Kansas soccer took down in-state rival Kansas State by a score of 3-0 Friday night at Rock Chalk Park.
The game marked only the third meeting between the historic rivals. Even with the rivalry being so young on the pitch, the intensity felt for Kansas State didn't waiver. In the week leading up, the players were focused on taking down their in-state rival.
Kansas soccer coach Mark Francis made sure to let his players know to throw away any thoughts of the matchup on paper.
“I basically said to the players before the game ‘You take the rankings and the RPI’s and the wins and standing in the conference and said basically throw it out the window,” Francis said. “In this rivalry between the two schools none of that matters. We knew watching them on tape that they’re feisty. They battle. They fight. They’re never gonna give up.”
The preparation leading into the game clearly paid off. In just the second minute of the game, junior midfielder Ceri Holland found the back of the net for a goal that would set the tone for the remainder of the first half.
A high-octane pace was on display for both teams — fitting for a rivalry of magnitude. Though the Jayhawks had the lead, the Wildcats did not shy away from contact, remaining physical at all levels on the pitch.
Senior forward Katie McClure was pleased with the team's response to Kansas States' physicality.
“I think we handled it pretty well,” McClure said. “We’d get feisty too because it goes the other way around. I think our competitiveness was good and we fought back.”
In a game of this importance, it is a team’s stars that need to shine the brightest. McClure would put the Jayhawks up for good and silence the Wildcats. She scored her 10th and 11th goals of the season in a span of less than a minute.
The combo of McClure and Holland have now combined for 16 goals on the season. Most notably, however, is that McClure has moved into second all-time in points at Kansas with her two goals and assist. A humble McClure could only thank her teammates for the honor.
“It feels good but I couldn’t do it without my teammates, the coaching staff and everyone that helps me and contributes to all this,” McClure said.
Up next, Kansas will take on West Virginia Thursday, Oct. 24. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Rock Chalk Park.