Wildcats end road trip on low note, lose 2-1 in Arkansas

Sophomore Hali Sutter heads the ball away from freshman Bridget Howard during the first scrimmage of the Wildcat team on Aug. 6, 2016, at the K-State Soccer Complex. White defeated Purple 2-0. (File Photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

The K-State Wildcats (2-4-2) allowed their first comeback, falling 2-1 to the Little Rock Trojans (5-3-0) Sunday afternoon.

The loss was the second straight for the Wildcats, who with the loss, also completed their eight-game road trip to start their season.

Before Sunday’s game, K-State was 2-0-0 in games where it scored first.

K-State took the lead just 1:03 into the game after redshirt sophomore defender Haley Sutter intercepted a Little Rock pass near the Trojan net and scored on the first shot on goal of the game for either team.

“At the beginning of the game we talked about doing high pressure to press their backline and they would get shaky with the ball,” Sutter said to K-State Sports. “That is what motivated me and the rest of the forwards to step up and attack the backline. It kind of made them nervous. I was super excited.”

It was not, however, a sign of things to come.

After Sutter’s goal, the Wildcats only managed two more shots on net in the entire game, one in the first half, including one that hit the post, and one in the second.

The same could not be said of the Trojans. Though Sutter gave the Wildcats the lead, the Trojans mounted a steady attack, which included two saves by K-State redshirt junior goalkeeper Miranda Larkin, one shot sent wide and one blocked by the K-State defense.

“We are almost finding out something new about our team every match,” head coach Mike Dibbini said to K-State Sports. “We had a good game plan in the beginning and we scored a quick goal. The pressure was good. After we scored and we were up so early, we realized there was a lot more game left and got a little complacent in our pressure.”

Then, in the 29th minute, Little Rock sophomore midfielder Jaclyn Purvine collected a pass into the six-yard box and beat Larkin.

After that, it was all Little Rock. The Trojans scored again in the second half when a K-State pass went right to Trojan redshirt freshman midfielder Harrison Hayworth, who was at the top of the goalkeeper box, and beat Larkin.

The two goals allowed were the most Larkin has allowed in a game this season. She took the loss despite making more saves than Little Rock senior goalkeeper Sara Small.

The Wildcats ended the game with only five total shots, just three of which were on goal, while the Trojans had 13 shots, seven of them on goal, forcing Larkin to make five saves.

As time expired Sunday, so too did the end of the first half of K-State’s inaugural season.

The Wildcats now return home, where they’re scheduled to play four straight games to complete the month of September.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.