Jayhawks Tally Second Straight OT Win, Top Arkansas, 2-1
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After going over four seasons without coming from behind to win a match, the Kansas soccer team did it for the second time in as many games, defeating Arkansas, 2-1, in the third minute of the first overtime period with a header from senior Ashley Williams. The Jayhawks, who went to the fourth extra time in its last five matches, posted back-to-back wins in matches that went to overtime for the first time in program history.
The win moved Kansas to 4-4-1 on the year, while the loss dropped Arkansas to 4-4-0 in its 2015 campaign.
“This team doesn’t know what the word ‘quit’ means,” said head coach Mark Francis after his team’s second-straight overtime win. “The character of this group is unbelievable. We’ve been playing really well and not getting results and now we’re starting to put those results together. It was a tremendous team effort today.”
Kansas began the game at a frenzied pace, sending waves of attacks at the Arkansas back line early and often. In the fifth minute, Williams came painfully close to knocking in her first goal of the season when Tayler Estrada found the senior forward 10 yards in front of the Razorback goal. Williams’ attempt looked promising but it slammed off the cross bar and out of danger.
KU kept up the pressure over the next 25 minutes, outshooting the home team by a tally of 5-1, however, momentum shifted in the 31st minute.
Arkansas earned a free kick near midfield and sent a long, dangerous ball into the KU box. Junior Claire Kelley was there to connect with the ball and head in her fourth goal of the season in the top of the KU net.
Faced with a one-goal deficit for the fifth-straight match, the Jayhawks didn’t waiver and needed only six minutes to bring the score back to level.
Freshman Anna Courtney was played the ball with space to operate downfield more than 40 yards from the Arkansas goal. The Park Hill, Missouri product took a long dribble and eventually unleased a right-footed bullet from the right edge of the 18-yard box. The strike flew to the far post and sailed inside the top-right corner. Courtney’s second goal of the year brought her team level at 1-1, where the score remained at halftime.
The second half started much like the first, with the Jayhawk offense sending attack after attack at the Arkansas defense. Kansas outshot the Razorbacks by a tally of 7-0 over the first 20 minutes of the second period, but was unable to net the go-head goal.
The Jayhawks’ best look of the second half came during three-consecutive corner kicks in the 62nd minute. Kansas managed to convert the set pieces into two shots, headers from junior Hanna Kallmaier and sophomore Kayla Morrison, but the ball still refused to go into the back of the net.
Arkansas almost sent in a dagger of its own late in regulation. Razorback Erika Miller played in a shot from 30 yards out that slammed off the Jayhawk crossbar, nearly putting the home team up with less than five minutes to play in regulation.
After 90 minutes and the score still tied at 1-1, the Jayhawks found themselves headed into their fifth overtime of the year and fourth extra period outing in its last five games.
Unlike KU’s 2-1 double overtime win over Colorado College Sunday, Kansas made sure this match would not need a second overtime period. The Jayhawks needed just over two minutes to end the game.
Taylor Estrada gained possession in the attacking third of the field and found herself one-on-one with an Arkansas defender. The Fayetteville native took on the defender down the left side before sending in a dangerous cross that was headed right for her teammate, Williams, who had made a run into the Arkansas six-yard box.
Estrada’s pass met Williams’ head at the near post, where Williams redirected to the back of the net and instantly giving the Jayhawks a 2-1 win.
The goal was the first of the season for the senior, Williams, but was also the 18th of her KU career and moved her to No. 9 on the Jayhawks’ all-time goal scoring chart.
Williams also led the squad with a career-high six shots on the net, which included three shots on goal and the game-winner. Kansas ended the match outshooting its eighth opponent of the season, topping the Razorbacks 20-13.
Kansas will now return to the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park and close out the non-conference portion of its 2015 season when it welcomes in the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Sept. 25. Kickoff from Lawrence is set for 7 p.m., with the match scheduled to be broadcast on YouTube.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.