Jayhawks Hold Off Texas, 2-1, to Advance at Big 12 Championship


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Senior Ashley Williams struck less than two minutes into the match to give her team a lead it would never relinquish as the No. 6 seed Kansas Jayhawks withstood the No. 3 seed Texas Longhorns, 2-1, Wednesday evening in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals at Swope Soccer Village. The win gave Kansas its first trip to the conference tournament semifinals since 2008, where it will meet the No. 2 seed Baylor Bears on Friday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.
The win moved Kansas to 9-8-2 on the season, while Texas dropped to 8-6-4 in its 2015 campaign.
“I was really happy with how our kids battled today, especially in the final 20 minutes,” said head coach Mark Francis. “It was great getting the lead early and I thought we played really well in the first half. Maddie Dobyns was also tremendous tonight. She came up with some huge saves late when they were really taking it to us. This is a big win and hopefully we can carry this momentum into the semifinal match on Friday.”
Kansas got out to a quick start against the Longhorns after it took less than two minutes for the Jayhawks to find the back of the net. Junior Tayler Estrada took the ball into the left side of the UT penalty area where she played a low cross to the far post. The on-point pass went right to the foot of Williams who used one touch to send in her fourth goal of the season.
 Sophomore Maddie Dobyns tallied a career-high six saves to help Kansas top the Texas Longhorns Wednesday in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals.The goal, which came 1:57 into the match, was the quickest scored by Kansas on the year and put KU in prime position to pick up its first Big 12 Championship win since 2008, as the Jayhawks have been unbeaten in 29-straight matches when scoring the game’s first goal.
KU continued to dominate the opening period and nearly came up with another goal in the 31st minute. Junior Ashley Pankey was the victim of a Texas foul inside the Longhorn box, which awarded the Jayhawks their first penalty try of the year. Senior Liana Salazar lined up the shot but her attempt slammed off the left post and out of danger, sending KU the other way nearly taking a dominant two-goal lead.
The second half saw the Longhorns come alive as UT managed to tally 10 goals over the final 45 minutes compared to its five from the first frame. Though Texas created a handful of dangerous opportunities, the Kansas defense withstood nearly every Longhorn attack and took its 1-0 lead into the 74th minute.
Clinging to the one-goal lead with just over 15 minutes to play in regulation, Jackie Georgoulis found herself in the right place at the right time to send home her team’s second goal of the evening. In the midst of a corner kick set piece, junior Hanna Kallmaier took a hard-hit strike from the top of the PK box that slammed off the UT frame. The loose ball bounced right to Georgoulis, who brought the ball to her feet and sent in a shot that sailed past the Longhorns All-Big 12 goalkeeper, Abby Smith.
The goal was the second of Georgoulis’ career and, for a moment gave her team a commanding two-goal lead heading into the final minutes of the match.
The match was far from over in the Longhorns’ minds though. UT struck quickly after the Georgoulis goal, with Kayra Dollas putting in her first of the season less than two minutes later. From there, it was a stressful final 10 minutes as Texas worked to equalize the match and send the two teams in to overtime.
Kansas goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns made two enormous saves to keep her team ahead over the final seven minutes, none bigger than her diving tip over the bar with 60 seconds remaining in regulation. The sophomore came off her line in an attempt to thwart a Longhorn chance, but the ball quickly found a Longhorn in the middle of the box with an open KU goal in front of her. Isabelle Kerr sent in a shot that seemed destined to find the back of the net but Dobyns came out of nowhere to tip the ball over the bar for her career-high sixth save of the night.
KU withstood same frantic Longhorn attacks over the final minute and claimed its first win at the Big 12 Championships since 2008.
The Jayhawks will now meet the No. 2 seed Baylor Bears in the tournament semifinals at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6. The winner of that match will play the winner of the West Virginia-Texas Tech contest in the tournament final on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.
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