Jayhawks Escape North Texas with 2-1 Win
DENTON, Texas – Freshman Anna Courtney picked a good time to send in the first goal of her career, knocking in the eventual game-winner in the 76th minute as the Kansas Jayhawks defeated North Texas, 2-1, Sunday afternoon inside Mean Green Soccer Complex. Sophomore Lois Heuchan assisted on both the Jayhawks’ goals as KU concluded its first perfect weekend of the season.
The win completed an unblemished weekend for the Jayhawks, who now sit with a 2-1-1 record this season. Kansas also handed North Texas the first loss of their season as the Mean Green fell to 3-1-0.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” said head coach Mark Francis. “Coming into this weekend I was hoping we could pick it up in terms of our finishing and I thought Friday and today we were very much improved in those areas. Offensively, this weekend was a big step forward for us.”
Like the match Friday, the first half was largely dominated by the Jayhawks, who controlled possession and spent the majority of the period in the attacking end of the field. Kansas earned four corner kicks within the first 12 minutes, which produced four good looks at netting the match’s first goal. Despite the vast number of opportunities, KU’s offense was unable to find the back of the net, that is until senior Liana Salazar broke open the scoring with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The Jayhawks finally broke through in the 35th minute when a long build up resulted in Salazar’s first goal of her senior season. Heuchan outworked her defender to gain possession near the end line, where she fired off a low cross toward Salazar, who had taken up position at the near post. The Bogotá, Colombia native redirected the cross to the right of UNT goalkeeper, Jackie Kerestine. Salazar’s look would not be denied as she found the back of the net to put her team on the board with more than 10 minutes to play in the opening half.
The first half ended with UNT fortunate to only be trailing by one goal after KU dominated in nearly every statistical category. The Jayhawks outshot the Mean Green 13-3 over the first 45 minutes, and had a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. Kansas also tallied five corner kicks while North Texas produced just one in the first frame.
After the intermission, the Mean Green offense came out intent on creating havoc in the KU backfield. It only took the home team four minutes into the second half to pull the score level. UNT’s Rachael Holden beat a pair of Jayhawk defenders on a long run leaving a one-on-one situation with KU keeper, Maddie Dobyns. The Mean Green forward sent it in just out of the reach of Dobyns’ outstretched arms for her first goal of the year, bringing the score back to level at 1-1.
The game continued to be a frantic affair over the next 20 minutes as both teams created several dangerous scoring opportunities. During that time, Dobyns was called into service several times to punch away threatening UNT free kicks into the KU box.
The match remained at that frantic pace until the 76th minute when Courtney found herself in the right place at the right time.
Kansas was on the attack when, for the second time in the match, Heuchan found a Jayhawk attacking in the box. The sophomore flicked a ball into the six-yard box, which landed right at the feet of her freshman teammate. Courtney quickly corralled the ball and sent in the short-range shot to tally the first goal of her young KU career.
The goal gave Kansas back lead and the momentum with less than 15 minutes to play in the match, momentum that North Texas was unable to regain. KU milked the final minutes away with relatively little resistance from the Mean Green. Kansas sealed up its second win of the weekend, outlasting UNT by a final score of 2-1.
Freshman Parker Roberts led all players with five shots in the match, while a host of her Jayhawk teammates also got into the offensive effort, with 10 KU playeres tallying at least one shot in the match.
Dobyns picked up the win in goal for the Jayhawks with the help of a career-high five saves. The match also proved to be a physical one as the referee called 24 fouls, 16 of which were on the Mean Green.
Kansas will now return to the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park when the Jayhawks welcome Santa Clara to Lawrence on Friday, Sept. 4. The Jayhawks and Broncos will hit the pitch for a 5 p.m. kickoff, which will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
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