Kansas Soccer Heads North for Chicago-Area Swing

Sept. 1, 2010


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Kicking Off

This weekend, Kansas soccer will continue its five-match road stretch in the Chicago area, starting Friday, Sept. 3, at Northwestern (2-1-1), and continuing Sunday at Illinois State (2-2).

The first weekend of the season brought extreme highs and lows for Kansas. KU started off on a high note with a 3-0 shutout over Eastern Kentucky at home last Friday afternoon. A balanced attack tested the Colonels defense, with Caitlin Noble, Caroline Kastor and Whitney Berry all scoring for KU. Kastor tallied a goal and an assist to pull in a match-high three points while Berry led all scorers with five shots.

However, the Jayhawks’ season-opening high was short-lived as Georgia’s vaunted offense powered past KU Sunday in Athens, Ga., blanking Kansas 5-0. Despite the lopsided score, KU’s defense shined and goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau collected a career-high 15 saves. The sophomore bested her previous career-high of nine and was just one short of matching KU’s single-match record of 16, set by Betsy Pollard in 1999.

Scouting the Wildcats

No. 13 BYU put an end to Northwestern’s three-game unbeaten streak Tuesday night in Provo, Utah, with a 2-1 victory. The Wildcats, who are currently ranked No. 14 in the Soccer America Poll and receiving votes in the NSCAA poll, entered Tuesday’s contest riding the momentum of its season opening streak, which was highlighted by a 1-0 upset over then-No. 3 UCLA, last Sunday in Wisconsin’s tournament in Madison, Wis. Freshman forward Kate Allen scored the game-winner in what is being considered the biggest win in program history. Prior to Tuesday’s match against the Cougars, Allen had supplied 100 percent of the Wildcats’ offense with all three of the season’s goals. BYU was the first team to get ahead of the Wildcats this season after the Cougars scored in the 17th minute. Jennifer Baumann headed in a Jill Dunn free kick to tie the game in the 27th minute but the Cougars took one final lead early in the second period, and the 2-1 score held up.

Scouting the Redbirds

Illinois State will take a Friday night bye before facing KU this Sunday in Normal, Ill. Coming into the match owning a 2-2 record in 2010, the Redbirds have balanced the offense with three goals coming from three different players. Forwards Jessica Carlson and Kyla Cross have had the most attempts with 12 and 11 shots each, but neither forward has been able to find the net so far this season. Goalkeeper Mara Kremenovic will enter Sunday’s contest with stats similar to Kansas keeper Kat Liebetrau: Both have allowed five goals and recorded a shutout, while Liebetrau has the edge with 17 saves (.773 save percentage). Kremenovic has collected 16 (.762).

Coaching Connection

KU will see a familiar face in Julie Hanley this weekend, as the former Jayhawk is now a graduate assistant coach at Illinois State. Hanley, a former team captain, was a goalkeeper for KU from 2005-2009 and ranks third all-time with 228 saves. She now works with the Redbirds’ goalkeepers and defenders.

On the Radar

Berry was recently named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s list of the top 20 players in the Big 12. The All-Big 12 selection was named the 15th-best player to watch this season in the conference. The Wichita native had a strong freshman campaign scoring six goals and assisting in nine. Berry was third on the team with 21 points.

KU Picked Eighth

The Jayhawks were picked to finish in eighth place in the Big 12 in the preseason coaches’ poll. Texas A&M was picked as the preseason favorite, receiving 95 points and eight first-place votes. Last season, the Jayhawks went 12-8-2 overall and 4-6 in Big 12 play to tie for seventh. Oklahoma State, the defending conference champs, was picked to finish fourth.