Kansas Opens Season at Drake Sunday

Aug. 20, 2009

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Coach Francis Weekend Preview

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas Jayhawks open their 15th season of varsity soccer this week, traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, to face non-conference foe Drake University at 1 p.m., at Drake Stadium.

Statistical updates from the match will be available via Gametracker, which is produced by CBS College Sports. The link for Gametracker is available on the kuathletics.com web site.

About the Jayhawks
Kansas enters the 2009 season with high expectations, coming off a 13-8-2 finish in 2008. The Jayhawks qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time under Head Coach Mark Francis last season, advancing to the second round. KU returns nine starters and 20 letterwinners from last year’s team, including all-region selections Emily Cressy, Monica Dolinsky and Estelle Johnson.

Francis is in his 11th season with the Jayhawks and is the school’s all-time winningest coach with a record of 117-78-15. Since the beginning 2001 season, only two other Big 12 coaches have more victories than Francis.

Last Week
The Jayhawks held a Crimson and Blue intrasquad match on Sunday, Aug. 16. Senior Shannon McCabe and freshman Whitney Berry tallied goals, while sophomore Emily Cressy added an assist as the Blue Team scored a 2-0 exhibition victory over the Crimson Team in KU’s only tune-up before the regular season.

Scouting the Bulldogs
Drake enters the 2009 season hoping to improve on the progress it made under second-year head coach Lindsey Horner. Horner, a 2002 Kansas graduate, led the `Dogs to an 8-10-1 record last season after a 7-10-2 finish the previous year. The Bulldogs placed third in the Missouri Valley Conference last season with a 4-2 mark against the league.

The team will be led by All-MVC Second Team forwards Crystal Townley and Elizabeth Worle. Worle, a senior from Coon Rapids, Minn., tallied a pair of goals in Drake’s 3-2 exhibition triumph over Washburn on Saturday, Aug. 15. Worle paced the Bulldogs last season with nine goals and three assists. Drake hasn’t settled on a starting goalkeeper as sophomore Kourtney Arnold and redshirt junior Alyssa Lee are both vying to replace departed All-MVC Second Team keeper Jenny Schroeder.

Kansas won the only other regular season meeting between the teams, 2-1, on Oct. 5, 2007. Only seven Jayhawks who played in that contest remain on the roster, including senior Monica Dolinsky and junior Rachel Morris, who scored the Kansas goals.

Jayhawk-Bulldog Connections

  • Drake head coach Lindsey Horner played at Kansas from 1997-2000, playing for head coach Mark Francis for her final two seasons.
  • Drake senior forward Crystal Townley was teammates with Kansas senior Estelle Johnson on the Colorado State `88 ODP team.
  • Drake sophomore midfielder Amanda Wallace and Kansas goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau both grew up in Centennial, Colo., and were teammates on the Colorado State `88 ODP team.
  • Drake junior midfielder Abi Dodds played on the Kansas State `90 ODP team with current Jayhawks Erin Ellefson, Erin Lewis and Geneva Magness.

Francis Against the Missouri Valley
In his 10 seasons at Kansas, head coach Mark Francis has posted a 15-1 record against Missouri Valley Conference opponents, including a 4-0 mark against the league the past two seasons. Francis’ Jayhawks’ only loss to a team from the Missouri Valley Conference came in 2006, a 1-0 loss at Creighton.

Kansas has only met Drake once on the soccer pitch, a 2-1 Jayhawk win in 2007.

Prolific Offense
The Jayhawk offense improved by leaps and bounds in 2008, scoring 45 goals – the second-highest total in team history – and producing 126 points. KU averaged nearly two goals per game (1.96), which was up nearly a goal per game from its 2007 total (1.10).

Monica Dolinsky recorded the fourth-highest scoring season in Jayhawk history with nine goals, 10 assists and 28 points. Her season totals were the most productive since Caroline Smith’s junior campaign of 32 points. Dolinsky’s 10 assists also tied for the second-most by a Jayhawk in a single season.

Shannon McCabe also netted nine goals in 2008, including seven over the team’s final nine contests. Of her nine scoring strikes, four of them proved to be game-winners, which tied her for the team lead with freshman Emily Cressy.

A Little Bit of Monica
Senior midfielder Monica Dolinsky enjoyed one of the best offensive seasons in team history last year, which has moved her into position to cement her place in the team record books. Dolinsky enters her final season ranked third in school history at in points (54), third in assists (20) and fourth in goals (17).

Safety Net
Another Indiana native, senior goalkeeper Julie Hanley, is also looking to move up in the record books this season. The 5-foot-9 goalkeeper currently ranks second in team history in goals against average (1.25), shutouts (14) and wins (31), trailing only Meghan Miller in all three categories.

Hanley has been with the team longer than anybody on the current Jayhawk roster after taking a medical hardship in 2007.

Corner Kicks

  • Kansas was picked to finish sixth in the Big 12’s preseason poll conducted by the league’s coaches. The Jayhawks received 59 points in the poll, to finish behind Texas A&M (91), Missouri (91), Colorado (76), Oklahoma State (68) and Texas (66).
  • Of the Jayhawks’ nine returning starters this season, all of them recorded at least one offensive point last season, including goalkeeper Julie Hanley, who collected an assist against Purdue in the 2008 season opener.
  • KU is looking for its first season-opening win on the road since it downed UNLV in Las Vegas to begin the 2004 season.
  • Sophomore Emily Cressy led the Jayhawks in points during the month of August last season, scoring two goals and tallying an assist. Cressy also tallied her first game-winning goal on Aug. 31 last year.
  • Senior Estelle Johnson led the team in minutes last season, participating in 2,110 out of a possible 2,138 minutes. Johnson’s 5,483 minutes over the last three seasons are the most by any Jayhawk during that time period.

Jayhawks Welcome Back One of their Own
During the summer months, the Kansas soccer team welcomed back former standout Jessica Smith, who will serve as the volunteer assistant coach this season on Mark Francis’ staff.

Smith, who played at KU from 2002-05, played on two of Francis’ teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. She earned Academic All-Big 12 honors twice and was also named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week twice in her Jayhawk career. Smith has previously held assistant coaching positions at Olathe Northwest High School and for the Kansas State ODP program.

Seeing Double
Three different Kansas athletic teams feature identical twins on their rosters, including freshmen Kelsey and Kortney Clifton on the Jayhawk soccer team. The Cliftons join Amy and Missy Geha, as the second set of sisters to play soccer at KU, and the first to appear on the team at the same time.

Other twins on KU athletic squads include sophomores Markif and Marcus Morris (men’s basketball) as well as juniors Alyssa and Brittany Potter (swimming and diving).

Off on the Right Foot
When the Jayhawks were successful last season, it usually meant the team was able to get an early jump on their opponents. KU outscored its opposition, 24-14 in the first half of matches last season and outshot them, 184-128. The Jayhawks also posted a 12-3-2 record when scoring at least one goal in the first 45 minutes of play.

Up Next
Following KU’s initial contest of the 2009 season, the Jayhawks will hit the road again to face Long Beach State and Arizona State at the Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. The Jayhawks will take on the 49ers on Friday, Aug. 28 at 4:30 p.m., and the Sun Devils at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30 at Regal Soccer Stadium.