Coming off of two losses to open up Big 12 play, the Kansas State women’s soccer team is gearing up to play in this year’s Sunflower Showdown against Kansas on Thursday, Sept. 30.
“You know we actually played really well,” head coach Mike Dibbini said about the two losses to open conference play. “Unfortunately, a couple plays came back to haunt us. Texas Tech was a very good team, we had a few matchup issues, and obviously, Texas is a very good team, and we had some matchup issues there.”
The Wildcats lost to Texas 2-0 this past Thursday to open up Big 12 play and lost to Texas Tech 2-0 the following Sunday.
“We have to sort through those little moments in the game and continue to move forward,” Dibbini said. “We are making progress and teams are having to adjust to us a little bit and in the past, we’ve never seen that. It’ll come, it’s just a matter of believing in each other and if we can get on our front foot early and get the first goal and I think that gamer is different.”
Plans don’t always work out the way you hope, as is the case of super-senior Brookelynn Entz, who grew up in Newton, Kansas.
“Yeah, I grew up a big KU fan,” Entz said. “I went on a visit there, and obviously, it didn’t work out, and I’m really glad it didn’t. I really love being here and I’m really glad I’m here. So I think the KU game is really big for me, and I always feel like I have something to prove. My heart and soul is in this school and I know how much this game means and I just want to win.”
The other two seniors on the team, Emily Crain and Maguire Sullivan, have been on the team since 2018 and have seen the program grow from the ground up into what it is today.
“I think it’s night and day,” Crain said. “I mean, we are all really close and are all really supportive of each other. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been here — everyone respects each other. It’s definitely a family like what K-State talks about.”
With crowds now allowed back into stadiums across the world, fans showing support for the team and coming to the games helps them more than anything.
“Just come out and watch us play,” Sullivan said. “We really love when there’s fans in the stands. It really gets us energized on the field and I think that when there are people coming to watch, we have someone to play for and it really ups our game.”
K-State will take on Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Lawrence, with broadcast of the game provided by Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
“I think it’s gonna come down to the final week of play,” Dibbini said. “Top to bottom, in the Big 12, you see upsets like you saw what Baylor did to TCU, and it’s literally going to come down to the last week of play to make the Big 12 tournament. Our goal is to take it one game at a time and continue to get better and doing what we’re doing.”