Soccer to host No. 7 Oklahoma State, Oklahoma in Weekend Big 12 Series

Oct. 7, 2010


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Kicking Off

Another tough weekend is on tap for Kansas soccer with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma finishing out a four-match home stretch for the Jayhawks. The No. 7-ranked Cowgirls take on the Jayhawks, Friday at 4 p.m., and KU will follow up with Oklahoma Sunday afternoon, at 1 p.m. Both games will be at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

Weekend Recap: KU gets Texas Win No. 2

The Jayhawks beat Texas for just the second time in the 15-year history of KU soccer Sunday afternoon at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, when Emily Cressy finished off what Caroline Kastor and Erin Ellefson started in the second half. In the 65th minute, Ellefson sent a Kastor pass in but it ricocheted off goalkeeper Alexa Gaul. Cressy found the rebound and struck, giving KU the 1-0 edge. The Jayhawks held on for the win, and goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau got the shutout. KU moved to 1-3 in the Big 12 and 5-7 overall with the win.

In the weekend-opener, the Jayhawks put up a strong fight against No. 10 Texas A&M, holding the Big 12’s leading offensive team to just a single goal. Alyssa Mautz found an open shot early on, but the KU defense shut down the Aggies soon thereafter. Whitney Berry came close to tying the game up in the second half, but came up short when her shot hit the post.

Scouting the Cowgirls

Oklahoma State (11-1-1, 4-0 Big 12) comes into Friday’s contest riding an 11-match unbeaten streak and a four-game winning streak. The Cowgirls have not lost since Aug. 29, when then-No. 3 Portland edged them 1-0 in Portland, Ore. But the goal allowed to the high-ranked Pilots was one of just seven this season. The Cowgirls have been one of the most defensively dominant teams in the Big 12 and in Division I this season, as their team goals against average mark is 0.52 — good enough for 14th in the nation. Starting goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, a Salina native, has allowed just five of those goals and converted 48 saves for a Big 12-leading save percentage of .908 (ninth in Division I). Colleen Daugherty, Allyson Leggett, Carson Michalowski and Melinda Mercado have anchored the defense, helping Franch to seven shutouts. Forward Krista Lopez has been the offensive force for the Cowgirls this season. The junior is having a breakout season with a team-leading 11 goals. Underclassmen Taylor Mathews and Megan Machesano have given the Cowgirls a boost with three goals and an assist each to their credit, as well as Katie Richardson, who has two goals and leads the Cowgirls with three assists.

Scouting the Sooners

Much like the Jayhawks, the Sooners (6-5-1, 2-2-0 Big 12) have struggled with consistency this season. The Sooners have played several tightly-contested matches, with just a one-goal differential in all six wins. Oklahoma’s offense has been balanced, as nearly every regular starter has scored a goal or assisted on one. Whitney Palmer and Kelsey Kraft are the leaders, with four goals each, and an assist for Palmer. Caitlin Mooney and Samantha Howell have three and two goals each, respectively. This Oklahoma team is familiar to several Jayhawks, as several Sooners have crossed paths with KU players. Sophomore defender Brittany King was a high school teammate of Mooney as well as played for the same club as midfielder Dria Hampton, along with KU teammates Madi Hillis and Amy Grow. Six players on the Sooner roster also came out of Slammers F.C., the same Orange County, Calif., club as senior defender Lauren Jackson.

Saved by Liebetrau

With 78 saves, goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau continues to lead the Big 12 in total saves and saves per game (6.50). Her .821 save percentage is also fourth in the conference. Liebetrau was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the week Sept. 14, after a stellar weekend between the posts in UNLV’s Rebel Classic, where she allowed only a single goal and registered 17 saves in matches against CS Northridge and Oregon. The redshirt-sophomore recorded her second shutout of the season and made 11 saves in KU’s 1-0 win over Oregon. In the first week of the season, Liebetrau set a new career-high when she recorded 15 saves at Georgia. Her total against the Bulldogs was the fourth-highest total recorded in Division I this season.

Climbing the Ranks

Emily Cressy’s game-winning goal against Texas was the 11th of her career, which moves her into second place all-time in Kansas’ 15-year program history. The junior forward now has 23 career goals and needs just one more to surpass former teammate Monica Dolinky’s mark for third all-time.

On the Radar

Berry was recently named to’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, for a new Kansas freshman record in assist. 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 champ, was picked to finish fourth.