No. 3 Mountaineers hold off Jayhawks, 1-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – West Virginia midfielder Alli Magaletta’s first half goal proved to be the difference as the third-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers topped the Kansas Jayhawks, 1-0, Friday night at Rock Chalk Park. Kansas was outshot 18-5 by the visitors and suffered its first Big 12 loss of the season.
The Jayhawks fell to 8-4-2 overall and 3-1-0 in conference play. West Virginia moved to 11-1-1 overall and remained undefeated in the Big 12 with a 3-0 record.
“I’m really proud of how the kids played today,” said head coach Mark Francis. “West Virginia is a quality team and they definitely have a shot to go all the way. But I thought our kids competed really, really well against a really good team. In the second half especially we defended really well. Other than a few set pieces in the first half, we limited their chances and gave ourselves some shots there near the end. That’s credit to the kids for executing the game plan we had. Hopefully we’ll learn from this and it will benefit us down the road.”
The four-time defending Big 12 Champions looked the part of a national title contender over the opening 45 minutes Friday night. The visitors attacked early and often, posting 12 shots and 11 corner kicks in the first frame. After several near misses, the Mountaineers got on the board in the 38th minute. Senior Ashley Lawrence sent a corner kick toward the far post and connected with Magaletta, who headed in her second goal of the year and put her team up 1-0.
Freshman Katie McClureAfter spending much of the opening half on its heels, Kansas began to fight back in the second half and gained some momentum in the waning moments. The Jayhawks held the Mountaineers to just six shots and three corner kicks the last 45 minutes, helping the KU offense create some opportunities on the other end of the field.
KU’s best opportunity came with just over 15 minutes to play in the match, when freshman Katie McClure sent in a rocket from just outside the WVU box. The shot darted through traffic and appeared to be headed toward the inside of the right post, however freshman goalkeeper Rylee Foster was there for a diving save to keep her squad on top.
The final whistle sounded minutes later, signaling the Jayhawks third fourth loss of the 2016 season and just its third shutout.
Lois Heuchan and McClure each posted a pair of shots as Kansas was held to a season-low five shots. Jayhawk keeper Maddy Dobyns collected three saves in the loss, while facing a season-high 18 shots.
Kansas will return to the Rock Chalk Park pitch in less than 48 hours when it goes up against Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks and Cowgirls are slated to kickoff at 1 p.m., in the match that will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
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