Based on the recent meeting, the better seeded team seeks revenge, and the opponent brims with confidence. So it is when Kansas meets Oklahoma in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 women’s soccer tournament Wednesday at Swope Soccer Village.
The 8 p.m. quarterfinal is a rematch of the regular-season finale played last Friday, with the Sooners prevailing 1-0 in Norman, Okla.
The stakes are higher Wednesday as third-seeded Kansas seeks its first victory in the Big 12 Tournament since 2009. Oklahoma is the sixth seed.
“Playing OU again is kind of crazy, but we’re pretty fired up about it,” defender Caroline Van Slambrouck said. “We felt we lost on a crummy call.”
The Sooners scored the game’s lone goal on a penalty kick late in the first half. It marked Kansas’ third loss in its last four games to end the regular season, with two of them coming against the teams that are ranked ahead of the Jayhawks’ in the national polls, West Virginia and Texas Tech.
But it didn’t diminish one of Kansas’ best seasons since the program debuted 20 years ago. The 15-4 record marked the most victories since the 2004 team won 18 and the Big 12 championship, and the Jayhawks have won eight more games than last season.
At 5-3 in the Big 12, Kansas had its first winning league record since 2007.
“Our mentality changed,” Van Slambrouck said. “Every single day, we attacked practice instead of being complacent. I think having a poor season last year woke up a lot of girls.”
Defense has been stout. Van Slambrouck, a senior from Kingwood, Texas, moved from an outside defender to the middle this year and anchored a back line that helped surrender the fewest goals among Big 12 teams this season. She was chosen All-Big 12 for the first time.
“She deserved it, hands down,” Kansas coach Mark Francis said. “She’s been phenomenal for us.”
The Jayhawks haven’t lost a game this season in which they’ve scored, falling three times 1-0 and once by a 2-0 score.
Kansas looks to reverse its Big 12 Championship fortune in Kansas City, and ultimately earn an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 2011.
“The regular season has been great, but it’s just put us in a position to play for more,” Francis said. “The bottom line is we want to keep playing.”
UMKC women are No. 2 seed
UMKC, coming off its best regular season in program history, will be the No. 2 seed at the Western Athletic Conference Championship, which begins Thursday in Seattle.
The Kangaroos, who tied Seattle for first with an 8-1-1 league record, will meet the Utah Valley-Bakersfield winner at 9:30 p.m. Friday. The championship game is Sunday.
UMKC, 12-4-3 overall, set a school record for regular-season victories. The Kangaroos tied Seattle, the top seed, 1-1, during the regular season.
MIAA women start Wednesday
The Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association women’s tournament starts Wednesday with quarterfinals on campus sites before the semifinals and finals are played Friday and Sunday at the College Boulevard Activities Complex in Olathe.
Top-seeded Central Missouri plays host to Northeastern State at 7 p.m. No. 7 seed Emporia State plays at No. 2 Southwest Baptist at 2 p.m., No. 6 Missouri Western plays at No. 3 Fort Hays State at 6 p.m. and No. 5 Lindenwood plays at No. 4 Central Oklahoma at 3 p.m.
The semifinal matches will be at 4 and 7 p.m. Friday and the championship match will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at CBAC. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $2 for youth soccer players in grades K-8.
Big 12 women’s soccer tournament
Where: At Swope Soccer Village, 63rd and Lewis in Kansas City
Tickets: $9 per day, $14 for three days
Defending champion: West Virginia
▪ West Virginia (No. 1 seed) vs. TCU (8), 11:30 a.m.
▪ Texas Tech (4) vs. Texas (5), 2 p.m.
▪ Oklahoma State (2) vs. Baylor (7), 5:30 p.m.
▪ Kansas (3) vs. Oklahoma (6), 8 p.m.
▪ West Virginia-TCU winner vs. Texas Tech-Texas winner, 5:30 p.m.
▪ Oklahoma State-Baylor winner vs. Kansas-Oklahoma winner, 8 p.m.
▪ Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)