KU defense held firm over the remaining minutes and secured the Jayhawks’ 10th win of the season. McClure and junior Lois Heuchan posted a game-high four shots on the night but were joined by seven teammates who also managed multiple shots. KU ended the match with a season high 28 shots.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns collected four saves in the shutout. The clean sheet was her fourth of the year.
The Jayhawks now turn their attention to post-season play. KU will make the short journey east to Kansas City to play in the Big 12 Championship to be held at Swope Soccer Village Nov. 2-6. Kansas will begin the tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 2 in the quarterfinals when it meets No. 7 seed TCU. Kickoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.