Jayhawks Drop Big 12 Opener to Texas, 2-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of Texas goals off set pieces in the final 20 minutes of action proved to be too much for Kansas to come back from as the Jayhawks fell to the Longhorns in their Big 12 opener, 2-1, Friday night inside Rock Chalk Park. Freshman Grace Hagan cut the UT lead in half on her third goal in the year with ten minutes remaining, but KU was unable to pull out an equalizer, snapping its three-match winning streak.
The loss dropped Kansas to 5-5-1 on the season and 0-1-0 in league play, while Texas moved to 4-3-3 in its 2015 campaign with a 1-1-0 Big 12 record.
“It’s disappointing because I thought we played really well and battled really hard tonight,” said head coach Mark Francis. “I honestly felt like we were the better team and created the better chances. I told the kids after the game that if we keep playing like that, we’ll win a lot more games than we lose the rest of the season. We just have to come out on Sunday and bounce back against Iowa State.”
The two squads played mostly even over the first 70 minutes of action with the Jayhawks supplying many of the better scoring opportunities. To start the second half, Parker Roberts tallied three shots over the first 15 minutes of action, the final, a hard-hit strike from 20 yards out that nearly hit the cross bar.
Senior Liana Salazar tallied her first assist of the season on Grace Hagan’s goal in the 80th minute.In the 72 minute, Texas took advantage of KU’s missed opportunities and converted on one of their own. Awarded a free kick 25 yards from the mouth of the Jayhawk goal, UT senior midfielder Lindsay Meyer sent in a service that ricocheted around inside Kansas’ 6-yard box before sophomore forward Olivia Brook headed it home, putting her squad up 1-0.
The visitors added to their lead five minutes later, this time off a corner kick. Longhorn junior Julia Dyche curled in the corner to find the head of Meyer, who whipped it in at the far post and gave her team a almost insurmountable 2-0 lead with less than 15 to play in the match.
Facing the big deficit, Kansas refused to give up, cutting UT’s lead in half just three minutes later. Liana Salazar sent in a well-place through ball to Hagan, who was making a run toward the far post. Hagan and UT goalkeeper, Abby Smith, met just as the Longhorn was attempting to coral the ball but Hagan beat her to it, averting the keeper and sending in her third of the year.
Though the Jayhawks cut the UT lead to one, that is as close as they were able to get. KU tried to push numbers forward over the final minutes of action but no offense came out it, and the Jayhawks were forced to settle for the 2-1 loss to open league play.
For the 10th time this season, KU outshot its opponent, tallying 13 shots to Texas’ 11. Roberts led all players with her four shots on the night. KU goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns earned her 11th start between the posts for the Jayhawks, collecting three saves.
Kansas will now venture away from Lawrence for its first road test of the 2015 Big 12 season when the Jayhawks take on the Iowa State Cyclones on Sunday, Oct. 4 in Ames, Iowa. KU and ISU are slated to kick off from the Cyclone Sports Complex at 1 p.m.
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