After last week’s match against West Virginia was postponed, the Kansas State soccer team is relieved to get back on the field at Buser Family Park at 7 p.m. Friday.
“We are excited to play after two weeks,” senior Brookelyn Entz said. “Last weekend, just sitting and watching the Big 12 games, it’s good to be able to scout, but I wanted to play.”
What makes Friday all the more exciting for the Wildcats is the opponent: the in-state rival Kansas Jayhawks, who will enter with a 2-0 record and a No. 6 national ranking.
Head coach Mike Dibbini said his team knows the stakes of the match up — and what a victory over the Jayhawks would mean his program.
“(Kansas) is a very good team,” Dibbini said. “They know how to get it done in big moments in big games. I also think that we have a fun and competitive opportunity ahead of us to showcase what we can do at home is important. Our players are ready for the challenge.
“It’s the Sunflower showdown. They want to have fun. They have the opportunity to play the defending Big 12 Conference tournament champion — and a top-10 team right now.”
K-State soccer is in its fifth year of existence. The Wildcats won the first matchup against Kansas in 2017, which doubled as their first Big 12 win in program history.
But the last two matches in 2018 and 2019 didn’t go as well for the Wildcats.
In 2018, they were blanked 2-0. And last season they were shut out again 3-0.
“We don’t want to come off the field like we did last year,” Entz said. “We were embarassed to walk off the field. They scored in like the first two minutes of the game. I feel like we gave up in the first half. It should be a fight till the very end. That is not how a rivalry game should be, and we are not going to let that happen again.”
Shelby Lierz is ready to face off against Kansas goalkeeper Sarah Peters.
“I am so excited. I love playing against (Kansas),” Lierz said. “Without having the game last week, that helps us that we had that extra week of rest to work on some team-building things. I think we are really ready to go and to get after KU this week.”
Liarz hopes they can play a full game from start to finish.
“I hope we can come out strong. I hope we can give ... stick in through the full 90 minutes of the game and pull off an upset,” Lierz said. “We want to play our game: keep the ball in (our) possession. We know where we want to shoot the ball — low and hard. We want to pull out their defenders and get those second balls.”
As this Wildcats continue to build their program, translating positive practices into games has been somewhat of a challenge.
The Wildcats hope they can put together a complete game to upend the Jayhawks.
“We always want to beat KU,” Entz said. “We want to just come out and play like we practice. We always practice well, and sometimes how we practice doesn’t translate into how we play. We are getting better each and every day. We need come out and show (how we practice) on the field.
“We are going to have to make that happen. We want to protect our home field. We are not going to let them walk all over us. We are going to be the energizers of the game.”