Jayhawks Open Big 12 Championship with CU

Oct. 30, 2006

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

The University of Kansas soccer team (11-7, 6-4 in Big 12) will make its seventh-straight appearance in the Big 12 Soccer Championship Wednesday, when the fourth-seeded Jayhawks face fifth-seeded Colorado at 1:30 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas. The winner of Wednesday’s quartefinal match will meet the winner of the Texas A&M-Baylor match on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday. KU is 2-6 all-time in Big 12 Tournament play.

Colorado (11-5-2, 5-4-1 in Big 12), the number five seed, will meet fourth-seeded Kansas in the 1:30 p.m. match in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Championship. The Buffaloes earned the spot by defeating the Jayhawks in Lawrence 4-0 on Oct. 27.

Freshman Nikki Marshall is the top scorer in the Big 12 with 14 goals and 31 points. Seven of Marshall’s goals have come against conference opponents, including two against KU last Friday. Sophomore Alex Cousins leads the team with six assists.
Sophomore Kirstin Radlinski and freshman Kara Linder have split time in net. Radlinski has an 0.92 goals against average with an .833 save percentage and three shutouts in 14 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 66-42-13 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 lead the all-time series with KU, 6-5, including victories in the last two matchups. This will be the first postseason meeting between the conference rivals.

Colorado on the web: www.cubuffs.com

Kansas fell in the first round of the conference tournament last season after advancing to the semifinals the previous two seasons. Last season, the fifth-seeded Jayhawks fell to fourth-seeded Nebraska, 3-1. Senior Caroline Smith scored KU’s lone goal in the 86th minute.

KU is 2-6 all-time in the Big 12 Championships.

The Jayhawks have been the No. 4 seed just one other time in the tournament, in 2001, when KU fell to Missouri, 1-0 in double overtime. Ironically, KU played the Tigers in regular season finale in Lawrence that year. The team is faced with a similar scenario this season.

In 2003, KU won its first Big 12 Championship match as the No. 3 seed, defeating Oklahoma 1-0. However, KU fell 1-0 in the semifinal round to the eventual tournament champion, Oklahoma State.

KU advanced to the semis again in 2004, defeating eighth-seeded Iowa State 4-1. Then fell to Texas, 3-2 in double-overtime. The Jayhawks are 0-2 in Big 12 Championship matches that have gone to overtime.

Colorado freshman Nikki Marshall scored two goals and collected an assist Friday as the 30th-ranked Buffaloes knocked off the University of Kansas, 4-0. Fate was definitely not on the Jayhawks’ side Friday. After going into halftime down 2-0, KU looked to cut into the lead when senior Michelle Rasmussen bent a near-perfect shot at the net in the 54th minute. However, the ball hit just below the crossbar, bounced to the ground and into the waiting arms of CU goalkeeper Kirstin Radlinski, who made three saves for the shutout.

Sophomore goalkeeper Julie Hanley earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second-straight week on Oct. 24. During the weekend of Oct. 20, Hanley shut out Baylor, 1-0, and Texas Tech, 3-0.

Before giving up a goal in the 15th minute to Colorado on Friday, Hanley had not allowed a goal in 361 minutes and 23 seconds. The sophomore goalkeeper shut out five Big 12 opponents this season and did not allow a goal in her 76:26 in net against Missouri. Colorado became the first opponent to score more than one goal against Hanley since Pepperdine tallied three second-half goals on Sept. 15.

Sophomore Jessica Bush has been the catalyst of the Jayhawks’ offense down the stretch, scoring five of the team’s 10 goals in a five-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.

Against Texas Tech, 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 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 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. The Jayhawks have won seven of their eight matches played on Sunday. KU’s only loss came to No. 8 Texas A&M, 1-0, in overtime. In the team’s seven Sunday wins, five have been shutout victories.

Junior Afton Sauer is one of four athletes to start every match this season for the Crimson and Blue. The 5-foot-8 defender has started all 61 of the team’s contests during the last two-plus seasons for the third-longest streak in team history. Sauer will tie former KU midfieler Jackie Dowell for the second-longest streak with 62 straight starts on Wednesday against Colorado. Two other players, sophomores Missy Geha and Jenny Murtaugh have also started the first 38 matches of their careers. Goalkeeper Julie Hanley is the fourth member of the team to start every contest this season.