TOP-20 TAKEDOWN: Jayhawks top No. 18 Pepperdine in season opener, 1-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A second-half goal by junior forward Katie McClure pushed Kansas soccer past No. 18 Pepperdine, 1-0, in the regular-season opener Friday night at Rock Chalk Park.
The Jayhawks (1-0-0) battled through the first 45 minutes, but the Waves had the better of it on the offensive end, doubling Kansas’ two shots in the opening half. Despite the difference, the Jayhawk defense and freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters, making her first collegiate start, blanked the Waves in the first half and head to the locker room deadlocked at 0-0.
Both sides sped up their pace in the second half, increasing the intensity as the time ticked by. With just over 30 minutes to play, that quickening pace benefitted the Jayhawks as a miscue by the Wave defense led to the first and only goal of the night.
Junior forward Katie McClure wound up with the loose ball and dribbled down the field unchallenged until she chipped the ball over the Pepperdine keeper’s head for the unassisted goal in the 61st minute.
Pepperdine made several attempts to even the score over the final 30 minutes, but were unsuccessful as Kansas went on to win its first game of the 2018 season and claim it third win over a top-20 ranked opponent at home since last August.
Head coach Mark Francis
On the confidence boost this win gives the team:
“It’s a huge confidence booster. To beat a good team and to be at home, that’s a great way to start. It’s a lot easier going into Sunday’s game knowing that you won this one and now we just have to build on this and take the next one on Sunday and get ready for that game.”
On the team’s depth and strength:
“A lot of the win today was down to the fact that we have a deep bench. We used seven people off the bench today that played pretty significant minutes. We aren’t winning that game without that. There’s absolutely no way. And I think that was a factor in the game. Because of our depth we were able to maintain a higher level of intensity, defensively.”
Junior forward Katie McClure
On her goal:
“I just saw it straight to goal. I was lined up perfectly, so there’s no other way to plan it out for me. I kind of just took my touch right to goal and it set me up for a great shot.”
Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters
On getting a win tonight over a big opponent:
“(It) Feels great. I thought our defense played really well in front of me and that I did a good job of communicating with them throughout the game. I thought they did a really good job.”
STAT OF THE GAME
1 Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters had a career night; not only did she make her first collegiate start, but she also collected her first collegiate win and her first collegiate shutout. Peters ended the night with two saves against the Waves and played in all 90 minutes.
- First-time Jayhawk starters on the pitch tonight at Rock Chalk Park included: Fr. GK Sarah Peters, Sr.-TR. M Kaycie Young, Fr. D/M Kaela Hansen and Fr. D/M Bri Amos.
No. 23, Fr. D/F Grace Wiltgren of Denton, Texas, was the first Jayhawk off the bench vs. the Waves. She replaced So. D Isabella Cavalcante in the 25th (20:24 on clock) minute of the first half.
- The two teams, meeting for the fifth time in the series’ history, headed to the locker rooms after 45 minutes of action deadlocked at 0 even though the Waves had doubled up on the Jayhawks in the shots column during the first half, 4-2.
- Kansas utilized over half of its roster in the first stanza, playing 18 of its 30 players on the roster.
- In the 61st minute, a Pepperdine turnover at midfield resulted in a streaking No. 12 Katie McClure downfield for KU, who sent the ball into the back of the net unassisted for her first score of the season and 12th goal overall in her third year donning the Crimson and Blue.
- KU’s 1-0 win over No. 18-ranked Pepperdine was the Jayhawks’ first upset of a ranked opponent since Oct. 13, 2017, when Kansas beat the then-No. 9 ranked Texas Longhorns, 2-1, at Rock Chalk Park.
With tonight’s victory, Kansas evened up the all-time series with Pepperdine, 2-2-1.
KU will host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Lawrence at 1 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 19. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Josh Klingler (play-by-play) and Huw Williams (analyst) are set to call the action.
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