For the first time in its history, Kansas will take home the Big 12 soccer championship.
The Jayhawks' 1-0 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri, was the exclamation point on a 15-win season. Coach Mark Francis, in his 20th season, got his first conference title as well. Kansas, ranked 10th in the RPI, is almost certain to be nationally seeded in the NCAA tournament.
The match started off a bit messy for the Jayhawks as they tried to gain control of the midfield but couldn’t maintain possession. Ultimately the game was a stalemate in the first half as neither team would give an inch. Both teams gave up five shots, but Kansas was the only one that managed to get a shot on target.
Kansas started the second half attacking TCU. In the 54th minute, junior forward Mandi Duggan found the back of the net to put the Jayhawks up for good in the contest — her fifth of the year and possibly the most important goal in Kansas history.
Despite scoring the go-ahead goal, the game was far from won at that point. The Jayhawks would have to clamp down TCU, and there were many scares late in the game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Peters had an outstanding second half to lead the Jayhawks' defense. The Horned Frogs let off a barrage of shots trying to get back into the contest. TCU had 13 shots in the second half with four of them on goal, but Peters stepped up with two saves in contest.
The great play of Peters was enough for the Big 12 conference to name her the most outstanding player of the tournament.
Kansas now awaits its seeding in the NCAA tournament but will have home field advantage for at least one NCAA tournament game.