The Wildcats kicked off its spring slate on March 6 with a 2-0 loss to rival Kansas at Buser Family Park.
After losing seven players from the fall and adding two transfers, Kansas State looked a lot different on the field Saturday. The roster features 18 players on the field and three goalkeepers.
“The biggest difference from the fall going into the spring is we’re really thin in the personnel and field players especially for 90 minutes at this level,” head coach Mike Dibbini said. “As you can see, we competed hard but we kind of ran out of gas a little bit and didn’t have enough players in the rotation to get players in and out and get those breathers so we had to manage the game a bit differently.”
K-State held KU at bay for the most part in the first half, even being outshot 7-2, only one of those shots for KU was on goal. KU finally broke through near the 70th minute.
K-State defender Emily Crain mishit the ball inside the box and it fell at the feet of Kaily Lane who passed it right to Rylan Childers who finished it off into the left side of the net in the 67th minute.
“We made a mistake on a ball out of the air that kind of put them in a position to have that one good opportunity and they tucked it away so that kind of took our breath away there,” Dibbini said. “When that happened they built momentum and they got another one within the next 10 minutes.”
Eleven minutes later, KU’s Samantha Barnett found the head of Shira Elinav inside the box who put away the dagger in the 78th minute, putting the Jayhawks up 2-0.
“They opened up the scoring and once that happens, the floodgates kind of opened,” senior midfielder Brookelynn Entz said. “But I thought we played way better in the second half than the first half. I thought we kept the ball more, we had more chances.”
K-State managed to outshoot Kansas in the second half 6-5. Only two shots were on goal. The Wildcats struggled to finish in the fall, which translated over into the spring portion of the season.
“We had some chances. If we could put one of those away early and we take the first punch as far as scoring the first goal, the game could be different,” Dibbini said. “We had our chances, they had their chances, they got the first one and I knew it was going to come down to whoever scores first.”
Junior defender Kursten von Klahr, North Carolina State transfer, shot twice in the game, one of three Wildcats to do so. Playing all 90 minutes and having one shot on goal, she and Ohio State transfer Aliyah El-Naggar both immediately made an impact on the pitch after just recently stepping foot on campus.
“It was good. I think we’re still getting used to playing with each other but I really like the effort that we put in tonight,” von Klahr said. “We won a lot of balls and we put up a good fight. I think it can only get better from here, we’ll get more comfortable with each other and just keep playing.”
Kansas outshot K-State 12-8, led by Childers who had two shots and one goal. Freshmen forwards Maddie Weichel and Presli Pearson joined Von Klahr with two shots and one shot on goal.
Freshman goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer recorded two saves and let two balls get past her on the night while KU keeper Sarah Peters recorded three saves and had a clean sheet.
K-State will travel to Lawrence next Saturday looking to avenge the loss.
“Overall, first match, a lot of different personnel players that we tried to get in there and inserted in there, they stepped up and did a good job,” Dibinni said. “A lot to work with, we got to get them next week. Hopefully, we can build from this and move on to the next one.”