Jayhawks Prepare for Kansas Invitational
Aug. 22, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer continues its August slate as the Jayhawks host the Kansas Invitational at the KU Soccer Complex Aug. 24-26. The tournament will open Friday at 2:30 p.m. with the UNLV Rebels taking on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and will be followed by the Kansas-Georgia matchup at 5 p.m. The matches continue Sunday with Georgia and SDSU hitting the pitch at 10:30 a.m., and conclude with the Jayhawks matching up with the Rebels at 1 p.m.
ON THE AIR
Kansas will provide live video and play-by-play coverage of the Jayhawks’ weekend contests on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. The video feed will be available to All-Access subscribers only, while all fans can tune in to Pete Knutson’s audio coverage. Fans can also follow the action via GameTracker on KUAthletics.com or on Twitter at ku_soccer.
Friday’s match will mark the third meeting on the soccer field between the Jayhawks and Georgia. The Bulldogs hold a 2-0 advantage in the series, including a 2-0 win over KU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Kansas leads the all-time series with UNLV, 2-0-1, with all three meetings coming between 2001-04. Most recently, the Jayhawks knocked off the Rebels, 2-0, on Aug. 28, 2004.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas split its opening weekend matches to start the 2012 campaign. On Friday, scrappy UC Santa Barbara took the Jayhawks to overtime, however, freshman forward Ashley Williams picked a great time for her first collegiate goal, netting the game-winner in the 97th minute to earn the Jayhawks their fourth season-opening win in the last five years. Two days later KU found on the other end of an overtime thriller, falling to Northwestern after Wildcat midfielder Georgia Waddle found net in the 94th minute.
KU’s early-season leader in goals is Williams with two, while senior forward Whitney Berry leads the squad in shots with nine. As a team the Jayhawks have averaged 19.5 shots per match.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Georgia is coming off a strong opening weekend which saw it go 2-0. UGA started the season with a win over UNC Greensboro on Aug. 17, winning a double-overtime decision 1-0. Two days later the Bulldogs took down Furman 2-1, with freshman Bella Hartely notching the go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute to seal an undefeated opening weekend.
In their first two matches the Bulldogs averaged 1.5 goals per game and posted 23.0 shots per contest. UGA had three different point scorers in their opening two matches, as junior midfielder Alexa Newfield, junior defender Nikki Hill and freshman midfielder Bella Hartley each found the back of the net last weekend. The Bulldogs amassed a 23 shots per game average in their opening two matches and with 50 percent of those on goal.
The Bulldog defense held its opponents to a .5 goal average in its first weekend of the 2012 campaign and allowed eight shots per match. UGA’s senior goalkeeper Ashley Baker started both of the Bulldogs’ opening matches, posting a 0.46 goals against average and a .900 save percentage.
UGA head coach Steve Holeman is in his second season as the head coach of the Georgia women’s soccer program. He enters the season with an overall coaching record of 191-137-37, and a record of 26-11-6 while at Georgia.
SCOUTING THE REBELS
UNLV is 1-1 through its first weekend of the 2012 season. The Rebels opened up the year with a 2-0 win over the Northern Arizona in Las Vegas on Aug. 17 but went on to lose their next match two days later, dropping a 5-4 decision to Hawaii.
The Rebels are averaging three goals per match this year and posted 12 shots per game in their first two contests. Junior forward Jen Wolfe leads UNLV with three goals and six points while three others have found the back of the net once through the first two matches.
UNLV’s defense has 2.5 goals against average this season and has allowed 6.5 shots per match. Junior goalkeeper Kylie Wassell has played each minute of the Rebels’ two contests, posting a 2.5 goals against average and a .286 save percentage.
Head coach Michael Coll is in his first season at UNLV after spending the last eight years at Penn State as an assistant. During his tenure on the Nittany Lions’ staff, he helped guide the squad to five appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16, as well as a trip to the national semifinals in 2005. PSU claimed eight straight Big Ten championship titles during Coll’s tenure in Happy Valley.
LAST TIME OUT
Freshman forward Ashley Williams notched her second goal of the season to force overtime against Northwestern, however the Wildcats proved to be too much, netting the golden goal in the 95th minute to hand the Jayhawks their first loss of the season, 2-1, last Sunday at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.
KU freshman forward Ashley Williams had a great start to her collegiate career, collecting two goals in two starts to kick off the 2012 campaign for the Jayhawks. In the first weekend, she tallied four shots and is tied for the league lead with two goals. Following the impressive showing Williams was named the Big 12 Soccer Newcomer of the Week. The announcement marked the sixth time since 2009 a Jayhawk has garnered that particular honor.
Williams began the year in style, scoring her first career goal in the Jayhawks’ overtime victory over UC Santa Barbara, where she buried a left-footed shot from five yards out in the 97th minute. The freshman forward took three shots in the game, two of which were on frame.
The Albuquerque, N.M., native scored the Jayhawks’ lone goal in their second match of the weekend. Trailing 1-0, Williams evened the score four minutes into the second half on a strike from a cross. Her second goal of the weekend would not be enough however as the Jayhawks dropped the game in overtime, 2-1.
The Jayhawks played two overtime matches during their opening weekend. It marked the first time that KU has played back-to-back extra-period matches since the 2005 season, when the Jayhawks tied Michigan, 1-1 and fell to Wisconsin, 3-2.
Sunday’s overtime loss to Northwestern snapped a streak of five consecutive wins or ties in overtime matches, which dated back to the first match of the 2011 season. KU won three-straight matches that went to extra time last year, before tying Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks opened this year with a 2-1 overtime victory over UC Santa Barbara.
Kansas returns 10 starters from last year’s team, which finished the season at 11-9-1 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in school history. Included in the 10 returning starters are the team’s top six scorers from a year ago.
Senior midfielder/forward Whitney Berry (eight goals, 13 assists) leads the way, while sophomore forwards Ingrid Vidal (11 goals, six assists) and Jamie Fletcher (seven goals, four assists) as well as junior forward Caroline Kastor (six goals, seven assists), sophomore midfielder Liana Salazar (five goals, one assist) and junior midfielder Amy Grow (five goals, one assist) all return to the starting lineup.
KU also brings back starting three starting defenders in senior Shelby Williamson and juniors Madi Hillis and Shannon Renner. The goalkeeping duo of sophomore Kaitlyn Stroud and senior Kat Liebetrau also returns for the Jayhawks. Last season, Stroud posted a 1.81 goals against average, making 73 saves in 13 starts.
Kansas senior midfielder/forward Whitney Berry is looking to move up in the school’s record books this season. Berry entered the 2012 season ranked fourth in career points (59), sixth in goals (17) and second in assists (25). The senior’s 25 assists are just five shy of Monica Dolinsky’s career total of 30, which heads KU’s all-time list.
KU returns to the pitch Aug. 31 when it takes on Creighton at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. The Jayhawks will face the Blue Jays at 5 p.m., before finishing the weekend against Arizona State Sept. 2 at 1 p.m.