With all hands on deck by both the Jayhawks on the field and their support staff, Kansas advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 2-1 double overtime win over Saint Louis Friday night at Rock Chalk Park.
After a fearful corner kick by Saint Louis that hit the crossbar, Kansas was the first to score in the 19th minute with a cross from the far post from Elise Reina to Katie McClure. It was the first shot of the game for the Jayhawks.
Scoring again to secure the win for Kansas, McClure had the final touch on a free kick served in by Ceri Holland to Grace Hagan, who were both credited with assists in the 104th minute game-winning goal.
McClure finished the season second in the Big 12 in points and third in goals scored.
“I was just trying to drive the ball across the box. I could see a big space, they left a big gap,” Holland said. “I knew that if I could drive it across, I knew that one of my teammates would get to the end of it.”
Saint Louis equalized McClure’s goal by the end of the half with a score from Maddie Pokorny in the 34th minute. Pokorny entered her senior year with just 11 goals through three seasons, and she scored her 13th of the year Friday night.
The Jayhawks tallied six shots in the first half, drawing four offsides calls. The first came five minutes into the game with an iso chance from Kaycie Young about 5 yards in front of the goalkeeper.
With eight fouls in the second half, Kansas couldn’t get a solid run on its own and kept turning the ball over.
McClure and Young both nearly missed the net with shots less than five minutes to go in regulation, with shots sailing wide. McClure’s shot in the 88th minute beat Billiken goalkeeper Olivia Silverman, but sailed above the crossbar.
For the ninth time this season — and second straight game — the Jayhawks appeared in an overtime period. It was only the second for the Billikens during an Atlantic 10 championship and 18-game winning streak.
“Nine — holy cow, that’s a lot,” KU coach Mark Francis said as the stat was brought to his attention. “We’ve been in this situation a lot, and we’ve had success a lot.”
McClure’s second overtime set-piece goal sealed the win for Kansas.
Peters tallied seven saves on the night against 13 shots with eight on target. Through her last four starts, she’s made 25 saves and has 54 on the year.
“If I am a player, and I’m on the field, I want my goalkeeper confident like Sarah is,” Francis said. “Earlier in the season, she was almost too confident with the ball in her feet … she made some mistakes, but she also learned from them. She didn’t make those mistakes again.”
Five substitutes entered the match for Kansas and tallied 117 minutes collectively. Miriam Melugin, Italia Bradley and Taylor Christie each logged extended minutes.
Kansas will face the winner of No. 1 North Carolina and Howard. If the Tar Heels win, they will play host to Kansas. Should Howard win, Kansas will play host to the Bison.