Jayhawks Drop Regular-Season Finale to Oklahoma, 1-0
NORMAN, Okla. – A penalty kick in the final minutes of the first half was all that Oklahoma needed to down the No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks, 1-0, in the regular-season finale Friday night inside the Oklahoma Soccer Complex. Despite the loss, Kansas finished third in the final Big 12 standings, the squad’s highest finish in league play since 2007.
The loss saw Kansas go to 15-4-0 to conclude the 2014 regular season and finish third in the league with a 5-3-0 record. Oklahoma went to 9-7-3 in their season and 3-4-1 in Big 12 play.
“I thought Oklahoma played well tonight,” said head coach Mark Francis. “They made it tough for us to break them down and really limited our chances. We’re playing these guys again next week so we’ll definitely need to be more efficient in the attacking third and be better at breaking down their back five. “
The Jayhawks and Sooners played relatively even in the opening period with neither squad creating any dangerous chances. Kansas saw three shots within a two minute period but none truly threatened the Oklahoma frame.
With the clock ticking down in the final minutes of the opening period, the Sooners were lurking near the Jayhawk 18-yard box. A Sooner forward played a non-threatening ball into the box but some miscommunication between the KU defenders forced Kaley Smith to take an aggressive tackle on an Oklahoma player. The referee instantly pointed to the penalty spot and awarded the Sooners a free shot at the KU goal. Moments later, freshman Rasha Roberts shot in her third of the season to give her team the 1-0 advantage, which it took into the halftime locker room.
The second half was a fast paced, physical affair that saw both teams threaten on a handful of occasions. Both teams combined for 22 fouls during the second 45 minutes of play, and the referee pulled a card four times. The Jayhawks outshot the home team by a 6-2 tally in the second half.
The best look for the Jayhawks came in the final minute of play when Haley Yearout saw an opening from the top corner of the Oklahoma penalty box. The senior sent in a shot that forced the Sooner keeper into action. The strike sailed into the goalkeeper’s arms and ended what would be the Jayhawks’ final opportunity of the match.
The final whistle sounded seconds later and signaled the Jayhawks’ first road loss in Big 12 conference play.
The Kansas offense was led by Jamie Fletcher and Ashley Williams, who each tallied three shots apiece. Kansas ended the match with 11 shots, however only four of those were put on target.
The Jayhawks ended the night by clinching the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament to be hosted in Kansas City’s Swope Soccer Village, Nov. 5-9. Kansas will again meet up with Oklahoma in the quarterfinal match set for 8 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 5. Each game of the tournament will be available to watch via a free live stream through Big12Sports.com, with the championship match to be televised on Fox Sports1.
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