Jayhawks Prep for FC Kansas City Match Saturday

March 28, 2013

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After sweeping its international competition last week in Europe, the Kansas soccer team continue its spring exhibition slate with a match versus the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) FC Kansas City Saturday, March 30. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., and will be held at Shawnee Mission North High School Stadium in Overland Park, Kan.

KU, which lost its spring opener to Nebraska 3-2, moved to 4-1 on the exhibition season after notching four-straight wins over various European clubs last week. It has been the defense that has stuck out so far to the KU coaches as Kansas allowed only two goals during its four-game European tour.

“Defensively I think we’ve been doing very well,” said head coach Mark Francis. “I’ve been very happy with the backfield and our keeper (Kaitlyn) Stroud. We’ve worked a lot on that in the spring so it’s good to see that it is paying off.”

Seven different Jayhawks have collected goals in KU’s five spring matches thus far, with juniors Caroline Kastor and Ali Kimura and freshman Ashley Williams leading the way with three apiece. The Jayhawks’ offensive distribution comes as no surprise coming off a year which saw 11 different players score either a goal or collect an assist. Francis has been pleased with his team’s attack during the spring season but knows there is still room for improvement.

“Offensively we’ve been crediting a ton of chances but just not converting,” continued Francis. “We really haven’t worked on that part of the game much so far but we need to do a little better converting on the opportunities. Hopefully that will come the more we work on it, but that’s the main thing we need to use the spring to improve on.”

The Jayhawks will need to be at their best as they go up against a talented and seasoned professional squad in FC Kansas City, which is preparing to kick off its inaugural season on April 13. KU will see a familiar face in the FCKC lineup as former Jayhawk Whitney Berry is preparing to begin her first season with the club. Berry was drafted by FC Kansas City in the third round of the NWSL’s collegiate draft on Jan. 18. The Wichita, Kan., native ended her career last fall as KU’s all-time leader in assists (32), No. 2 in career points (78) and tied for third-most all-time with her 23 goals. She was also No. 2 on the school charts in shots, amassing 267 during her four-year career.

“Saturday’s game will be a good opportunity for the girls,” concluded Francis. “They’re definitely going to challenge us and that’s really what we’ve been looking for this spring. We played some tough clubs in Europe and now we get to come back to play another competitive team which will do a good job of stretching us and helping us see what areas we need to improve on.”

Watch for a complete recap of from Saturday’s game by logging on to KUAthletics.com. Live updates will also be availiable by following on twitter at KU_Soccer.

KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.