Kansas soccer travelled to Austin, Texas, to begin its modified 2020 schedule and came out with a 1-0 win over Texas Friday night. Senior midfielder Ceri Holland found the back of the net in 81st minute to secure the victory for the defending Big 12 champion Jayhawks.
Losing their leading scorer from 2019 in forward Katie McClure, Kansas comes into the season boasting an preseason All-Big 12 selection in Holland and Israeli national team selection in freshman Shira Elinav, as well as 19 returning players from last season.
The Jayhawks' 2020 schedule has Kansas facing each of its nine Big 12 opponents over a nine-week season, starting with Texas and finishing at home against Iowa State Nov. 6.
“We are excited to still be able to have the opportunity to compete this fall amidst all the uncertainty,” coach Mark Francis said on Aug. 25. “To be able to put our student-athletes in an environment as competitive as the Big 12 is a massive bonus and I look forward to testing our players in nine very tough games over the next few months.”
The first matchup certainly was tough, as Texas outpaced the Jayhawks by putting up 12 shots (seven on goal) to Kansas’ nine (four on goal).
Last year's returning starting goalkeeper for Kansas, junior Sarah Peters, made a statement in her first game back with seven saves. Peters comes into this season after playing nearly 2,300 minutes and posting 11 shutouts last year.
Francis repeatedly mentioned his faith in Peters last season, and she continues to show her worth for the team protecting the net.
Texas had control of much of the match, but lost a step through sloppy play. The Longhorns picked up seven fouls and three offsides calls, but Kansas failed to capitalize on much of the match.
The turning point came when Holland's slotted a shot in the bottom left of the net after taking on a Texas defender just outside the goalie box. Holland is the highest returning scorer for the Jayhawks, putting up eight goals and six assists last season.
"It was a tough game," Holland told Kansas Athletics after the game. "They threw a lot at us and we threw a lot at them. It was all down to mentality."
"In the end and I think the whole team came together," Holland said. "It’s a great result for us on the road."
Kansas will next play Oklahoma at home next Friday. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.