KU ‘average’ in loss to Texas

Kansas University women’s soccer coach Mark Francis gave one reason for his team’s 1-0 loss Friday to Texas at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex: a lack of heart.

“We have played games where we have played with a lot of heart,” Francis said. “When we don’t play with heart we are very average and that is what we were in the second half today.”

The Jayhawks got one shot on goal the entire 90 minutes and had just two shots in the second half.

“I definitely think we could have shot more and maybe tested their keeper a little more,” KU sophomore Jessica Bush said. “We didn’t test her at all today, so I think we should have been a little less conservative.”

Francis lashed out at his team following the game, lecturing the Jayhawks for minutes. Francis was not sure what he could do to get the players to play with more heart.

“I think the players need to decide if they want to show up and play on Sunday,” Francis said. “If they do, great. If they don’t, they need to stay at home. That is basically what I told them.”

Francis said he is considering making changes to his lineup to get him team playing with more offensive rhythm.

Kansas (7-5 overall, 2-2 Big 12) appeared sluggish during the first 20 minutes of the first half but dominated the final 10 minutes of the half and appeared to have the momentum going into halftime tied, 0-0.

“They came out and played a little bit different system than they usually play and it took us a little while to figure out,” Francis said. “The second half we just had a lack of heart. That is what the disappointing part is.”

The 18th-ranked Longhorns took control from kickoff in the second half, and eventually scored in the 52nd minute. Junior forward Kelsey Carpenter crossed the ball to midfielder Priscilla Fite at the top of the penalty box. Fite brought the ball to the ground with her chest and fired a shot with her left foot that beat Kansas goalkeeper Julie Hanley, low to the right side of the goal.

After that goal, KU, despite playing more players forward, was unable to establish more offensive rhythm.

“I think our lack of heart and our lack of effort in the second half let us down,” Bush said. “Our coach has addressed it but I think it is something inside of us that we have to figure out. We will do it. We will figure it out.”

Senior Holly Gault, who was injured against Nebraska, started the game but played just 51 minutes, which may have contributed to the lack of offensive consistency.

“We have to do it more offensively,” Francis said. “We are not going to score goals if we don’t take some chances in the offensive side of the field.”

Kansas will face eighth-ranked Texas A&M on Sunday and will look to continue its trend of not losing back-to-back games this season.

“I think it is a game we have to win,” Francis said. “I just want us to show heart and play with heart for 90 minutes. That is all I want us to do.”