No. 23 Kansas Closes Out Preseason with 2-2 Draw

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of goals off the foot of freshman Grace Hagan helped the No. 23 Kansas Jayhawks to a 2-2 draw in the exhibition match against the North Dakota State Bison Sunday inside Rock Chalk Park. Hagan’s brace marked the second by a KU freshman this preseason after Parker Roberts also netted a pair against Drake last Wednesday night.
“I didn’t think we were as sharp as we needed to be today,” said head coach Mark Francis following his team’s final exhibition of 2015. “We had 33 shots and 11 of them were on target. When that happens, you should probably have more than two goals. We weren’t as efficient in the attacking third as I thought we should have been but that’s why we have these exhibitions. It gives us a chance to figure out who needs to play where and what areas we need to adjust.”
For the second time in as many games the Jayhawks got on the board in the opening 10 minutes. Hagan used her speed to dispossess an NDSU defender and quickly give herself a one-one-one situation with the Bison goalkeeper, Sierra Bonham. Hagan quickly evaded the final obstacle standing between her and the goal and sent in the easy finish to give Kansas the early 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.
 Senior Liana Salazar led all players with nine shots and five shots on goal Sunday against North Dakota State.From then on, the match became a frustrating ordeal for the Jayhawks. Kansas created numerous chances throughout the next 30 minutes but could not get past the Bison’s All-Summit League goalkeeper, Bonham. In the opening frame the Jayhawks tallied a total of 19 shots and managed to put five of those on frame, but the NDSU goal became nearly impregnable.
The Bison had far fewer chances in during the run of play but were able to take advantage of their most dangerous attack in the opening half when Mallory Fenske struck in the 29th minute. The freshman beat the KU keeper, Regan Gibbs, after some useful footwork and slotted it home to bring the score level with just over 15 minutes left before the break.
It appeared the teams would head to their halftime locker rooms all knotted up at 1-1 but Hagan had something to say about that. After the Wichita, Kansas product gained possession near midfield, she saw nobody but the NDSU keeper standing between herself and the net. After sprinting nearly 40 yards, Hagan beat Bonham one-on-one and sent in the go-ahead goal seconds before the halftime horn sounded. The brace marked the second time in the Jayhawks’ two exhibitions a freshman score two first-half goals after Roberts also pulled the feat against Drake on Aug. 12.
Even with the 2-1 lead, Kansas remained steadfast in the second half, however still could not solve the opposing keeper, Bonham. Within the first 15 minutes senior Liana Salazar unleashed three long-distance shots but could not find the back of the net. The first was kicked back by the left post, the second sailed inches over the crossbar and the third was tipped over the bar in an acrobatic save from Bonham.
Despite the Jayhawks controlling much of the possession over the first portions of the second half, the Bison once again took advantage of a Jayhawk defensive breakdown. Senior Gabby Arnquist was in the right place at the right time when an NDSU corner kick made its way all the way to her location at the far post. She shot in the ball on from close range and brought the score back to level, 2-2.
The Jayhawks had several more looks at taking the lead for the third time throughout the remainder of the match, but none were more dangerous than when Hagan broke free in the 73rd minute. Looking for the hat trick, she again beat the last Bison defender and had a one-one-one situation with Bonham. She made a quick flick headed toward the inside of the far post, however Bonham made perhaps her most impressive and important stop of the day, redirecting Hagan’s attempt with her foot and thwarting another prime Jayhawk chance.
Kansas ended the match with 33 total shots on the day, while the Bison managed 14 shots. Salazar led all players with nine shots, five of which were on target. Three KU goalkeepers saw time between the posts with freshman Regan Gibbs making the start. Gibbs tallied one save while sophomore Maddie Dobyns and redshirt freshman Lauren Breshears each collected two saves.
Kansas will now open up its regular season against former Big 12 foe, Nebraska, on Aug. 21. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m., in Lincoln. The Jayhawks will then travel north for another collision with a member of the Big 10 Conference when they go against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday, Aug. 23. The Jayhawks and Golden Gophers will kick off in Minneapolis at 2 p.m. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.