Jayhawks Rebound with 4-0 Drubbing of Saint Mary’s

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Less than two days removed from its first loss of the 2014 season, the Kansas soccer team got back to its winning ways with a decisive 4-0 win over the Saint Mary’s Gaels Sunday afternoon inside the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. Sophomore Courtney Dickerson and freshman Hannah Lukinac each tallied their first goals of the year less than 10 minutes apart in the first half, while juniors Ashley Williams and Liana Salazar added goals of their own in the second half.
The win elevated the Jayhawks to 9-1-0 on the year and was the team’s fifth shutout of the season. The Gaels dropped to 5-5-0 in their 2014 campaign.
“I was really happy with how we responded today, especially in the second half,” said head coach Mark Francis. “We just looked a lot sharper. Our passing, our movement and our overall mentality were better. It was a good win for us as we head into conference play.”
Even with the large final margin, the first 30 minutes indicated anything but an easy Kansas victory. The Gaels created a host of dangerous opportunities in the early portions of the match, while the Jayhawks were unable to tally its first shot until over 21 minutes into the game. St. Mary’s outshot Kansas by a margin of 8-2 during the opening 30 minutes of action.
The Jayhawks stole any momentum the Gaels may have built in the early portions of the match in the 34th minute. Senior Ali Kimura dispossessed a SMC defender deep in Gael territory and played a cross into the box from the right side. Kimura’s pass made it to the feet of Dickerson, who blasted home an unguarded shot to the upper 90, her first goal of the year and seventh of her career.
Even with the lead, Kansas stayed on the offensive and struck again less than 10 minutes later. With two minutes remaining in the half, sophomore Jackie Georgoulis sent a corner kick to the far post were Kayla Morrison and Dickerson each got a touch on it before the ball wound up at the feet of Lukinac. The freshman out of Olathe, Kansas slotted home the first of her career from six yards out to give her team a 2-0 lead as the Jayhawks headed to the locker room.
 Jamie Fletcher congratulated Courtney
Dickerson after she netted the
eventual game-winnner.KU didn’t waste much time to put in its third score of the game. Less than two minutes into the second frame, Kimura again found space on a breakaway down the right side. This time she found Williams, who had taken up position at the top of the SMC 18-yard box. With her back to the goal and a defender in hot pursuit, Williams turned and fired a right-footed shot that sailed past the Gael keeper and in. The goal was Williams’ fourth of the season and 14th of her career.
Kansas handled the visitors with relative ease during the remainder of the second half, allowing just six Gael shots, only one of which was on goal.
Salazar struck for the seventh time this year when she joined the scorer’s column in the 88th minute. After her header was deflected by the St. Mary’s keeper, Salazar collected the rebound and flicked in an unguarded shot to give the Jayhawks’ their second four-goal performance of the season.
The final whistle sounded just over two minutes later, signaling Kansas’ ninth win of the year and fourth shutout in its last five games. The Jayhawks have allowed just one goal in its last 462 minutes of action.
Kansas goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud posted a season-high eight saves on the day, seven of which came in the first half. The shutout marked the 10th of her KU career, which elevated her to No. 4 on Kansas’ all-time shutouts list.
Salazar led the Jayhawks with four shots on the day and was one of 11 KU players who posted at least one shot.
Kansas will now kick off Big 12 play on Friday, Sept. 26 when they journey to Waco, Texas to take on the Baylor Bears. BU will look to avenge a 2-0 Kansas victory in last year’s meeting in the match is set to begin at 7 p.m. Two days later the Jayhawks will remain in the Lone Star state to go up against the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.
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