Jayhawks Battle to 2-1 Win Over Cowgirls
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior Liana Salazar netted her league-leading ninth goal of the season less than three minutes into the match, while Ashley Williams tacked on her fifth of the year 15 minutes later to help the Kansas Jayhawks dispatch of the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, 2-1, Friday night in front of a program-record crowd of 1,186 at Rock Chalk Park. The win marked the 200th victory in program history and gave Kansas 12 wins in a season for the sixth time since 1995.
The Jayhawks moved to 12-1-0 on the year and remain perfect in league play with a 3-0-0 record. Kansas snapped Oklahoma State’s six-game winning streak and dropped the Cowgirls to 6-7-0 in 2014 and 1-1-0 in the Big 12.
“I thought the kids battled really hard today,” said head coach Mark Francis. “Oklahoma State is always a tough game so I was definitely happy to get the win. The atmosphere was unbelievable tonight. We broke the attendance record and hopefully we’ll do that again here in a couple weeks. Playing in this facility is going to be a completely different experience and I think that was true for everyone tonight; the players, the coaches and the fans.”
For the third-straight match, Kansas got out of the gates in a hurry. Less than three minutes into the game Kansas earned its first corner of the night. A chase for a loose ball ensued following the corner which resulted in senior Caroline Van Slambrouck being tripped up inside the OSU 18-yard box. The referee immediately pointed to the PK spot, signaling that Kansas was about to take its second penalty try of the season.
Moments later, the conference’s goal-scoring leader, Salazar, sized up the shot and kicked it home, notching her ninth goal of the season and giving the Jayhawks an early lead for the third-straight match.
Salazar’s PK conversion, which was her second in 2014, marked the 17th goal of her career and moved her into eighth on the Jayhawks’ all-time goal scoring charts.
Junior Liana Salazar shot in her
Big 12-leading ninth goal of the year
to help Kansas down OSU Friday night.The Cowgirls were not about to let their six-game winning streak get snapped without a fight and countered less than five minutes later. After some clever passing from OSU’s Allie Stephenson and Courtney Dike inside the KU PK box, junior Madison Mercado found herself with an easy tap in from inside the six-yard box. Mercado converted and got a ball past KU keeper Kaitlyn Stroud for the first time in nearly 360 minutes.
With the scored knotted at 1-1, KU continued to attack during the early portions of the match. In the 18th-minute, senior Ali Kimura beat a Cowgirl defender to a loose ball and quickly turned it into a prime scoring chance. The Shawnee Mission, Kansas native got one final touch on the ball as she entered the 18-yard box and Williams was there to blast it home between two Cowgirls from 16 yards out.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico native tallied her fifth goal of the season, while Kimura added her seventh assist of 2014. The wild start to the match set the tone for some hard-fought, physical play the rest of the way.
The first period ended with each team amassing five shots but the squads combining for 16 fouls and three yellow cards.
There wasn’t much letting up in the second frame with both sides remaining aggressive. OSU no doubt had the best chance of the second frame, which came less than eight minutes into the half.
OSU’s Stephenson got tripped up inside the KU box and was quickly awarded a PK. The Lee’s Summit, Missouri native couldn’t shoot in her fifth of the year though, as her strike glanced off the cross bar, keeping Kansas in the lead but still with a lot of time still to play.
The Cowgirls dominated the closing 35 minutes by keeping Kansas’ offense out of commission and holding the vast majority of possession. The Jayhawks were unable to earn a single shot in the second half and gave up four OSU shots.
As it has done all season though, the Jayhawk defense came up big when it mattered most, keeping the Cowgirl strikers at bay and thwarting any decent chances OSU tried to churn up. Kansas held OSU without a shot over the final 17 minutes to assure its 12th win of the year and second victory at Rock Chalk Park.
The match proved to be the most physical of the season for both teams after KU and OSU combined for 34 fouls and four yellow cards.
The two goal scorers, Salazar and Williams, each tallied a pair of shots to lead the team. Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud conceded only her fifth goal in 12 outings this season but tallied four saves in picking up her 29th-career victory between the posts for Kansas.
The Jayhawks won’t have much time to relax as they are scheduled to return to the pitch at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday, Oct. 5 to take on the Missouri State Bears. KU and MSU will kick off at 1 p.m. for the match that will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.