LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU Athletics) – Forty seconds into double overtime, Kansas junior Lois Heuchan kicked the Jayhawks past rival Missouri and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament in a thrilling finish Sunday afternoon at Rock Chalk Park. Heuchan’s golden goal in the 101st minute gave her team a 1-0 win over the Tigers and booked Kansas its first trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 2008.
The win lifted the Jayhawks to 11-5-4 on the season, while Missouri’s campaign came to an end at 11-7-2.
“I’m just proud of our kids,” said head coach Mark Francis following the match. “We knew it would be a tough game. They’re (Missouri) a very good team. We knew against them it was going to be a battle because of the way they play, they’re very offensive-minded. You have to do a good job defending against them and I know when we were scouting them we said, ‘If we do a good job defending their key attacking players, we’d have a good chance to win the game’. I thought that really was the key to the game for us today. Just really proud of our kids and ready to head to North Carolina.”
With the two squads playing even for over 100 minutes, it was the Jayhawks that finally broke through off a close-range strike from Heuchan. Sophomore Grace Hagan found space in the right side of the penalty area, where she had enough space to play pin-point pass through a host of defenders to Heuchan, who had taken up residence at the far post. The Castle Douglas, Scotland product corralled the pass, made a player miss, and sent a shot into the side netting to bring the match to an abrupt and cheerful halt.
Sophomore Lois Heuchan’s strike in the 101st minute sent the Jayhawks to the Second Round
The goal, the third of the season for Heuchan, pushed the Jayhawks into the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the squad made it past the opening round in 2008.
Heuchan’s score wasn’t the only time a time saw a prime opportunity in the match. Both squads nearly put in the game’s first goal on several occasions in regulation and overtime. The Tigers tested the KU defenders without reservation in the early minutes of the second half, and ended the game with 12 corner kicks, 10 of which came in the final 55 minutes of regulation and overtime.
Kansas also had some close misses in the second half. One of the Jayhawks’ best looks came in the 75th minute when freshman Addisyn Merrick blasted in a shot from just outside the 18-yard box. The shot forced Missouri goalkeeper Kelsey Dossey into a diving save. Dossey had trouble with the strike as it nearly went through her hands and over the goal line, but the Tiger junior grabbed it just in the nick of time.
In the overtime period Kansas posted four shots to Missouri’s two with the final try making it into the back of the net when Heuchan connected on the pass from Hagan.
The Jayhawks outshot the Tigers by a tally of 17-14, which included a 5-2 advantage in the 11 minutes of extra time. Heuchan and senior Tayler Estrada led all players with five shots.
Redshirt freshman Ragan Gibbs tallied her third career start in goal for the Jayhawks and was stellar. She collected three saves and added a host of plays that kept the potent Missouri attack at bay. The shutout was the first clean sheet of Gibb’s career.
Kansas will now face No. 2-seed North Carolina in the second round Friday, Nov. 18. Kickoff from Chapel Hill is set for 5 p.m. (CT).