Late Rally Not Enough as Kansas Falls to Wyoming, 2-1
LARAMIE, Wyo. – A pair of goals from Wyoming sophomore Kimmy Burbank proved to be too much as the Kansas Jayhawks fell to the Cowgirls Friday evening, 2-1, inside the Madrid Soccer Complex. KU senior Liana Salazar cut a 2-0 Wyoming lead in half with her goal in the 65th minute but the Jayhawks couldn’t take advantage of a 12-6 shot advantage over the final 30 minutes and dropped their third-straight match.
The loss moved Kansas to 2-4-1 on the year, while Wyoming remained unbeaten and now boasts a 3-0-3 record.
“We’ve played really well these last three games, but somehow we’re still losing,” said head coach Mark Francis. “We’ve been playing really pretty soccer, but right now we need to get our confidence back. Maybe we just have to get more direct and solely worry about trying to score goals and win the game. We just have to find a way to win Sunday. It doesn’t have to be pretty, we just need a result.”
While Kansas may have been the better team for the majority of the match, the Cowgirls were able to take advantage of their opportunities, the first coming less than nine minutes into the match.
Wyoming’ Burbank kicked in a ball of a corner kick set piece at the 8:17 mark for her second goal of the year and put her team up 1-0. While Burbank remained silent for the next 40 minutes, she would hurt the Jayhawks once again later in the match.
Even with Kansas facing an early one-goal deficit, the Jayhawks settled into a rhythm and created several good looks for themselves during the opening half. None were better than the look junior forward Ashley Pankey gave herself in the 39th minute. Pankey found some space near the top of the Wyoming box and sent in a hard right-footed strike that the Wyoming goalkeeper, Georgia Rowntree, had no chance of saving. Luckily for Rowntree, Pankey’s hit slammed of the left post and out of danger, sending the Jayhawks the other way with a painfully close chance to level the score.
Much like the first half, Kansas got out to a slow start in the second period and the home team took advantage. In the 58th minute, a Wyoming free kick near midfield found the head of Burbank who was stationed 10 yards from the mouth KU’s goal. The Cowgirl defender flicked in the long service past KU keeper Maddie Dobyns, whose team now faced daunting 2-0 deficit with just over 30 minutes remaining.
Even though it was looking at the challenging proposition of a two-goal comeback, the KU offense came to life and nothing sparked it better than Salazar sending in her second goal of the season.
In the 65th minute, Salazar was played a ball down the left side of the Wyoming defensive third with little defensive resistance in front of her. The senior midfielder saw some space and dribbled near the left side of the penalty box until she unleashed a right-footed curler head for the far post. The strike flew past the outstretched arm of the Cowgirl keeper and inside the top right corner of the frame, immediately bringing the Jayhawks back into the match.
Salazar’s goal not only cut the Wyoming lead in half, but moved her to fourth on KU’s all-time scoring chart, as she now has netted 23 goals in her Jayhawk career.
Kansas didn’t let its foot off the gas, sending attack after attack at the Wyoming defense over the final 20 minutes of regulation. There were several moments when the Jayhawks thought they had brought the game back to level during that span. Kansas outshot the Cowgirls by a tally of 12-6 during the final half-hour of play, but, like each of KU’s last two losses the ball refused to go in.
In the waning seconds of the match, the Jayhawks pushed forward for one final attempt to force overtime. Freshman Grace Hagan managed to get a shot off from near the top of the box, but her try sailed high of the UW frame. Seconds later, the final horn sounded and the Jayhawks were forced to settle for another frustrating loss.
Kansas outshot the Cowgirls by a total of 21-12, which included a 14-8 advantage in the second half. Salazar posted a season-high six shots, two of which were on goal, and was joined by nine other Jayhawks who sent in at least one shot.
Kansas’ road swing in The Rockies will continue on Sunday, Sept. 13 when it goes up against the Colorado College Tigers. Kickoff from Colorado Springs is set for 12 p.m. (CT) and will be available via webstream on the Mountain West Network.
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