️⚽️ Kansas to Host Iowa in First Round of NCAA Tournament
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the third time in four seasons and the ninth time in program history, the University of Kansas soccer team earned a bid to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship when the field was announced Monday afternoon. The Jayhawks will host the Iowa Hawkeyes in first-round play on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m., at Rock Chalk Park. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
The No. 3-seeded Jayhawks, who earned their first national seed since 2004, are making their fourth appearance in the tournament in the last six seasons and their ninth overall in the 25-year history of the program. Kansas (15-4-3) was the Big 12 Conference’s automatic qualifier after claiming the league tournament title on Nov. 10 in Kansas City, the program’s first. KU has been among the nation’s top squads from beginning-to-end this season, moving as high as No. 9 and never falling lower than No. 20 in the RPI, which ranks all 335 NCAA DI teams. The Jayhawks finished fifth in the regular-season Big 12 standings with a 4-2-3 record, however, KU has not lost a match since Oct. 3. KU’s nine-game unbeaten streak is the longest in program history.
KU and Iowa are the top-right portion of the bracket and are joined in its quadrant by No. 2 seed South Carolina. With a win, the Gamecocks would host the second and third rounds in Columbia on Nov. 22 and 24.
2019 JAYHAWKS AT A GLANCE
- KU enters this year’s NCAA Tournament at 15-4-3. The Jayhawks’ 15 wins tie for the second-most by a KU squad in a single season in program history.
- Kansas played 11 matches against teams included in this season’s NCAA Tournament field, recording a 5-3-3 record in those matches.
- The Jayhawks are coming off the program’s first Big 12 Tournament title after the 1-0 win over TCU on Nov. 10 in Kansas City. A league-record seven Jayhawks were named to the All-Tournament team, including sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Peters, who also garnered the event’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Honor.
- Kansas is currently riding a nine-match unbeaten streak, the longest in program history. During this stretch, KU is 6-0-3, has a +9 goal differential and a goals-against average of 0.50.
- KU finished fifth in the Big 12 regular-season standings, marking the eighth time in the last nine seasons the Jayhawks have finished sixth or higher on the league table.
- The Jayhawks have been among the top-20 of the NCAA RPI in every week of the rankings have been released this season, moving to as high as No. 9 in this week’s rankings. Kansas is 4-3-2 against teams inside the RPI top-50 and is 11-1-1 against teams outside the top-50. KU is also a member of the RPI’s fourth-highest rated league, the Big 12 Conference, which features six of its teams in the field of 64.
- KU was led in goals this season by senior forward Katie McClure, who netted 14 goals, the second-most in program history. Six of those 14 strikes, were game-winning goals, a figure that leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 4 in the NCAA.
- The Jayhawks saw three players honored on the All-Big 12 teams. Senior defender Addisyn Merrick was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and also earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team. Katie McClure was also a First Team selection, while junior midfielder Ceri Holland claimed a spot on the Second Team.
- The KU defense has been stout this past year. The KU backline has allowed one opponent goal or fewer in 20 of its last 23 outings, which includes 10 shutouts, the program’s most in a season since 2004.
The Hawkeyes are making their second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history after posting an overall record of 15-4-1. Iowa finished fifth in the Big Ten Conference with a 7-3-1 record. Iowa is coming off a 2-0 loss to Penn State in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament on Nov. 3.
Iowa began the year by winning each of its first nine matches. The Hawkeyes also closed out the regular-season with only one loss in its final seven outings prior to the loss to Penn State.
Iowa is led on the offensive side by Devin Burns and Natalie Winters who have each turned in six goals this season. They are two of nine Hawkeyes who have tallied multiple goals in 2019. Iowa’s 45 goals on the year led the Big Ten. The Hawkeye’s defense has allowed 18 goals in 20 games this year. Goalkeeper Claire Graves played in all 20 of those matches between the posts for Iowa, picking up six shutouts, collecting 45 saves and amassing a 0.87 goals-against average.
Iowa is led by Dave DiIanni, who is in his sixth season in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are 61-47-8 during his tenure.
The Division I Women’s Soccer Committee selected the 64-team field from 330 NCAA Division I institutions that sponsor women’s soccer. Kansas was one of 31 teams to receive an automatic bid by way of a conference tournament championship. The other 33 teams were at-large qualifiers. Five of 10 Big 12 teams earned bids: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Texas and Kansas.
First-round competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at 32 campus sites Nov. 15-17, including Lawrence. Winners advance to the second round to be held on Friday, Nov. 22.
SECOND AND THIRD ROUNDS
Second round and third competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at 16 campus sites Nov. 22 and 24 at non-predetermined campus sites. Winners of the second-round games advance to the third round to be held two days later on Sunday, Nov. 24. Winners of the third-round matches will then advance to one of four quarterfinal games.
Regionals for the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held Nov. 29-30 at four non-predetermined campus sites. Each quarterfinal winner will advance to semifinal action of the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup in San Jose, California to begin on Dec 6.
The 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College will be held at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, for the second time. Quarterfinal winners will compete in semifinal matches held Dec. 6 at 6 or 8:30 p.m. (CT). The national championship match of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup will be played at 7:30 p.m. (CT), Dec. 8.
KANSAS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Jayhawks are making their ninth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, all under 21-year head coach Mark Francis. Kansas is 6-8 all-time in the postseason and is making an appearance in back-to-back years for the first time since 2003 and 2004.
2001 (0-1): In its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance Kansas fell to the BYU Cougars, 1-0, at Abbot Sports Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska. BYU scored the eventual game-winner in the 76th minute.
2003 (2-1): Kansas advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history and picked up a memorable win over rival Missouri in the process. Kansas dispatched of Illinois State, 3-1, in the first-round match held in Columbia, Missouri, before topping the Tigers two days later, 2-0. Kansas scored twice in the final 13 minutes to advance to play top-seeded UCLA in the Sweet 16. The Bruins topped the Jayhawks in a tightly-contested match by a score of 1-0 on a goal in the 43rd minute.
2004 (1-1): In the first-round match Kansas defeated Creighton, 3-1, in the first NCAA Tournament game ever hosted by the Jayhawks. The Bluejays scored the game’s first goal in the eighth minute but Kansas went on to score three unanswered goals to advance to the second round for the second-straight season. Former Big 12 foe Nebraska then invaded Lawrence and ended Kansas’ season with a 2-1 overtime victory.
2008 (1-1): The Jayhawks made their first NCAA Tournament field in four seasons when they went up against Denver in the first-round match held in Palo Alto, California. Kansas defeated the Pioneers, 2-1, with the help of two first-half goals. The Jayhawks were topped by the top-seeded team in the tournament, Stanford, by a final score of 5-0.
2011 (0-1): Kansas welcomed Georgia to Lawrence for the first-round match in 2011. The Bulldogs scored twice within the first 13 minutes of the second half to defeat Kansas, 2-0.
2014 (0-1): The Jayhawks reignited the Border Showdown with former Big 12 foe Missouri when KU welcomed the Tigers to Rock Chalk Park for the first-round match in 2014. Missouri’s Taylor Grant scored twice and added an assist as the Tigers topped the Jayhawks, 3-1, on a cold afternoon in Lawrence.
2016 (1-1): Kansas got revenge from the first-round loss to Missouri two years prior when the Border rivals were paired in the 2016 tournament’s first round, once again hosted at Rock Chalk Park. Kansas’ Lois Heuchan netted the golden goal 40 seconds into the second overtime to lift her team to its first second-round appearance since 2008. In the second round, KU met up with eventual College Cup participant North Carolina in Chapel Hill, falling to the Tar Heels, 2-0.
2018 (1-1): The Jayhawks hosted a first-round match at Rock Chalk Park for the third time in five years when KU took on Saint Louis in Lawrence. Kansas again found itself in an opening-round overtime match and again found a golden goal victory, with Katie McClure’s strike sending KU through to the second round with a 2-1 win. It was déjà vu as the Jayhawks again met the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second round. UNC came out on top with a 4-1 win as the Tar Heels eventual advanced all the way to the NCAA Final.
The winner of the Kansas-Iowa contest will play the winner of the Virginia Tech-Xavier match (Friday) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 22. The match will be hosted by the highest-seeded advancing team among the four schools. If the Jayhawks win each of their first two matches, they will then play in the third-round game on Sunday, Nov. 24.