On Friday night, Valley Fields presented the Kansas Show starring Kansas produced and directed by Kansas.
Or at least, it felt that way for fans in the stands as the Jayhawks dominated large swaths of their match against the Golden Eagles. The Kansas offense came out shooting and Amanda Engel collected her first of three saves inside of two minutes. Marquette spent the early minutes of the match defending their half of the pitch, but caught a break when a desperate Kaitlyn Stroud made a very big mistake in the seventh minute.
With Liz Bartels charging, Stroud either found herself out too far and didn't retreat or inexplicably intentionally came out of the 18 yard box. Regardless of the why, Stroud was unable to play the ball with her hands and the fleet footed Bartels sent the ball through her legs. With the closest Kansas defender no where close enough to catch Bartels, Stroud grabbed Bartels' jersey as the attacker easily ran around her. Bartels went down and although a clear scoring opportunity has been denied, Marquette had to "settle" for a free kick and a yellow on Stroud.
Jacie Jermier made the Kansas goalkeeper pay and sent the ball upper ninety to put the Jayhawks in a hole for the first time this season. Future opponents take note (or better yet don't): Jermier now leads the team in scoring with three goals and all have come off free kicks.
The script then changed with Marquette putting the pressure on and even leading Kansas in shots; however, as halftime approached the Jayhawks returned to their early form. Engel and the Marquette defense withstood the late barrage.
The second half turned into more of the same with the Jayhawks dominating possession. But the Golden Eagles defense held even as the ladies looked increasingly tired. With the finish line in sight, Marquette got the ball into Kansas' half and kept it there enabling them to run out the clock and claim the win. The Jayhawks might have been the more dominant team for most of the match, but Marquette was ultimately the better team when it mattered.
Engel finished the night with three saves. On defense, Jermier and Haley Fritzlen were straight up picking Kansas' pockets when they attempted to attack up the flanks late. Meanwhile, the tenacious midfield seemed to be in the right place at the right time to make the necessary. The defense harkened to those of the past and it was glorious.
Up next: LSU at the Valley at 1 pm on Sunday.