The Kansas women’ soccer team is coming off a disappointing weekend but still has a chance to make the 2014 season a special one.
The Jayhawks dropped games on Friday and Sunday, marking the first time all season they have dropped consecutive matches. Kansas was shut out in both defeats but remains one of the top teams in the Big 12 at 14-3 overall and 4-2 in conference.
The Jayhawks started the season 8-0 before a 1-0 setback at Marquette. Kansas responded from that loss with a six-game win streak before losing its last two matches.
The hot start to the season included a program best 4-0 run to begin Big 12 conference play. Kansas had never won its first four Big 12 games and it bettered the 3-0 mark set by the team in 2001.
Kansas was 14-1 entering Friday’s match with Texas Tech on Friday night and a record crowd of 1,453 packed Rock Chalk Stadium but it was the Red Raiders who came away with the win, making a first-half goal stand up. Texas Tech outshot Kansas 15-10, including a 7-2 advantage in the second half.
“It’s been key for us all year to stick to what we’re good at and I think we got away from that at times tonight,” Kansas coach Mark Francis said.
Kansas looked to rebound on Sunday against West Virginia in another matchup of ranked teams but the Mountaineers remained red-hot with a goal in the fifth minute and then an insurance goal in the 77th to take a 2-0 victory. West Virginia remained unbeaten in its last 12 games and improved to 11-2-2 on the season with a 4-0-1 mark in Big 12 play.
“I was really proud of how we competed in the second half,” Francis said. “I told the team that the second half was the best 45 minutes a Kansas team has played in quite a while and that’s why this loss stings so much.”
The Jayhawks will look to reverse their fortunes Friday when they host Iowa State in their final home game of the regular season. Kansas closes the regular season on Halloween night at Oklahoma. Wins in their final two matches will send the Jayhawks into the postseason with some momentum, which they have lost a bit after a mid-October breakthrough.
Kansas moved to BR-23, in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coaches’ poll Tuesday, marking the first time Kansas has been ranked among the top-10 teams in the nation since Nov. 8, 2004.
“We still have a lot to play for this season and I think we can definitely still make some great things happen here at the end of the year,” Francis said.