With opportunities few and far between, Kansas sophomore forward Bri Amos took advantage of an opening down the left sideline. Amos quickly sent a cross into the box to junior forward Mandi Duggan, who sent a header into the back of the net.
That 30th minute goal shifted momentum into KU’s favor in the first half, which was enough for the Jayhawks to secure the 4-1 victory Sunday over Baylor.
“It was really more about the result today than it was about how we play,” KU coach Mark Francis said. “I’m proud of the kids today. It was more about the effort and the energy in the second half than it was about how well we played soccer today because we had to compete.”
The Jayhawks were coming off a 1-0 defeat to Texas on Thursday night, dropping their Big 12 opener for the second time in three years.
“Before we came out, we huddled up and said, ‘We’ve got to get the job done today.’ And that’s what we did,” Duggan said.
And prior to the goal from Duggan, KU looked sluggish and behind the pace of Baylor.
The Bears dominated possession throughout the first half, sending in 10 shots before halftime. However, only one of those shots was on goal. Baylor also earned three corners early on.
The two closest chances came from Baylor freshman forward Taylor Moon’s shot just curling over the bar in the 17th minute and Baylor sophomore midfielder Giuliana Cunningham sending a shot just over the bar from outside the box in the 23rd minute.
And even with the Baylor offense applying pressure, KU sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Peters only had to make one save in the first half, pointing to inaccuracy befalling Baylor’s halftime deficit.
In the first 30 minutes of the match, KU had two close chances, with any other attack resulting in a quick counter attack from Baylor. The Jayhawks had just one shot on goal in the first half — and one shot in total — resulting in the Duggan goal.
“(It was a) huge momentum shift because I think the first 15, 20 minutes we were kind of on our toes a little bit, not playing the game we normally play,” Duggan said of her first goal. “Then after that goal everyone was so energized and so ready.”
Coming out of the break, KU kept that momentum and looked like a completely different, more aggressive team.
“The second half was just a different story,” Francis said.
It only took about five minutes into the second half for KU to add to its lead, as a pass combination in the box from junior midfielder Ceri Holland and senior forward Katie McClure found sophomore forward Kailey Lane for a tap-in goal.
Lane’s fourth goal of the season put the Jayhawks up 2-0.
Baylor looked to respond in the 53rd minute, but senior forward Raegan Padgett was called offside, nullifying another goal-scoring chance for the Bears.
On the other end, KU had another close chance with McClure and Lane almost connecting once again in the 62nd minute. But Lane’s shot sailed just wide of the net.
The Jayhawks added to their lead later in the 81st minute off a cross from McClure sent to Duggan who scored her second goal of the match and on the season.
“Oh, Mandi was huge,” Francis said. “She scored two fantastic goals, but the kid was all over the place. She was pressuring, she was chasing, she was running onto balls. She was brilliant.”
Meanwhile, Baylor managed to get on the board in the 86th minute thanks to a header from freshman midfielder Michaela Gorman off a corner. The Bears finished with 15 shots, with four shots on goal.
KU freshman midfielder Ebba Costow added a goal directly off a corner in the 90th minute, capping off a dominant second half for the Jayhawks.
“I was stoked, everyone was stoked,” Duggan said. “I think the world stopped for a second when that happened. We were all so excited and good for her, too.”
Moving forward, Duggan said the Jayhawks need to focus on attacking earlier and not sitting back to start matches.
“We’ve just got to realize that we have to play our game,” Duggan said. “We can’t wait for the momentum to shift, and we just have to come out right away and get the job done.”
Kansas will travel to Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Thursday.