KU soccer closes nonconference slate with 3-1 win at South Florida

The Kansas soccer team defeated the South Florida Bulls 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in Tampa, Florida, giving Kansas its seventh victory of the season, which matches its win total from a year ago.

“I thought today was a gutsy performance by us,” KU coach Mark Francis said after Sunday’s match. “The tank was not full today for anybody. It really took the bench and substitutions that we made to keep the energy level up.”

KU (7-3) took a 1-0 lead when freshman forward Lexi Watts scored her second goal of the season in the 32nd minute on a steal and assist from junior midfielder Avery Smith. KU has scored the game’s first goal in nine of their 10 matches so far.

Less than three minutes into the second half, KU extended its lead to 2-0 when super-senior midfielder Rylan Childers ripped a shot inside the left post past the diving goalkeeper. Childers has scored a point in each of the last five games, marking the longest stretch of her KU career.

Later in the second half, Smith scored KU’s third goal of the game and Kansas cruised to the victory from there. USF (3-6) did not score until the 84th minute of the match. Sophomore forward Emma Beltz assisted on Smith’s goal.

“Sunday games are always a grind,” Smith said. “The team did a really good job grinding it out. It was important for us to get momentum going into Big 12 play next week. The goal is a big confidence booster for me personally and we’re excited for next week.”

Kansas will begin conference play on Thursday at Rock Chalk Park, where they will face Oklahoma State at 7 p.m.


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