Kansas soccer defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 2-0 on Sunday to cap off an undefeated weekend. After splitting matches with DePaul and Purdue the previous weekend, Kansas got back to its winning ways with victories Friday and Sunday.
The game started at 11:00 a.m. in Kalamazoo, Michigan, an earlier start time than the usual Sunday time of 1:00 p.m., but that didn’t seem to affect the intensity from the Jayhawks. The road can generally be grueling for teams, and after a two-week road trip that saw three key wins, the Jayhawks inch closer to their conference opener against Texas.
Kansas coach Mark Francis felt there was room for improvement following the match, but was pleased overall with the team's performance.
“We moved the ball at a very quick tempo and we were very patient in the attacking third," Francis said. "There’s some work to do but it’s a good result.”
In what’s become a growing theme for Kansas, the game started off with the Jayhawks on the attack with very little success. However, the Kansas back line played exceptionally well, led once again by junior defender Addisyn Merrick. She made plays all over the pitch, creating turnovers and being in position to apply pressure to the Western Michigan attack.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Peters and the defense secured their fifth shutout of the season, absolutely suffocating the Broncos. After Sunday, Peters has now given up just three goals in her first eight games, for an average of .375 goals allowed per game.
Ultimately, the game was never truly close. The Jayhawks had a whopping 31 shots to Western Michigan's five, for an unprecedented 26 shot margin. Fifteen of the Jayhawks' shots were on goal. Going into the 75th minute of the game, the Jayhawks had allowed only three shots to Western Michigan.
But, it wasn’t until the 80th minute when one of Kansas' shots found the back of the net. Sophomore defender Chais Wright opened up the scoring for the Jayhawks and was quickly followed by another goal from sophomore midfielder Sam Barnett in the 81st minute.
“One of our strongest things is how deep our bench is,” Wright said after the match. “We constantly have girls coming in and making an impact.”
The win over Western Michigan brings Kansas' record to 7-1 on the year.
Next up, Kansas takes on BYU Thursday, Sep. 19. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.