Jayhawks Take Aim at No. 4 Portland, Washington

Sept. 11, 2007

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The Kansas soccer team travels to Portland, Ore. this weekend to participate in the Portland Invitational at Merlo Field. The Jayhawks face fourth-ranked Portland at 7 p.m. (9 p.m. CST) on Friday evening, and Washington at 10:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. CST) Sunday. An audio broadcast will be available for the KU-Portland match at www.portlandpilots.com/broadcast, while a video feed is available for the Jayhawks’ match with Washington at www.cstv.com.

About the Jayhawks
Kansas is looking for its first victory of the season this weekend after being swept at home for just the second time in the Mark Francis era. KU fell to 19th-ranked BYU in overtime on Thursday evening, and SMU on Sunday. The Jayhawks tied Auburn and lost to Hawai’i in their first weekend of action. KU returns 18 letterwinners and nine starters from last year’s squad, which finished 11-7-1.

Scouting the Pilots
Ranked No. 1 in the country in last week’s national polls, Portland fell out of the top spot after losing to Purdue, 1-0, on Sunday. The Pilots had won their first three matches of the season prior to Sunday, defeating then-No. 6 Florida State, Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton.

Senior forward Rachel Rapinoe is Portland’s leading scorer with four goals and eight points, while senior Natalie Budge is right on her heels with three goals and seven points this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Davis has started all four of UP’s matches and has a 3-1 record with an 0.78 goals against average and a .769 save percentage.

Portland head coach Garrett Smith is in his fifth season at his alma mater and has a mark of 81-12-7 with the Pilots. Smith’s team returns nine starters and 14 letterwinners from last year’s squad which advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. This will be the schools’ first meeting on the soccer pitch. KU is 4-2 all-time against the West Coast Conference.

Portland on the internet: www.portlandpilots.com

Scouting the Huskies
Like Kansas, Washington will be looking for its first victory of the season this weekend at the Portland Invitational. The Huskies enter the tournament at 0-4, with losses to No. 30 Marquette, UW-Milwaukee, Purdue and Cal State Fullerton.

Senior Dani Bridges leads the Huskies’ offense with a pair of goals on the season, while junior Melissa Beal has a goal and two points. Veronica Perez-Murillo and Robin Alexander each have assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Carr has started all four matches in net with a 2.50 goals against average and a .444 save percentage.

UW head coach Lesle Gallimore is in her 14th season with the Huskies and has a record of 137-112-18. Gallimore’s team returns eight starters and 15 letterwinners from last year’s squad which finished 7-12-1 overall and eighth in the Pac-10. This will be the first meeting between UW and Kansas in soccer. KU is 1-2 all-time against Pac-10 schools.

Washington on the internet: www.gohuskies.cstv.com.

Last Time Out
Sophomore Monica Dolinsky and senior Emily Strinden each put three shots on net, but it was not enough. SMU’s Kim Peabody and Kristin Medeiros tallied goals as the Mustangs downed Kansas 2-0 in a non-conference soccer match played Sunday at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. The Jayhawks more than doubled the Mustangs in shots, but could not find the back of the net.

SMU took just seven shots in the match, but scored in each half. Dolinsky led KU with six shots, including three on net, while Strinden put all three of her shots on goal. Kansas outshot the Mustangs 16-7 for the match and had seven corner kicks to SMU’s two.

Lights, Camera, Jayhawks
Kansas’ match with Washington can be seen live via the internet on CSTV’s XXL. To access the video feed, log on to www.cstv.com and click on the “Live Games” and then the “XXL” links. Follow the on-screen instructions to find the KU-Washington contest. This marks the first time KU has had a soccer match broadcast on the internet.

Saving Her Best
Senior goalkeeper Colleen Quinn made a career high 11 saves in Thursday’s match against 19th-ranked BYU. It marked the most saves in a match by a Jayhawk goalkeeper since Layla Young made 11 saves against Ole Miss on Sept. 16, 2000. Quinn, who made eight of her saves in the second half and overtime, ties eight others for the 11th most saves in team history. Quinn’s total of 11 saves ties the most by a goalkeeper in the Mark Francis era.

Shooting Star
Sophomore Monica Dolinsky took a career high six shots in Sunday’s loss to SMU. Dolinsky, who’s previous career high was four, had an expanded role in Sunday’s match, playing both attacking midfielder as well as on the outside. The sophomore, who earned Soccer Buzz Central Region All-Freshman team honors last year, was second on the team with six goals and 17 points in 2006.

All Good Things Must End
Junior Jenny Murtaugh missed her first career start in Sunday’s match against SMU. The third-year defender had started in each of the first 42 matches of her career. Senior Afton Sauer kept her streak alive, moving to 66 consecutive starts in the defensive backfield, while junior Missy Geha moved to 43 straight starts at midfield. Former KU goalkeeper Meghan Miller holds the school record for most consecutive starts with 87 from 2001-04.

Downing Ranked Opponents
Friday’s match with No. 4 Portland will mark the second time this season, and the 17th time in the last four years, that Kansas has matched up with a nationally ranked opponent. Since 2003, KU is 7-10-3 against ranked teams, including last Thursday’s 1-0 overtime loss to No. 19 BYU. The fourth-ranked Pilots are the highest ranked team the Jayhawks have faced since meeting No. 2 UCLA in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2003.

Quick Kicks
– The Jayhawks played two consecutive overtime matches (Sept. 1 against Auburn and Sept. 6 against BYU) for the first time since Aug. 26-28 of the 2005 season, when the team tied Michigan and fell to Wisconsin.
– KU defender Megan Jensen made her first career start in Sunday’s contest against SMU. Jensen had played three matches in reserve during her career prior to Sunday. Jayhawk freshmen Kaitlyn Cunningham and Katie Williams also made their first collegiate starts against the Mustangs.
– The Jayhawks have proven to be especially effective at drawing corner kicks this season. Through four contests, KU has 21 corner kicks, more than any other Kansas team has had in its first four matches. However, KU’s 21 corners have led to just one goal.
– Senior Emily Strinden has matched her shots on goal total from last year (four) through four matches in 2007.

Jayhawks Earn Preseason National Ranking
The Kansas soccer team entered the 2007 season as a nationally ranked team in the Soccer Buzz Preseason Poll, which was released on Aug. 14 by the publication. The Jayhawks opened the season as the 26th-ranked team in the country, marking the fifth-straight year that KU was ranked in a national poll at some point during the season.

Kansas Tabbed Fifth in Big 12 Poll
The University of Kansas soccer team was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 by the league’s coaches in the annual preseason poll, released by the conference office Aug. 13. Texas A&M was picked to finish first, garnering six first place votes and 95 total points. The Aggies narrowly edged out in-state rival Texas (two first-place votes, 91 total points) for the honor. Colorado was chosen to finish third with 81 total points. Oklahoma State (fourth) was the only other school to earn a first-place vote. Kansas was picked fifth with 65 total points, followed by Nebraska (57), Oklahoma (43), Missouri (41), Baylor (23), Texas Tech (21) and Iowa State (14).

Closing in on a Milestone
Kansas head coach Mark Francis is nearing a milestone at KU. The ninth-year coach is just three wins shy of becoming the first soccer coach to record his 100th win with the Jayhawks. Francis’ 97 victories at KU ranks him fifth among Big 12 head coaches, however everyone ahead of him on the list has coached at their institution longer.

A Family Affair
Junior Missy Geha is the younger sister of former Jayhawk Amy Geha, who played at KU from 2001-04. A four-year starter, Amy was named First Team All-Big 12 as a senior and recorded seven goals and 31 points in her career. Missy was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2005, and has earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in each of the last two years. Both Missy and Amy played midfield.

The Saints Keep Marching In
Junior Missy Geha is one of five current Jayhawks to play at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan. Fellow junior Sara Rogers also attended St. Thomas Aquinas, along with freshmen Taylor Blue, Erin Ellefson and Geneva Magness.

Looking Ahead
Following two contests on the west coast, Kansas will return home for a three-match stand at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. KU will meet Missouri State on Sept. 18 at 5 p.m., before hosting Illinois Sept. 21 and California on Sept. 23.