Kansas Soccer Kicks Off Practice With Two-A-Days

Aug. 11, 2005

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 2005 University of Kansas soccer team opened its two-a-day practices on Thursday. The Jayhawks will practice 14 more times in preparation for their exhibition match against Drake on Sat., Aug. 20. KU, the 2004 Big 12 Champions, is coming off an 18-5 record last season and return four starters to this years squad.

“So far the intensity has been really, really good and a lot of the incoming players look really sharp,” said reigning Big 12 Coach of the Year Mark Francis. “The players that had a good spring look like they have carried that over.”

“This week, we are going over individual and group defending drills,” commented Francis. “We want to make sure everyone understands the basic principals on how we want to do stuff. Next week, we’ll get into team stuff and who is going to play which position.”

As the defending Big 12 Champions, Francis knows his players will have a target on their backs this season. “They realize when you are the defending champions everyone is out to get you, so we have to be that much more prepared and that much better every time we play.”

KU’s all-time leading scorer, Caroline Smith, is one of five seniors looking to carry the Jayhawks to their third-straight NCAA Tournament.

“It is my last year and I’m not ready to be done,” said the Edina, Minn., native. “I’m looking to do as well as I can and get this team as far as we can go. We are getting along really well and we will have good chemistry, the big thing is keeping everyone healthy and taking it one step at a time.”

KU has seven newcomers on this years squad, including six freshmen: Jessica Bush, Missy Geha, Kristin Graves, Julie Hanley, Jenny Murtaugh and Sara Rogers.

“The new players have been awesome,” said Francis. “Their confidence and fitting in with the team is happening really quick and they look comfortable already.”

As a freshman in 2002, Smith burst onto the scene at KU and was named to the All-Big 12 Newcomer Team. She has also been impressed with the early play of the freshmen class.

“It has been fun to see the new players,” said Smith. “From the scrimmages my freshman year to the scrimmages now the quality of play is so much better than it was then.”

After its exhibition match against Drake, Kansas will stay home and play its first four regular season matches at the Jayhawk Complex. KU opens the regular season slate against Michigan at 5 p.m. on Aug. 26.

To purchase your 2005 Kansas soccer single-game and season tickets call 1-800-34-HAWKS or visit www.kuathletics.com.