LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of clutch goals from junior forward Katie McClure lifted No. 19 Kansas soccer over Utah, 2-1, on Friday night in a double-overtime thriller at Rock Chalk Park. The victory kept the Jayhawks unbeaten start to 2018 intact, now at 4-0-1. The loss dropped the Utes to 1-2-1.
After being outshot by the Utes 5-3 in the first half, the Jayhawks battled back outshooting Utah 9-4 in the remainder of the game.
McClure sparked her team with some energy in the Kansas offense in the 55th minute with what appeared to be KU's first goal before the officials waved it off for offsides.
As the final minutes ticked by with neither team having scored a goal, both Kansas and Utah notched goals to keep the score even at 1-1.
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Utah struck first in the 86th minute as senior forward Hailey Skolmoski knocked in the first goal of the evening and the first of her season. The Ute forward took advantage of a low clearance from KU keeper Sarah Peters, heading the ball back into the KU goal.
But the Jayhawks didn't panic, responding with the equalizer less than one minute later. McClure tied the game with her four a goal of 2018 in the 87th minute after senior Kaycie Young found her open at the top of the Utah 18-yard box.
The Jayhawks headed into their second overtime in as many games. Neither squad was able to score in the first overtime, but the Jayhawks came close on multiple opportunities.
Seven minutes into the second overtime, McClure was finally able to break through. This time, off a pinpoint pass from Ceri Holland. McClure corralled the pass and sent it just inside the far post to give the Jayhawks the golden goal and the victory.
Head Coach Mark Francis
On the pace of play in the first half and thus, the team's mentality:
I thought at the beginning of the game our pace was really good for the first 15 to 20 minutes, then after that, in the the last 20 to 25 (minutes), our rhythm was way too slow. I think sometimes when we have the ball a lot, especially in the back, we fall into a false sense of security and spend too much time doing what we're doing. Even when we're not being pressured, because they dropped off their forwards and their half line, so we had a lot of time and space. Even when that's the case, we have to play in a two or three-second rhythm, so we can pick up (the pace). We were just moving too slow. The second half was better, I thought we did a better job."
On his halftime message to the team:
"We talked about how, in the beginning, we did a great job of finding our two forwards' feet in the channel out wide, but then toward the end of that first half, we quit doing that and it took too long getting it into the channel. We just needed to recognize that a little bit earlier. We also talked about stretching them a little bit, playing it in the space sometimes to the forwards so that they can push it forward. Defensively, we talked about especially going against the wind, to be aware if they were playing a long ball, it's going to go a lot further, and that we need to anticipate that in the back."
On the play of junior forward Katie McClure:
"The mentality of this group is unbelievable...to give up a goal the way we did, a lot of teams would've given up, but not this group.— Kansas Soccer (@KUWSoccer) September 1, 2018
-@KUCoachFrancis on his team's mentality in last night's 2OT win over Utah. #KUsoccer pic.twitter.com/u1vJ0MGdi0
"When you're a forward, your mentality can be really fickle, right? Because if you don't get shots, you can get in your head a little bit. She had a couple of good shots against Oregon that she didn't put away, but she moved on so quickly. She didn't dwell on it. That's a sign of maturity. A younger Katie McClure would have dwelled on that longer. I think that's a sign of her maturity as a player. She came out today and was dangerous. She had a couple of chances that she created and two that she scored (well), especially the second one. It's really good for her confidence. Again, as a forward, when you're scoring goals things start going well for you and it is massive for your confidence. She's playing really well right now and hopefully she'll continue to do that."
Junior forward Katie McClure
"We just have to keep the mentality going and stay strong as well as everything we focused on in preseason and everything we've been doing. We worked around it and had a lot of good chances in the first half but I think we broke them down a lot in the second half. Our team is resilient and that's one of our core values. We knew we had it and we wanted to go for it so we took advantage of it."
On the strong start for her and her team:
"I do it for them mostly, but my mentality is to take every advantage I have and get the ball in the net and put it on frame."
- Utah's five shots to Kansas' three in the first half is the first time since the Jayhawks' opening game vs. Pepperdine that KU has been outshot by its opponent in a half.
- The Jayhawks 2-1 victory over the Utes marks the fifth time since 2008 that KU has been unbeaten in August.
- Kansas' win also marks its first unbeaten start to a season since 2014.
- Junior forward Katie McClure's two goals against Utah give her five goals on the season and 16 overall in her career.
- McClure's five goals are the most scored by a Jayhawk in their first five games of the season since Liana Salazar also shot in five in the first five outings of 2014.
- McClure's five goals this season tie her for first in the Big 12 with Texas' Cyera Hintzen.
- McClure leads the conference with 12 points in the 2018 season.
- The double overtime win was the Jayhawks' first since defeating Missouri in two overtimes in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, also at Rock Chalk Park.
The Jayhawks welcome No. 25 Butler to Rock Chalk Park for their second top-25 matchup of the season on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. The match will be televised live on ESPN+ with Josh Klingler (play-by-play) and Huw Williams (analyst) calling the action.