KU Wraps up Regular Season with Colorado

Oct. 25, 2006


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The University of Kansas soccer team (11-6, 6-3 in Big 12) will complete the regular season on Friday with a home match against No. 30 Colorado. The Jayhawks and Buffaloes will kick off at 3 p.m. at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. Prior to the match, KU will honor its senior class in a brief ceremony held on the field. Seniors Nikki Alvarez, Holly Gault, Jessica Kilpatrick, Lacey Novak and Michelle Rasmussen will be recognized.

Colorado (10-5-2, 4-4-1 in Big 12) enters Friday’s match with very little to gain in terms of the conference standings, but plenty to play for in regards to the NCAA Tournament. Both KU and CU enter the match with identical .647 winning percentages.

Freshman Nikki Marshall leads the Buffaloes, and the Big 12, in goals (12) and points (26). Five of Marshall’s goals have come against conference opponents. Sophomore Alex Cousins leads the team with five assists.

Sophomore Kirstin Radlinski and freshman Kara Linder have split time in net. Radlinski has a 1.02 goals against average with an .824 save percentage and two shutouts in 13 appearances. Linder has a 1.08 goals against average, a .743 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 games.

CU head coach Bill Hempen is in his sixth season with the Buffaloes and has a record of 65-42-13 at the school. Hempen’s team returns five starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s team, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Buffaloes and Jayhawks have split the 10 previous meetings 5-5. CU won last year’s match, 2-1, in Boulder. However, the Buffs have not won in Lawrence since the 2000 season.

Colorado on the web: www.cubuffs.com

The field for the 2006 Big 12 Championship Tournament has been set, however there are still a handful of schools who can improve their seeding in the last weekend of the regular season.

Texas A&M has clinched its second-straight Big 12 regular season title and the top seed in the tournament. The Aggies will play in the 11 a.m. match against either Oklahoma or Baylor on Nov. 1. Kansas, the No. 4 seed, will play either Colorado or Nebraska in the quarterfinal round of the tourney at 1:30 p.m.

Oklahoma State, who owns the tie-breaker over Texas, will play either Oklahoma or Baylor in the 5:30 p.m. match as the No. 2 seed. While the Longhorns will play in the final match of the evening against the No. 6 seed, Colorado or Nebraska.

Colorado can clinch the No. 5 seed with a win or a tie at Kansas on Friday. The Huskers need a Buffaloes loss to earn the fifth-seed. Baylor can avoid Texas A&M in the first round with a win or a tie at Texas Tech on Friday. Oklahoma needs a Baylor loss to gain the No. 7 seed. Both the Huskers and Sooners completed conference play last weekend.

Sophomore Jessica Bush scored her third-straight game-winning goal, while goalkeeper Julie Hanley held her third-consecutive opponent scoreless as the University of Kansas blanked Baylor, 1-0, in a Big 12 soccer match at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, Oct. 20. For the third straight contest, Bush tallied the game-winning goal, setting a school record.

Three different Jayhawks recorded goals Oct. 22, including senior Holly Gault, who also added two assists, as the University of Kansas shut out Texas Tech, 3-0. The victory was a team effort as five different Jayhawks recorded at least one point and three different athletes stopped shots on the KU net.

Kansas enters the final match of the regular season with several streaks in tow. The Jayhawks have won four straight for the first time since the team won seven straight in 2004. The team has also shut out four straight opponents for the first time since KU blanked its first five opponents of the 2004 season. Goalkeeper Julie Hanley was credited with three of the team’s four straight shutouts, and has not allowed a goal in 346 minutes. Sophomore Jessica Bush became just the third player in KU soccer history to score a goal in four straight contests. However, Bush’s streak of recording the game-winning goal in three consecutive matches ended on Sunday.

Sophomore Jessica Bush has been the catalyst of the Jayhawks’ offense the past two weekends, scoring five of the team’s 10 goals in the four-match stretch. The 5-foot-2 midfielder became the first player in KU history to notch the game-winning goal in three consectutive contests, surpassing seven players who had tallied the deciding score in back-to-back matches.

On Sunday, Bush became just the third player in KU history to record goals in four straight matches. Only Hilla Rantala (five-straight) and Caroline Smith (four-straight), have accomplished this feat. Bush leads the team with seven goals this season.

With a five-point weekend, senior Holly Gault did some more damage on the KU record books. The 5-foot-6 senior, who was a defender for the first three years of her college career, moved into third-place in career assists (18), fifth-place in career points (48) and sixth in career goals (15).

Despite going over a month without a goal, Gault has either matched or passed career highs in goals, assists, points, shots and game-winning goals. She leads the team with six assists this season.

KU has proven to be one of the best teams in the country when it can take an early lead. The Jayhawks are 10-1 this season when they score the first goal and 7-1 when they hold a lead going into the second half. The only loss in came on Sept. 15 when KU led visiting Pepperdine 1-0 at halftime, only to lose 3-1.

Sunday afternoons have brought out the best in the Kansas soccer team this season. Despite a 1-0 loss to No. 8 Texas A&M on Oct. 8, the Jayhawks have won seven of their eight matches played on Sunday. In KU’s seven Sunday wins, five have been shutout victories.

Freshman Monica Dolinsky and sophomore Jessica Bush proved that there is more to their games than just offense in Sunday’s win over Texas Tech. Even though both players rank in the top 10 in the conference in goals and points, both made key defensive stands on Sunday.

Dolinsky used her body to knock down a Red Raider shot on goal in the first half, while Bush made a pair of team saves off Chessa Purser shots on net following a corner kick in the second half. Dolinsky also set up KU’s first goal of the match, while Bush scored the second, proving that they can contribute on both sides of the field.

Sophomore goalkeeper Julie Hanley recorded a pair of shutouts over the weekends to extend her scoreless streak to nearly 350 minutes. The 5-foot-9 keeper has not allowed a goal since overtime of the Texas A&M match on Oct. 8, spanning 346:24. Hanley is chasing Meghan Miller’s team record of 539 minutes without allowing a goal.

Since allowing three goals in the second half to Pepperdine on Sept. 15, Hanley has been tough to solve for opposing offenses. The sophomore has seven shutouts in that span, including five against Big 12 opponents. She currently leads the conference in goals against average (0.33), save percentage (.921) and shutouts (5) in Big 12 matches.

The University of Kansas was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 by a vote of the league’s coaches. Texas A&M was picked to finish first, garnering seven first place votes and 97 total points. Nebraska edged out Texas by one point to finish second. Both the Huskers and Longhorns received two first place votes. Colorado finished fourth with 72 points followed by KU with 69. The Jayhawks finished 18 points ahead of sixth-place Oklahoma. Oklahoma State (47), Missouri (42), Iowa State (31), Baylor (18) and Texas Tech (13) rounded out the preseason poll.

Senior midfielder Michelle Rasmussen and junior defender Afton Sauer have been named team captains for the 2006 season. Both players will be serving as captains for the first timesin their careers.

Friday’s match with No. 30 Colorado will be the final home match for five of KU’s seniors. A short ceremony will be held prior to the match to honor forwards Holly Gault, Lacey Novak and Jessica Kilpatrick, midfielder Michelle Rasmussen and defender Nikki Alvarez and their contributions over the past four seasons to the Crimson and Blue.

Alvarez, a 5-foot-5 defender from Wichita, Kan., is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection. In her career, Alvarez has appeared in 76 matches, making 60 starts. She has two goals and an assist in her career.

Gault, a 5-foot-6 forward from Spring Hill, Kan., is a three-time All-Big 12 selection and a three-time NSCAA All-Central Region selection. Gault has also been named a Freshman All-American and a First Team All-American in her career.

Kilpatrick, a 5-foot-5 forward from Englewood, Colo., returned to the team this season after sitting out last year. She has appeared in 60 contests in a Jayhawk uniform and has eight goals and seven assists.

Novak, a 5-foot-3 forward from Overland Park, Kan., has appeared in 82 matches, making 14 starts. She set a career-high with six points this season and has three goals and four assists in her career.

Rasmussen, a 5-foot-4 midfielder from Vermillion, S.D., has served as a team captain this season and was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection a year ago. She has appeared in 54 matches over her career and has six goals, six assists and 18 points.

KU will participate in its seventh-straight Big 12 Championship Tournament, beginning Nov. 1, when the Jayhawks will play either Colorado or Nebraska at 1:30 p.m., in San Antonio, Texas.