KU soccer set to take on UNC in Round of 32

Grace Hagan takes a shot in the first half in the first half against Saint Louis. Kansas advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with its 2-1 overtime win Friday at Rock Chalk Park.

After a thrilling double overtime win over Saint Louis, the University of Kansas women’s soccer team will look to keep things rolling in the NCAA tournament.

In the second round, KU is slated to take on No. 1-seed North Carolina at 4 p.m. Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park. It marks the second time in three seasons that the Jayhawks will square off with the NCAA’s all-time winningest D1 program. In 2016, the Tar Heels topped the Jayhawks in Chapel Hill, scoring twice in the second half to claim the 2-0 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Entering Friday, Kansas (12-5-3, 5-4-0 Big 12) is on a three-match unbeaten streak. The Jayhawks topped then-No. 13 West Virginia on Oct. 25, playing then-No. 17 Texas to a 0-0 draw in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals on Oct. 28. The team then downed Saint Louis in the first round of the NCAA tournament last week in Lawrence by a 2-1 margin.

North Carolina (18-3-1, 10-0-0 ACC) enters Friday's match with just one loss in its last 14 outings. The Tar Heels claimed the ACC regular-season title, completing the league schedule undefeated and without a tie for the first time since 2006.

This season, the Jayhawks have only been shut out four times and scored multiple goals in eight of their matches. KU forwards Katie McClure and Grace Hagan have combined for 17 of the Jayhawks' 27 goals. McClure leads the way with 10 scores, while Hagan has seven. On defense, freshman goalkeeper Sarah Peters has collected 54 saves for a .740 save percentage.

Meanwhile, North Carolina has had a stellar season on the defensive end. The Tar Heels have allowed 11 goals in over 2,000 minutes of play, which includes seven shutouts in their last eight outings. Senior goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak has tallied 26 saves and six solo shutouts. ACC Offensive Player of the Year Alessia Russo leads the team with six goals.

The match will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.


Len Shaffer

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