Strong second half lifts Kansas to victory, Francis’ 200th win
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Three goals in the final 23 minutes of regulation propelled the Kansas soccer team to a commanding 3-0 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas Sunday afternoon at Rock Chalk Park. The victory marked the 200th for Mark Francis as the head coach at Kansas and the first of his team’s young 2017 campaign.
The win pushed Kansas to 1-1-0 after the first weekend of the season, while Central Michigan fell to 0-1-1 in its season.
“I’m happy for the win, for the girls, after Friday,” said Francis following the match. “We really needed this for confidence, but also offensively, having not scored in the exhibition or on Friday. I thought once we scored one, we’d get more. That ended up being the way it worked out. Offensively, I thought there were a lot of good ideas today.”
With less than 23 minutes to play in the match and the score still deadlocked at 0-0, sophomore Sophie Maierhofer broke open the scoring in the game, and in the Jayhawks’ season, with the second goal of her Kansas career. Senior Grace Hagan gained possession down the right side of the field before sending in a low pass across the face of goal. The ball found an open Maierhofer at the far post, where she managed to redirect the pass into the back of the net.
It was déjà vu just minutes later as Maierhofer and Hagan connected again. This time it was a short, lobbing pass from Hagan at the top of the 18-yard box that bounced to the boot of Meirhofer. The Graz, Austria native shot it past the CMU keeper for the second time in 109 seconds and gave her team a 2-0 lead with just over 20 minutes left to play.
With the victory in tow, it was a freshman that put the final exclamation point on the KU victory with a creative goal in the 88th minute. With Kansas organizing for a set piece off a corner kick, senior Lois Heuchan served a high curling ball into the heart of the Chippewa penalty area. Once there, senior Alex Schweitzer headed the ball to the mouth of the goal, where freshman Ceri Holland flicked the ball into the net with her back to goal.
Sophomore Sophie Maierhofer
It was the freshman’s first collegiate goal and a fitting way to put a stamp on KU’s first win of the 2017 season as well as Francis’ 200th as the head man of the Jayhawks.
The first half was largely dominated by the home side, who outshot the visitors by a total of 15-4 over the opening 45 minutes. Kansas saw chances early and often as well as a pair of one-on-one opportunities that saw a Jayhawk shot barely tipped by the Chippewa goalkeeper, Zoie Reed, to keep the score level. Reed was forced into five saves in the opening frame, as well as three in the second half. Though it was Maierhofer who finally managed to break through with her strikes in the 67th and 69th minutes.
KU ended the match outshooting Central Michigan by a tally of 22-8. This coming less than two days removed from amassing only eight total shots in the Jayhawks’ loss to Nebraska Friday night.
The Kansas defense also rebounded with a stout effort against CMU. The backline held the Chippewas to only three shots on frame and helped KU goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns to her 11th career shutout and her 22nd career victory between the posts for the Jayhawks.
The victory also gave Francis his 200th win as the Kansas head coach, moving his record with the Jayhawks to 200-148-28, now in his 19th season with the program.
“Two hundred (wins) is a lot over a long period of time, I think 19 seasons,” concluded Francis. “There are just a lot of players who have contributed to those wins who have now moved on and are doing other things with their lives. Some of them are now almost 40 years old, which is kind of scary. I think that’s the biggest thing — the kids who have contributed to the program over the 19 years that I’ve been here.”
Kansas will now hit the road for its first road trip of the season when the Jayhawks journey to Tulsa to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Friday, Aug. 25. Kickoff against TU is slated for 5:30 p.m. The Jayhawks will then travel to Corvallis, Oregon to take on the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday, Aug. 27.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.