Jayhawks Challenge Pepperdine, Arizona State at Lady Vol Invite

Aug. 25, 2009


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Following a 2-0 season-opening win at Drake, the Kansas Jayhawks will participate in the Lady Vol Invite in Knoxville, Tenn. this weekend. Kansas (1-0) will face Pepperdine (1-0) Friday at 4:30 p.m., and Arizona State (1-0) Sunday at 11:30 a.m., as part of the tournament, which will be played at Regal Soccer Stadium.

Statistical updates from the entire tournament 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 opened the 2009 season with a win on the road, taking a 2-0 decision from Drake in Des Moines, Iowa on Aug. 23. It marked the third time in the last four seasons that KU has won its season-opener.

KU’s offensive attack was led by a pair of unlikely sources as junior Erin Ellefson and true freshman Whitney Berry provided the goals, and combined for seven of the team’s 17 shots. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau posted a shutout in her first collegiate start, needing to make just one save.

Scouting the Waves

Pepperdine was also victorious in its season-opener, taking a 2-1 overtime decision from Marquette in Malibu, Calif. It marked the Waves’ first season-opening win since 2006, which is also the last time they made the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore Michelle Spacciapolli and senior Sophia Medina tallied goals for the Waves, while Spacciapolli was one of four players with three shot attempts. Medina tallied the game-winning goal against Marquette in the 98th minute after intercepting an errant clearing attempt. Freshman goalkeeper Roxanne Barker made four saves in the victory Sunday, in her first college action.

This will mark the third meeting all-time between the schools, with Pepperdine having won the previous two contests. The Waves defeated then-No. 18 Kansas, 3-1 on Sept. 15, 2006. Senior Kim Boyer collected an assist on the lone Jayhawk goal, and is one of five current players who participated in that match.

Jayhawk-Wave Connections

  • Pepperdine sophomore midfielder Rebecca Klamser and Kansas sophomore forward Emily Cressy both grew up in Ventura, Calif., and were teammates at Buena High School as well as with the Cal. South ODP team.
  • Pepperdine sophomore goalkeeper Lacey Heck and Kansas junior defender Lauren Jackson both grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and attended rival high schools (Wilson and Long Beach Polytechnic).
  • Pepperdine freshmen Ana Pontes and Terah Parker and Kansas junior Katie Williams all grew up in Houston, Texas but attended different high schools. Pontes went to Clear Lake High School, Parker is from Cypress Creek High School and Williams graduated from Jersey Village High School.

Scouting the Sun Devils

Arizona State won its season-opener over UC-Irvine, 2-0, on Aug. 21 in a shortened game. The Sun Devils’ win was delayed for over an hour and 40 minutes before the officials called the match in the 78th minute.

Junior midfielder Alexandra Elston and freshman forward Bianca Doller scored the Arizona State goals in the season-opener, while seven different Sun Devils registered shots. ASU’s defense held the Anteaters to just one shot in its win.

This will be the first meeting between the Jayhawks and Sun Devils on the soccer field. KU is 1-5 all-time against the Pac-10.

Jayhawk-Sun Devil Connections

  • Kansas assistant coach Antoinette Loveplayed at Arizona State from 1997-2001, earning All-Pac-10 honors in 1997 and 2000.

Fabulous Freshman

Freshman Whitney Berry’s college career has gotten off to a fast start. Berry became the third true freshman to score a goal in the Jayhawks’ season opener since 2006.

Counting the team’s intrasquad scrimmage, the first-year forward has scored two goals and produced several scoring chances for the Jayhawks. Berry led the Kansas offense against Drake, collecting five shots, including two on net.

Last season, Emily Cressy scored eight goals and recorded four assists as a freshman to earn Big 12 Rookie of the Year honors.

Dominating Defense

Kansas put the clamps down on the Drake offensive attack on Aug. 23, holding the Bulldogs to just six shot attempts and one shot on net. Limiting opponents’ chances has been key to the Jayhawks’ success. Over the past year, KU has held seven opponents to 10 shots or less and won six of those contests. The only exception was a 2-1 loss at Florida last season.

Kat-Like Reflexes

Redshirt freshman Kat Liebetrau made a great first impression against Drake on Aug. 23, recording a shutout in her first career start. The 5-foot-8 keeper from Centennial, Colo., needed to make just one save to blank the Bulldogs, a blast from 25-yards out.

Liebetrau became the first Jayhawk to record a shutout in her first career start since Julie Hanley turned the trick against UC- Irvine on Sept. 16, 2005. Liebetrau and Hanley are the only two Jayhawks to earn shutouts in their first starts between the posts.

Corner Kicks

  • Kansas will participate in the Lady Vol Invite this weekend, facing non-conference foes Pepperdine and Arizona State. This marks the first of two in-season tournaments that Kansas will play this season, and the first since the Portland Invite in 2007.
  • The Jayhawks continued their August dominance this past weekend at Drake. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, KU is 4-1 in the month of August and has outscored their five opponents by a 10-5 score.
  • Kansas junior Erin Ellefson scored her second career goal on Aug. 23 against Drake, and second in her last three matches. Ellefson also scored a goal on Oct. 19 of last season against Francis Marion.
  • Fellow junior Lauren Jackson recorded an assist on Ellefson’s goal, the fourth of her career. Jackson is now the active leader in assists among Kansas defenders.
  • Senior Shannon McCabe continued her hot streak from the end of last season. The senior forward tallied an assist against Drake on Aug. 23, and has now recorded 16 points (seven goals, two assists) in her last 10 matches.
  • Last season, defenders Estelle Johnson and Lauren Jackson led the team in minutes played. After one contest this year, it looks like more of the same. Johnson, Jackson and fellow defender Geneva Magness were the only Jayhawk field players to see the full 90 minutes of action.
  • One thing head coach Mark Francis wanted his team to improve on in 2009 was their ability to earn as well as prevent corner kicks. Against Drake, Kansas took eight corners and held the Bulldogs without one. Last season, KU took 23 fewer corner kicks than their opponents.

Home Cookin’

The Jayhawks have been extremely successful throughout the years at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, especially during Mark Francis’ tenure. KU is 71-40-5 at home all-time, including 59-24-5 under Francis. KU has had just three seasons where it has a sub-.500 record at home.

Up Next

Kansas will play its first matches at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex next weekend, when it hosts Long Beach State on Friday, Sept. 4 and Rhode Island on Sunday, Sept. 6. The Jayhawks will meet the Beach at 5 p.m., Friday in the home opener, and complete the holiday weekend with a match against the Rams at noon.