FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas sophomore Ashleigh Ellenwood’s goal in the opening minutes of the match proved to be the difference as the Razorbacks defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 1-0 Friday night inside the Razorback Soccer Complex.
“The difference tonight was just a loss of focus on the small details in the early part of the game,” said head coach Mark Francis. “Offensively, we may have outshot them but we didn’t do a great job of creating really good opportunities. On defense, our keeper (Kaitlyn) Stroud came up big because they had a ton of chances on set pieces. This group has a lot of resiliency and a lot of character though, and I expect that they’ll come out fired up and ready to go on Sunday.”
The Razorbacks started the match fast and aggressive with an early attack that resulted in three-consecutive Razorback shots from point-blank range. KU’s junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud was there though to make sprawling saves on each attempt.
Just a minute later Arkansas played in a corner kick which found the foot of the forward, Ellenwood. The sophomore caught it clean from less than 10 yards out and gave the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead just four minutes into the match.
The Jayhawks settled down after the early Razorback attack and controlled the tempo for the remainder of the opening half. KU tallied two shots and two corner kicks over the next 30 minutes but was unable to find the back of the Arkansas net.
The second frame opened with another strong Arkansas attack, however the Jayhawk defense held strong this time and again helped the KU forwards take control of the game. KU again kept possession for the majority of the final half and, other than a handful of Arkansas breakaways, the Jayhawks held the ball on their end of the field for most of the half.
Sophomore Courtney Dickerson and freshman Jackie Georgoulis each posted shots on goal in the second period, however both were from more than 20 yards out. Caroline Kastor also found space at the end of a run in the 61st minute, but couldn’t find a good angle and her shot attempt went wide left.
Kansas’ last true chance of the match came when sophomore midfielder Jamie Fletcher found space 25 yards from the Arkansas goal. The junior put a hard right-footed strike on goal, however the Razorback’s keeper, Cameron Carter, was there for one of her four second-half saves.
The Jayhawks outshot the Razorbacks 8-3 over the final 45 minutes of action, including a 4-1 advantage on shots on goal. However it wasn’t enough as the final whistle sounded and signaled KU’s first loss of the season.
Fletcher was the only Jayhawk to notch more than one shot on the night, posting two shots, both of which were on goal. Stroud ended her day with four saves on nine shots faced in the match.
Kansas will return to Lawrence on Sunday, Aug. 25 to host its home opener against the Pacific Tigers. Kickoff from the Jayhawk Soccer Complex is slated for 12 p.m.