First Half Offensive Explosion Lifts KU Over Drake, 5-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Ashley Williams swiped a poorly played ball by the opposing goalkeeper and slammed it into an open net less than six minutes into the match to notch the first strike in what became a first half offensive onslaught by her Kansas Jayhawks. KU went on to score four more goals, all in the first half and eventually dispatched of the visiting Drake Bulldogs, 5-0, Wednesday night inside Rock Chalk Park in the first of two preseason exhibitions.
“We did a lot of things well tonight, but what I was most impressed with was our mentality,” said head coach Mark Francis. “We moved the ball well and I thought our defense was really solid, especially since we had a few people sitting out tonight. We still have some things we need to straighten out but tonight was definitely a good start for us.”
Freshman Parker Roberts headed home her second goal in as many minutes as the
Jayhawks defeated Drake, 5-0, in exhibition play.Williams, who is coming off an All-Big 12 season in 2014, wasted little time in taking the game over. The Albuquerque, New Mexico product saw her opening in the sixth minute when a poorly played ball back to the Drake keeper was mishandled. Williams managed to swoop in and steal position. After that, all that was left was to walk the ball into the net.
Williams was back at it 15 minutes later, this time from long distance. Freshman Parker Roberts found her senior teammate open five yards outside the penalty area. Williams quickly sent in a right-footed bullet that flew into the upper 90 and flew just past the outstretched fingertips of Bulldog keeper, Haley Morris. The goal put the Jayhawks up 2-0 just over 20 minutes into the opening frame, however the KU offense was just warming up.
Roberts was on the receiving end of a great pass five minutes later, which she was also able to convert into a head-turning goal. Fellow freshman Anna Courtney corralled a long pass downfield and sent a low, stinging cross into the Drake box. The ball found Roberts in stride, where she was able to find the back of the net from 10 yards out.
The cheers from Roberts’ first goal in a Jayhawk uniform had barely subsided when the Leawood, Kansas product struck for a second time. Williams found her first-year teammate with a well-placed cornerkick service inside the Bulldog six-yard box. Roberts rose above all others to flick the ball in for her second goal in a two-minute span and gave the Jayhawks a commanding 4-0 lead less than 30 minutes into the match.
Another KU senior struck from long distance later in the opening frame. Courtney Dickerson collected a pass from freshman Bailey Bravard near the top of the 18-yard box, where she unleashed a shot toward the far post, which the Drake keeper had little chance of saving. Dickerson’s attempt soared through in the 41st minute for what was eventually the Jayhawks final goal of the evening.
Even though the Jayhawks were unable to increase their lead in the second half, there were several chances when KU came close to putting in its sixth of the evening. None were closer than Grace Hagan’s attempt in the 81st minute. The freshman out of Wichita, Kansas used some useful ball-handling to earn some space in the attacking third, where she then sent in a hard-hit strike to the far post from 15 yards out. The ball was just inches from inducing another KU celebration but it slammed off the left post and out of danger. Hagan still left the 776 fans in attendance with a good first impression as she tallied four shots on the night, three of which were on frame.
The Jayhawks wrapped up the 5-0 win nine minutes later and their fourth-straight preseason exhibition victory. Williams led all players with six shots on the night, while Roberts was not for behind with five of her own. Three Jayhawk goalkeepers saw action in the match, each playing nearly identical 30-minute spans. Sophomore Maddie Dobyns was the starting keeper and was followed by redshirt freshman Lauren Breshears and true freshman Regan Gibbs. All three managed to collect one save and combine for the shutout.
The Kansas domination was evident on the stat sheet as well. The Jayhawks outshot the Bulldogs 25-8 and held the edge in shots on goal, 12-3. Kansas also managed to amass 10 corner kicks on the night, compared to just one for Drake.
KU will get its final tune-up for the 2015 regular season when the Jayhawks welcome in the North Dakota State Bison for their second exhibition match on Sunday, Aug. 16. The Jayhawks and Bison will hit the pitch at Rock Chalk Park for a 1 p.m., kickoff. Later in the week, Kansas will open up its regular season against former Big 12 foe, Nebraska, on Aug. 21. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m., in Lincoln.
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