KU Opens Conference Play in Oklahoma

Sept. 20, 2006

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KU Opens Conference Play in Oklahoma
The University of Kansas women’s soccer team (5-2) will open Big 12 play this weekend with a pair of matches in Oklahoma. The Jayhawks travel to Oklahoma State on Friday for a 7 p.m. match and to Oklahoma on Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Oklahoma State (6-1-1, 1-0) enters the match after back-to-back wins over the weekend. The Cowgirls earned their first Big 12 victory of the season with a 2-1 triumph over in-state rival Oklahoma on Friday night, and then defeated Southern Utah 2-0 on Sunday.

The Cowgirls have been paced on offense by a pair of freshmen. True freshman Siera Strawser leads the team in assists (6) and points (12), while redshirt freshman Leah Hope has been the best finisher with a team-high four goals.
OSU has played three different goalkeepers this season, but senior Jeanne Rankin has seen the most action, with an 0.44 goals against average and two shut outs in 618 minutes this season.

Head coaches Karen Hancock and Colin Carmichael are in their second season as co-head coaches and have a record of 16-7-4 together at the school. The Cowgirls return eight starters and 15 letterwinners from last year’s squad, which finished 10-6-3 overall and 3-6-1 in the conference.

KU leads the all-time series 7-2-2, including a 4-1 triumph in Lawrence last season. The Jayhawks have not lost a regular season match to OSU since 1997.

OSU on the web: www.okstate.com

Oklahoma (3-5) bounced back from a Big 12 opening loss to Oklahoma State by blanking Oral Roberts, 3-0 on Sunday. All three of OU’s victories have come at home this season.

Senior midfielder Kady Kelly leads the OU offense in all three offensive categories with three goals, two assists and eight points. Five other Sooners have scored goals, including senior Savannah Scott, who has two. Goalkeeper Jennifer Nicholas has played every minute in net for OU and has a 1.00 goals against average and an .837 save percentage.

Sooners head coach Randy Evans is in his eighth season at OU and has a record of 67-63-12. OU returns nine starters and 17 letterwinners from last year’s team, which finished 13-6-1 overall and 5-4-1 in the conference.

KU leads the all-time series between the schools 7-3, including a 3-0 triumph at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex last season. The Jayhawks have won four straight against OU dating back to 2002.

OU on the web: www.soonersports.com

Senior Holly Gault and sophomore Jessica Bush each collected a goal and an assist to power 18th-ranked Kansas past UCF, 2-0, Sunday in non-conference women’s soccer action at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. KU, who won for the seventh time in its last eight home matches, took the lead in the 10th minute and did not look back.

The win came on the heels of KU’s 3-1 loss to Pepperdine on Friday. Jessica Kilpatrick gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead just before halftime, but the team could not hold it. The Waves scored three unanswered goals in the second half to snap KU’s six-match home winning streak.

Sophomore Jessica Bush enjoyed a career best three-point match against UCF on Sunday. The 5-foot-2 midfielder set up teammate Holly Gault for KU’s first goal against the Golden Knights, and then put the match away with her first tally of the season.

Heading into Sunday, Bush had recorded either a goal or an assist in 11 different matches in her career, but the UCF match was her first multi-point contest. Bush currently has a goal and two assists this season.

Senior forward Jessica Kilpatrick found the back of the net for the first time this season in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Pepperdine. The goal was Kilpatrick’s first tally in almost two years.

The senior forward, who did not play soccer last season, last scored a regular season goal on Oct. 3, 2004 when she recorded the game-winner against Baylor. Kilpatrick scored KU’s lone goal in a 1-1 exhibition tie with Drake earlier this season. In her career, the 5-foot-4 senior has eight goals and seven assists.

Senior forward Holly Gault is nearing the school’s top five in three offensive categories. With her three points against UCF on Sunday, Gault is now sixth in Kansas soccer history in career goals (14) and career points (43). Gault also ranks seventh in career assists (15).

The 5-foot-6 forward is two points away from Natalie Hoogvald’s total of 45 and six away from Hilla Rantala’s career total of 49. She is also one assist shy of tying Rantala’s mark of 16.

Junior captain Afton Sauer reached a milestone on Sunday against UCF. The 5-foot-8 junior started her 50th- straight match in a KU uniform, which is the longest current streak and the fourth-longest streak all-time.

Sauer trails only Meghan Miller (86 straight starts), Jackie Dowell (62) and Lauren Williams (54) for the most consecutive starts in team history.

KU begins play in the Big 12 this weekend, a place the team has enjoyed a lot of success over the past three seasons. Since the beginning of the 2003 season, the Jayhawks are tied with Texas A&M and Colorado for the most Big 12 victories (20) and have the third-best winning percentage (.700) in conference play during that time period.

Only the Aggies (.717) and Buffaloes (.717) have a better Big 12 winning percentage in the past three seasons.

The Jayhawks will take their next-to-last road trip of the season next weekend when the team travels to Creighton for a Friday evening match and Big 12 rival Nebraska for a Sunday afternoon match. Following the road swing, KU will play five of its final seven regular season matches at the friendly confines of the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.