On a sweltering Thursday night in Manhattan, Kansas State faced off against the UTSA Roadrunners in a physical 2-0 victory.
The tone was set at kickoff. Both teams wore the other out early. K-State took advantage of possession, keeping the ball heavily in UTSA territory through much of the first half.
The Wildcats pushed a relentless attack, ending the half with a shot margin of 11-2.
Despite possession leaning in K-State’s favor, the Roadrunners held defensively until the 39th minute of play when a shot from defender Reece Walrod was blocked by UTSA goalkeeper Mia Krusinski. The ball was deflected off target but failed to be secured by Kruinski, leading to forward Jo Sees quickly kicking in the score for the Wildcats.
The first score would usher another offensive drive from the Wildcats, pushing the ball from mid-field into scoring range.
Sees again kept the ball in her possession until passing it off to forward Morgan Struttmann who kicked a high-arching ball into the top left of the net for the second and final score of the night.
“I knew I had the opportunity to shoot it and I knew I had to take it,” Struttmann said. “I knew that I could take the opportunity to just hit it right over her.”
The Wildcats came back from halftime holding a 2-0 lead, but UTSA would make offensive adjustments in the second half, putting pressure on K-State. The Roadrunners eventually capitalized on a scoring opportunity, landing a goal against goalie Murphy Sheaff but it was called back from an offsides penalty.
“They challenged us in the second half,” K-State head coach Mike Dibbini said. “They pressed us a little bit higher up the field, took away a little bit of what we were trying to do. I wish we could call a timeout and make some adjustments, but you know, we played through it and we figured it out.”
Through the second half, the Wildcats looked to hang on to their lead, emphasizing defense as the time ran down. As UTSA looked to get back into the game, play became more aggressive and penalties became more frequent.
“We don’t want to build up cards, and try to escape with no injuries,” Dibbini said. “It was a tough second half for us, but we played through it and our depth came in and helped us.”
Both teams combined for a total of 28 fouls on the night, with a yellow card given out to UTSA player Mackenzie Kaufhold in the second half. K-State ended the night with a shot advantage of 19-8 as both scores came from freshmen.
The Wildcats advance to 2-0-1 on the season, moving into its weekend matchup against Creighton in Buser Family Stadium at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27.