Kansas State got just about the best atmosphere it could have hoped for in its home opener. The PA announcer proudly announced the crowd of 2,403 set a record by nearly 1,000 for Division I soccer in Kansas, which is presumably significant because there’s another D-1 team in the state, but I’m not sure.
That energy seemed to give the Wildcats some life early, and they applied plenty of pressure to the Northern Iowa defense. Unfortunately, soccer can be a cruel sport.
Midfielder Dora Gallo hit the crossbar on a long shot early and an unfortunate mishit with an open goal waiting off a corner cost K-State a chance to take the lead. UNI scored right before (on what appears to be a possible handball) and right after halftime, good enough for a 2-1 win despite Tatum Wagner’s goal off a great through ball late. The Wildcats outshot the Panthers 18-9. Full highlights can be found here.
K-State could get some redemption this weekend, the only one this season featuring two home matches. First up on Friday is Oral Roberts, an interesting chance to see where the Wildcats stand compared to their future Big 12 foes since the Golden Eagles lost to Oklahoma State 4-1 and fell to both Texas Tech and TCU 1-0. Sunday’s game is one Kansas State really should win, against a 1-8-1 South Dakota, who lost at Northern Iowa 3-0 earlier this month.
Overall, the ‘Cats sit at 2-5-2 with seven matches remaining, including tough tests at 7-1-1 Drake and Texas. It would be nice to see K-State compete at home and continue its rather impressive trend of never losing by more than two goals. Another road win or two could be considered just an added bonus at this point in the season.