Jayhawks Win OT Thriller Over Buffaloes, Move to 5-0
BOULDER, Colo. – Forgetting their tired legs as the game clock ticked down in the final minutes of a second overtime, senior Ali Kimura crossed a ball through the box to Liana Salazar, who gathered and fired it in to give Kansas its fifth-straight win to open the season, 2-1 over Colorado Friday evening at Prentup Field. It took more than 100 minutes but Salazar found a way to keep the Jayhawks unbeaten by netting her sixth goal in five contests, including at least one in every game so far.
“The girls did a great job of executing in the second half and overtime,” said head coach Mark Francis. “We created a lot more chances and had some good opportunities. Liana had a great goal at the end. It was a great combination play by Ashley (Williams) and Ali (Kimura) and a great ball into the box. Liana’s a goal-scorer and when she gets put in those situations, she’s not going to miss. It was a good performance from the team tonight.”
The Jayhawk’s win moved the team to 5-0 for just the third time in program history and the first time since 2009. The Buffaloes fell to 3-2 in their 2014 campaign.
Just two minutes into the second 10-minute overtime period, Kansas found itself on the attack once again after Kimura found space down the right side of the attacking third of the field. Just as she had done at the end of the match five days ago, the Overland Park native, connected with her Colombian teammate when she sent in a right-footed cross toward the far post, where Salazar was waiting unmarked. The junior sent in the game-winner with her left foot, entering the scoring column for the fifth-straight match.
The minutes prior in that match weren’t quite as easy for the Jayhawks, who went up against its former conference opponent for the 17th time, but for the first time since 2010. After the two squads were unable to shake one another over the first 68 minutes, Lois Heuchan got the Jayhawks on the board in the 69th minute.
The freshman out of Scotland picked up a loose ball at the top of the CU 18-yard box and slammed it home from 18-yards out the give the Jayhawks’ a 1-0 lead with just over 30 minutes remaining.
The Buffaloes didn’t wait long to counterpunch. Twelve minutes after KU went up, Colorado’s Brie Hooks got in behind the Jayhawk defenders and was served an on-point pass from teammate Joss Orejel. Hooks gained possession of the ball and had only the KU keeper, Kaitlyn Stroud, to beat. The CU sophomore wound up and shot in her second of the year to knot the score up at 1-1 in the 81st minute.
Neither team was able to muster any offense over the remaining 10 minutes of regulation, which sent the match into overtime, the first of the year for both teams.
In the first overtime session, the Jayhawks regained the upper hand, controlling possession and creating a host of chances, none closer than when Eli Mayr sent in a right-footed strike from 20 yards out the flew just inches over the Colorado crossbar in the 94th minute.
After a short break between overtime periods, Salazar only needed 119 seconds to send in the game winner. Her streak of five-straight matches with a goal ties Hilla Rantala’s record goal-scoring streak from 2001.
Salazar again led the way on the stat sheet with a game-high five shots, three of which were on goal. Kansas won the overall shot battle with the Buffaloes, 11-9 and had six different players tally at least one shot.
Stroud earned her 22nd-career win between the posts for the Jayhawks with the help of three saves. One more victory as KU’s keeper and she will tie Kat Liebetrau for third on the program’s all-time goalkeeper wins list.
The Jayhawks will now look to move to 6-0 for just the second time in program history when the group heads 30 miles south to Denver where they will take on the Denver Pioneers on Sunday, Sept. 7. Kickoff from CIBER Field is slated for 1 p.m. (CT).
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