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Archive for Monday, September 26, 2005

A&M soccer frustrates KU

September 26, 2005

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Kansas University forward Caroline Smith didn't raise her eyes during the interview. Her voice became progressively softer as she spoke.

But then again, her words didn't need to be loud to speak volumes.

Smith's frustration could be heard clearly after KU's 3-2 loss to No. 14 Texas A&M on Sunday at Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

"We absolutely killed them all over the field," Smith said. "Last year when we beat A&M, I felt like it was more of a back-and-forth game. This year I felt like we were all over them. We come away with a loss, but there's no doubt to anybody who watched this game we were the better team."

Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, the Aggies came away with what was most important: a game-winning goal in the 87th minute by Melissa Garey to improve to 7-1-1.

"I really thought that was the best game we've played this year," Kansas coach Mark Francis said of the meeting between last year's Big 12 Conference co-champions. "As far as 90 minutes, that's the best 90 minutes that we've put together."

Because Smith has played the part of superhero so many times for Kansas, her frustrations might have stemmed from not being able to do it again Sunday. The forward tied the game at 2 in the 69th minute with a sliding shot into the left side of the net, but could not put another in against All-Big 12 goalkeeper Kati Jo Spisak.

In the 78th minute, Smith charged down the left side and rifled a quick shot, only to see Spisak quickly contort her body and pin the ball to the ground with only her left hand.

Just 24 seconds after A&M took its 3-2 lead, Smith had a run at the goal and a similar opportunity to the one she scored on earlier. Again the shot slipped past Spisak, but the ball rolled harmlessly just wide of the left post.

"I missed two chances I probably should have finished on and probably won't ever miss again," Smith said, "but that stuff happens."

The loss was especially disappointing after Kansas twice came back to even the score.

Garey's header found the right side of the net in the 21st minute for the first Aggie goal, but the Jayhawks responded.

Midfielder Michelle Rasmussen kept her composure in traffic and fired the ball in a small window to Spisak's left, tying it at 1 and bringing Francis off the bench for a few animated fist pumps.

"You don't like to lose," Francis said, "but I think we made huge strides today."

Garey put in her second goal off a rebound in the 58th minute, but 11 minutes later Smith's goal brought Kansas back to a 2-all tie.

After a shot banged off the cross bar, Garey completed the hat trick on a shot past Kansas keeper Colleen Quinn with just under three minutes remaining.

"We had control of the game the whole time," Smith said. "They scored some of those goals, but I never felt like we lost control of our game."

Kansas has given up 13 goals in 10 games this year.

Last year's squad allowed 13 during its entire 23-game season.

"It doesn't worry us at all," Rasmussen said. "It's just a different team from last year. We're not really looking back on then - we're focusing on us right now."

Kansas dropped to 5-4-1, but the soft-spoken Smith again made sure her words were heard.

"If they're supposed to be the best team in the Big 12, then we've got some good stuff to show this year," Smith said. "This is definitely the best team we've ever had. We're going to do well, there's no doubt about it."

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