Fletcher Shoots Jayhawks into Big 12 Tourney with 2-1 Win Over Sooners

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Jamie Fletcher’s goal with 1:22 to play eventual gave Kansas the 2-1 victory over the Sooners

Kansas 2, Oklahoma 1
Jayhawk Soccer Complex
Lawrence, Kan.

1st 2nd Final
Oklahoma 0 1 1
Kansas 1 1 2

Box Score (.pdf)
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Min. Scorer (assist)
KU 29′ Fletcher (unassisted)
OU 75′ Cardona (Nelson)
KU 88′ Fletcher (Yearout)
Keeper Min. GA Svs
KU Kaitlyn Stroud 90:00 1 11
OU Kassidie Stade 85:20 1 2
OU Miranda Larkin 4:40 1 1
Stats at a Glance OU KU
Shots 22 12
Shots on Goal 12 5
Fouls 15 11
Corners 10 5
Offsides 0 3
Saves 11 3
Yellow Cards 1 1
Red Cards 1 0

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior Jamie Fletcher headed in the go-ahead goal, her second of the day, with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Kansas Jayhawks to a 2-1 win over the Oklahoma Sooners Friday afternoon. The win gives Kansas the eighth and final spot in next week’s Big 12 Soccer Championship to be hosted in Kansas City’s Swope Park Village. The Jayhawks’ seed will be determined following the remaining league games to be played Friday night.
The win gives the Jayhawks a regular season record of 7-10-2 and they finish with a league record of 2-5-1. Oklahoma’s season ends with a 4-13-1 record, including a 1-7-0 record in conference play.
“The kids battled and fought really hard, especially in the second half,” said head coach Mark Francis. “A lot of credit goes to Oklahoma. I thought they played well and really took us out of what we were trying to do. We gave ourselves a chance though at the end of the game and Jamie scored on the header and it was all over at that point. I’m just happy for the kids, especially the seniors, that they still get to play.”
After back-and-forth action in the early stages of the match, the Jayhawks managed to get on the board first for the eighth time this season. In the 29th minute, a fight for the ball in front of the OU goal resulted in a Caroline Kastor shot that was deflected to the foot of her teammate Fletcher. The Albuquerque, N.M., native managed to get a shot off just as she was tackled by an OU defender. Fletcher’s strike snuck inside the left post to give KU the early lead and earn the junior her second goal of the season.
The team’s played even over the final 15 minutes of the opening frame, with OU ending the first-half shot battle 8-5.
The Sooners dominated possession in the second 45 minutes of play, seeing chances early and often throughout the final period. Oklahoma doubled the Jayhawks’ shot count in the second half with 14 shots and managed to tally seven of its 10 corner kicks in the second half.
With OU again on the attack in the 75th minute, the inevitable happened when the Sooners sent in a long ball in toward the far post of the KU goal. Freshman Caren Nelson and KU’s goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud collided inside the six-yard box as they were both vying for the ball. With the ball loose inside the Kansas penalty box and the KU goal unguarded, Oklahoma’s Daisy Cardona saw her opportunity to put her team on the board. The junior kicked in her sixth goal of the year through the open KU net to knot up the score with less than 16 minutes to play in regulation.
The Sooners continued to attack over the next 10 minutes of play but the Jayhawk defense continued to send the OU attacks the other way. In the 86th minute Kansas sent a ball forward to the senior, Kastor, who sped by the back line of defenders and had only the Sooner goalkeeper, Kassidie Stade, to beat. As Kastor was attempting to divert the 5-10 freshman, Stade took her to the ground, which prompted the referee to pull his red card and send OU’s starting keeper to the bench.
With the Sooners now forced to play a man down in the remaining four minutes of regulation, Kansas saw its chance to send in the late go-ahead goal. With 1:22 left in match, junior Hayley Yearout sent in a corner from the right side. The on-point pass found the head of Fletcher from five yards out, who flicked the ball in through the high-left corner of the OU goal.
The score not only marked Fletcher’s second goal of the match, but all but sealed Kansas’ win and qualification to the conference tournament. The assist was the second of the season for Yearout and the fifth of her career.
The referee blew the fulltime whistle moments later and signaled Kansas’ seventh win of the year. KU has now qualified for the Big 12 Championship 13 of the 15 seasons of Francis’ tenure in Lawrence.
The Sooners shredded the Jayhawks in almost every statistical category, including shots, as they held a 22-12 advantage over the 90 minutes of play, including a 12-5 tally in shots on goal. However, KU’s Stroud came up with a career-high 11 saves to thwart several of the OU attacks. Stroud amassed 99 saves during the regular season, the most among Big 12 goalkeepers.
Kastor again led the squad in shots, tying a career high with six on the day. Fletcher managed to send in three shots with all of them ending up on frame.
Kansas will now wait to see who it is matched up against in the Big 12 Championship to be played Nov. 6-10 at Swope Park Village in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks will likely be the No. 7 or No 8 seed, meaning they will play at either 5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
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