Kansas Soccer Unveils 2013 Schedule

April 23, 2013

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Another challenging schedule awaits the Jayhawks as six games versus NCAA Tournament participants and 10 RPI top-100 opponents highlight the 2013 University of Kansas soccer schedule, released Tuesday by head coach Mark Francis.

The 2013 slate has a different look than that of the 2012 season, which saw the Jayhawks leave the friendly confines of the Jayhawk Soccer Complex just five times. Kansas will not be as fortunate next season as it will play 10 of its 19 regular-season games on the road. The expanded travel does not concern the KU coaches, who think more road matches could benefit the 2013 squad.

“The advantage of a lot more road games is we have more chances to help out our RPI,” explained Francis. “A win on the road is considered more valuable than a win at home so having more of those opportunities could definitely benefit us when we’re looking at rankings at the end of the season.”

The Jayhawks will again begin the year with an exhibition contest when they play host to Nebraska-Omaha on Aug. 18 at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

Kansas will then kick off the non-conference portion of its season, which features 11 contests versus squads from seven difference conferences. The regular season will begin on Aug. 23 with a 7 p.m. road game against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville.

KU then returns to Lawrence on Aug. 25 for its home opener against Big West foe, Pacific. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Kansas will close out the month of August in Springfield, Mo., as the Jayhawks face Missouri State at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25. KU has played the Bears each of the last three seasons and has come away victorious in each, including a 4-1 win last season in Lawrence.

From there the Jayhawks will open September in Lawrence versus Purdue in a 1 p.m. matchup on Sept. 1. The Boilermakers will be looking for payback as the Jayhawks escaped from West Lafayette two seasons ago with a 1-0 overtime victory.

The next two weekends will be filled with tournament play as Kansas competes on the road at the Sun Devil Desert Classic and hosts the Kansas Invitational. The Jayhawks will travel to Tempe, Ariz. to take on two of the state’s top programs in Arizona and Arizona State, with the game against the Wildcats opening the weekend on Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m. (CT) and the match with the host Sun Devils taking place on Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m. The KU-ASU match is sure to be another thriller after the two teams played to a 2-2 draw last fall in Lawrence.

KU will then return home to host another installment of the Kansas Invitational as it takes on a pair teams out of the West Coast Conference. The Jayhawks will begin the tournament on Sept. 13 as they play San Diego at 5 p.m. San Francisco will try to dethrone KU at 12 p.m. Sept. 15 to close out the weekend.

The following weekend will see both road and home matches against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and the Illinois State Redbirds. KU will trek to Brookings, S.D., on Sept. 20 for a 6 p.m. match against the squad the Jayhawks have beaten twice in the last four seasons and recently defeated 2-0 as part of KU’s spring season. ISU will then venture to Lawrence for a Sept. 22 date with KU. The team that went 13-5-2 in 2012 will kick off against the Jayhawks at 1 p.m.

Kansas completes its non-conference slate with perhaps its toughest test of the season, a road match with Santa Clara on Sept. 27. The Broncos boasted a final RPI ranking of 13 in 2012 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The match, which will be the two programs’ first meeting, will kick off at 9 p.m. (CT).

“Our non-conference schedule is very good,” continued Francis. “We’ve got a lot of games that could potentially really help our RPI. Also playing teams from several different conferences could give us some new looks that will help us in conference play.”

KU’s eight-game Big 12 Conference slate will begin Oct. 4 when it travels to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State at 7 p.m. The Jayhawks also travel to Big 12 foes West Virginia (Oct. 18), Texas Tech (Oct. 25) and Oklahoma State (Oct. 27).

Play continues at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex as KU hosts its first Big 12 matches, welcoming Texas (Oct. 6) and TCU (Oct. 11).

A daunting stretch then awaits the Jayhawks as they play three-straight games versus NCAA squads from a year ago. The Jayhawks will make their first trip to Morgantown, W.Va., to take on defending Big 12 Champion West Virginia on Oct. 18 before making a quick turnaround for an Oct. 20 date with Baylor in Lawrence. Baylor advanced to the third round of last season’s NCAA tournament and boasted the conference’s highest final RPI ranking of 10.

Kansas will look for revenge the following weekend when it travels to Lubbock, Texas, Oct. 25 to try and take down Texas Tech, the team that beat the Jayhawks twice in 2012, including KU’s final game of the year in the Big 12 Tournament. The Jayhawks close out their October slate two days later with a game versus perennial Big 12 power Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

“We know the last four games of October will be a tough stretch for us,” continued Francis. “You hope by that time in the season the team is really hitting its stride as far as the level you’re playing and everyone is comfortable with their role. We played all four of those teams tough last year and I’m sure it won’t be any different next fall.”

Kansas returns to Lawrence for its 2013 home finale versus Oklahoma on Nov. 1 for Senior Day.

The Jayhawks will only need to travel 30 miles for the Big 12 Championship to be hosted in Kansas City, Kan., at Sporting Park. The tournament dates are set for Nov. 6-10.

“Having the conference tournament so close will be huge for us,” concluded Francis. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get some of the Kansas City community out to support us. We’ll have the advantage now with the tournament being so close.”

KU concluded the 2012 campaign with a 10-8-2 record, ending the season with a loss in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship. The 2013 Jayhawks return four of their top five scoring leaders, including forward Caroline Kastor, who led the squad with 11 goals and two assists (24 points) in her junior season. Also headlining will be forwards Ashley Williams and Courtney Dickerson, who wrapped up their freshmen campaigns combining for 12 goals and four assists in 2012.

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