LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas soccer team scored six goals in two games as it notched victories over South Dakota State and Drake Saturday at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. The matches, which were apart of KU’s spring exhibition schedule, featured a hat trick by freshman Ashley Williams and a shut out by junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud.
“I was definitely pleased with how we looked today,” said head coach Mark Francis. “I thought we played better in the second game. Our tempo was better and we created a lot of chanced on the offensive end. It’s encouraging because we saw a lot of the things we’ve been working on in practice look a lot better today.”
KU started the day with a morning match up against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. It was a slow start for the Jayhawks as SDSU played even with the Jayhawks for the majority of the opening 45 minutes. Junior Ali Kimura broke the scoreless tie with her fifth goal of the spring. As KU picked up the pace in the second half sophomore Jamie Fletcher gave her team a 2-0 lead, a deficit the Jackrabbits would not be able to overcome.
KU’s goalkeeper Stroud and the Jayhawk defense earned their fourth shutout of the spring season and the first since returning from the European tour.
The Kansas offense was even more potent in the Jayhawk’s second outing of day as they hit the pitch versus the Drake Bulldogs. The Albuquerque, N.M., native, Williams, was the catalyst as she managed to put in three scores. The game marked the second hat trick of her spring as she also achieved the feat on March 18 versus SpVgg Kaufbeuren in Germany.
“I thought Ashley looked really good today,” explained Francis. “She was consistent and had some great runs to create opportunities. She’s definitely improved on her ability to finish as well.”
Junior Caroline Kastor added a goal of her own, giving the Jayhawks a commanding 4-0 lead over the visitors from Omaha.
The Bulldogs managed to get on the board late in the match after a turnover in KU’s defensive third earned the Drake striker an easy score.
Despite the late goal, Kansas went on to claim a 4-1 victory and move to 6-2 in its spring campaign.
Kansas will take to the road next week as it continues its spring schedule in Ames, Iowa. The Jayhawks will again play two games on Saturday, April 20, taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes to start the day and closing the trip with a contest against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
“The main thing we talked about after the games was how we want to finish the spring on a good note,” concluded Francis. “It will be really important for us to keep improving these last two weeks and head into the summer looking strong.”
Both kickoff times from Ames are still to be determined. For updates on start times and complete recaps of the Jayhawks’ play, log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on Twitter at @KU_Soccer.