K-State soccer team falls to Oklahoma in season finale

Junior defender Emily Crain moves the ball towards the goal in hopes of scoring during K-State's 2-0 loss to KU on March 6, 2021. (File photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Around the same time as Kansas State sophomore Dylan Phillips hit a walk-off in extra innings to beat the Oklahoma baseball team in Manhattan, the Kansas State women’s soccer team allowed a 108th-minute goal from Oklahoma freshman Cailey England to fall to the Sooners in Norman 1-0 in Saturday’s season finale.

A 0-0 game for most of the game, Oklahoma used a crosser to score the deciding goal and win its first game of the season and first under new head coach Mark Carr. Controlling 72 percent of the possession during the match and outshooting K-State 9-1 in the first half, K-State head coach Mike Dibbini said he credits Oklahoma’s energy from the start of the game.

“I think they were just a little bit more aggressive in the first half and it was just a motivation thing,” Dibbini said in a release to K-State Athletics. “They were a lot more motivated and a lot more aggressive than we were in the first half.”

At goalkeeper, K-State freshman Peyton Pearson recorded seven saves and was two minutes shy of her third shutout of the season in her return to her home state of Oklahoma. Pearson will head into the offseason vying for a more permanent role in the starting lineup, competing against freshmen Cameron Illingworth and Alaina Werremeyer, as well as junior Rachel Harris, who didn’t play this season because of an injury. Dibbini said he welcomes the competition because it will help all of them progress as players.

“Peyton had solid performances across the board this season when you can pick up that many saves and keep us in matches and be consistent doing it,” Dibbini said. “Like I’ve said, it’s great that we have some depth in that position. We’re looking for them to continue to grow and figure out ways to challenge each other and get better.”

Next season, K-State will bring back 2020 All-Big 12 First Team pick senior Brookelynn Entz, who is also a candidate for the MAC Hermann Trophy for the nation’s best player. Entz owns 28 school records.

Ending the season with a 3-9-2 record and a 3-6-0 record in the Big 12, Dibbini is enthusiastic about the upcoming season, the growing roster the team will have and the direction the program is headed in.

“I think, going into next season, we’re heading in the right direction in terms of having a lot more depth for the players to really not take a day off,” Dibbini said. “The roster and the depth of the roster is going to allow us to get more every single day out of the players as we continue to grow this program. So, basically, day in and day out, if somebody is not performing, somebody else can step in and fill those shoes right away. We won’t lose much of whatever we’re looking for in whatever position that might be.”