Jayhawks Fall Short in Physical Bout with Cowgirls, 2-0

Oklahoma St. 2, Kansas 0
Cowgirl Soccer Complex // Stillwater, Okla.

Jamie Fletcher led Kansas in shots (4) for the
second-straight game Sunday vs. Oklahoma St.

1st 2nd Final
Kansas 0 0 0
Oklahoma State 1 1 2
OSU 19′ Allie Stephenson (Killion)
KU 65′ Madison Merchado (Dike)
Goalkeepers Min GA Sv
OSU Michela Ongaro 90:00 0 2
KU Kaitlyn Stroud 90:00 2 5
Stats at a Glance KU OSU
Shots 15 15
Shots on Goal 2 7
Saves 5 2
Offsides 0 4
Corner Kicks 2 3
Fouls 13 18
Yellow Cards 3 3
Red Cards 1 0

STILLWATER, Okla. – The University of Kansas fell victim to the Oklahoma State Cowgirls Sunday, 2-0 in a physical match that saw 31 fouls and seven cards issued. The Jayhawks must now defeat or tie Oklahoma in the regular-season finale Friday to earn a trip to the Big 12 Tournament to be hosted in Kansas City, Nov. 6-10.
The loss dropped Kansas to 6-10-2 in 2013 and settled it with a 1-5-1 record in conference play. The Cowgirls moved to 7-4-6 in their regular season and have now amassed a 2-2-3 record in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks again saw the opposing squad get on the board first when Cowgirl sophomore Allie Stephenson broke open the scoring in the 19th minute. Oklahoma State’s Krissi Killion took possession inside the KU 18-yard box and found Stephenson streaking through the middle of the box. The forward shot in her sixth of the year inside the right edge of the KU goal and put her team ahead with more than 70 minutes still to go in the match.
Opportunities were plentiful for both teams in the first half as each combined for 16 shots, four of which were on frame. Jamie Fletcher notched three of team’s seven first-half shots with each sailing just high of the Oklahoma State crossbar.
Kansas went to the halftime lockerroom facing a deficit for the ninth time this year. The team’s first comeback of the year would be required to give the Jayhawks its second conference win of the season.
The Jayhawks’ chances at the comeback took a hit in the 58th minute when freshman defender Tayler Estrada was issued her second yellow card of the match, thus earning her a red card and forcing Kansas to play a woman short the rest of the way. Estrada’s red card was the first shown to a Jayhawk since 2008.
Eight minutes after the red card the Cowgirls benefitted from their advantage in numbers by padding their lead in the 66th minute. Freshman Courtney Dike hit her teammate, Madison Merchado, in stride with a through ball into the Jayhawk box. Merchado corralled the ball with one touch and sent in a shot from around eight yards out. The ball sailed past the Jayhawk keeper Kaitlyn Stroud and gave Oklahoma State a 2-0 lead, which eventually proved to be an insurmountable lead to overcome for the 10-woman Jayhawk squad.
Kansas continued to battle despite the large deficit, getting six of its eventual 15 total shots off in the final 30 minutes of action. The Jayhawks saw perhaps their best chance of the game in the 85th minute when sophomore Ashley Williams shook loose from her defender and sent in a right-footed shot from 15 yards out. The strike required a diving save from the OSU keeper, Michela Ongaro, and marked the final true Kansas threat of the match.
The full time whistle sounded five minutes later and signaled Kansas as the victim of its 10th shutout on the year but only its third multi-goal loss of 2013.
The Jayhawks and Cowgirls tied each other in the shots category with 15 apiece. Fletcher led her squad for the second-straight game with four shots, however none were put on goal. The KU goalkeeper, Stroud, tallied five saves in the match, her 11th game this season with five or more stops.
The game also marked the most physical for Kansas in 2013 as the teams combining for 31 fouls, the most in a KU match since 2008.
The Jayhawks will close out the regular season on Friday, Nov. 1 when the Oklahoma Sooners come to Lawrence for a 3 p.m. kickoff. Kansas, who currently sits in eighth in the Big 12 standings, will need to beat or tie the Sooners in order to punch its ticket to the Big 12 Championship to be hosted in Kansas City, Nov. 6-10. The game will mark the final home match for seniors Caroline Kastor, Madi Hillis and Shannon Renner and will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel and ESPN3.
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