Women’s soccer upsets No. 16 Kansas with shutout

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu
Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu

The Marquette women’s soccer team notched a major victory in its 1-0 upset of No. 16 Kansas at Valley Fields Friday night.

The Jayhawks tested Marquette right off the kickoff, as they got their first scoring chance just two minutes into the first half.  Senior forward Ali Kimura caught a through ball and went in on Marquette junior goalkeeper Amanda Engel. Engel came off the end line and challenged Kimura on the breakaway and saved the shot.

Five minutes later, it was the Golden Eagles’ chance to score.

Sophomore midfielder Mary Luba carried the ball into the box while Kansas’s senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud came out to pressure Luba. Stroud clipped Luba just outside the box, resulting in a yellow card for Stroud and a free kick for Marquette. Junior defender Jacie Jermier took the free kick and kicked it into the upper right corner of the net, giving Marquette a 1-0 lead.

Coach Markus Roeders said Jermier has been a great player on both sides of the ball.

“I couldn’t be more happy for (Jermier) because she’s playing outstanding,” Roeders said. “She’s doing it on the offensive end, she’s doing it on the defensive end.”

With Jermier’s goal, it snapped the Jayhawks’ shutout streak at 297 minutes. When the restarted whistle sounded, it was the first time all season Kansas has trailed in a game.

The Golden Eagles continued to play well on both sides of the ball following the goal. The two sides played back-and-forth ball in the neutral zone until the 32nd minute, when both teams got quality scoring chances.

In the 32nd minute, senior midfielder Alex Heffron settled a pass from junior midfielder Ann Marie Lynch and came into the box with two Jayhawks closely on her heels. Heffron took a couple of steps and tried to go far post on Stroud. But the shot came off her foot badly and trailed off far wide. Two minutes later, Kansas had its best chance to score when sophomore midfielder Jackie Georgoulis got the ball inside the 18’-box, but put the ball wide on the near post side.

With neither side getting any more quality scoring chances, the sides went into the half with the Golden Eagles leading 1-0.

The second half was another back-and-forth set, as both sides had scoring chances. Freshman defender Kayla Morrison immediately got the ball and challenge Engel with a shot, but Engel stayed strong. On the counter, Handwork caught a through ball and went in on Stroud with a defender on her back. Sophomore forward Ashley Handwork was unable to get a quality shot off, and the score stayed at 1.

The two teams continued to trade possessions, but Kansas started spending more time in the offensive zone as Marquette’s fatigue started to show. But the defense stood strong and weathered the storm.

Jermier said the team drained the clock because of fatigue, but they got the job done.

“We were tired, so we were sitting in the back,” Jermier said. “We didn’t need to attack … but we needed to keep the ball in their half. We made sure we were doing our job in the back and they were doing their job in the front.”

Roeders praised the Golden Eagle defense for the shutout.

“I thought defensively we were really good,” Roeders said. “At times we had to absorb a little bit of pressure … I thought the effort was great.”

Marquette managed to get some attacking pressure as the game wore down, and was content maintaining possession and wait for the perfect chance to try and notch another goal. Kansas couldn’t muster any solid chances, and the Golden Eagles handed the Jayhawks their first loss of the season.

Roeders said it was big to get a victory against Kansas.

“We played Kansas,” Roeders said. “They are in here nationally ranked, came in here undefeated, and we were able to do something for the first time that they hadn’t experienced all year long.”

Marquette will host Louisiana State at Valley Fields Sunday at 1 p.m. Roeders said he hopes the team can build off the victory.

“Couldn’t be happier for our team,” Roeders said. “It’s a big step forward and now, hopefully, we want to keep that momentum going for a little bit. ”