KU Soccer Opens 2011 Season Versus SEC Foes This Weekend
Aug. 17, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas soccer team will open its regular-season Aug. 19-21 when it welcomes Tennessee and Arkansas for an SEC-studded weekend. KU will face the Lady Vols Friday night at 5 p.m. and then wrap up the weekend versus Arkansas Sunday at 1 p.m. The Jayhawks are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Butler Sunday in an exhibition match.
About the Jayhawks
In his 13th season, head coach Mark Francis returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners, including top offensive threats senior Kortney Clifton and junior Whitney Berry. Clifton led KU with four goals and nine points in 2010 and Berry (three goals, nine points) earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors. Junior Kat Liebetrau is back between the posts for Kansas having started all 19 matches last season and leading the Big 12 Conference with 5.95 saves per game.
The Jayhawks will have a relatively new look this season as two 2010 redshirt student-athletes help make up a group of 11 newcomers, including Liana Salazar and Ingrid Vidal, who both played with the Colombian national soccer team this past summer in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Tennessee played Samford to a 0-0 exhibition draw on Aug. 12 prior to making the trip to Lawrence this weekend for its regular-season opener. UT returns 16 letterwinners from its 10-9-1 (7-3-1 SEC) team a year ago, including players who scored 32 of UT’s 34 total goal. Senior forward Chelsea Hatcher, who led Tennessee with three shots versus Samford, paced the team in 2010 with eight goals and 20 points, while senior Emily Dowd is also back having netted seven goals and 15 points for the Lady Vols last season.
In the goal, Tennessee has a young squad of four underclassmen. Freshman Julie Eckel and redshirt sophomore Jessica Rolfs combined for the shutout between the posts. Eckel is one of 11 newcomers for the Lady Vols.
Before facing Kansas on Sunday, Arkansas will first host Southern Methodist Friday night in its regular-season opener, but it won’t be the Razorbacks’ first test of the year as they fell to Oklahoma 3-2 in overtime during an exhibition match last weekend. Against the Sooners, UA freshman Beth Stratton and senior Kailey Anders each scored, while Arkansas out-shot Oklahoma 16-14, including 11-6 in shots on goal.
Anders is one of five returning starters from UA’s 5-11-3 (2-7-2 SEC) team in 2010. Arkansas returns 15 letterwinners in all, but sports a young roster as 27 of its 33 players are underclassmen. Gone are three of the Razorbacks’ top four offensive threats from last season but junior forward Allie Chandler is back after finishing second on the squad with four goals, while her 11 points were third.
UA is also without its starting goalkeeper from a year ago. In its exhibition with SMU, the Razorbacks utilized freshmen Emily Lillard and Kelly Roliard in the goal.
KU is 9-5-2 all-time during season-opening games, including 5-2-1 at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. The Jayhawks have won their last three regular-season openers.
The Jayhawks will have their first road test next weekend, Aug. 26-28, as they travel to the west coast for the USD Tournament. KU will open the tournament versus USC Friday night at 7 p.m. CST. Play will conclude Sunday afternoon when Kansas takes on host San Diego at 1:30 p.m. CST.