Jayhawks Clash With Missouri in Big 12 Semifinals

Nov. 7, 2008


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The Kansas soccer team will face Border Showdown rival Missouri in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Soccer Championship Friday at 7:30 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas. This marks the second time in as many weeks that the Jayhawks and Tigers have met on the soccer pitch.

KU – the No. 7 seed in the tournament – -advanced to the semifinal round with a 4-2 triumph over second-seeded Texas A&M on Wednesday evening. Missouri – the No. 3 seed – knocked off Texas, 3-1 also on Wednesday.

Live video and statistical updates are available throughout the tournament on the Big 12 Conference’s official website, www.big12sports.com.

About the Jayhawks
Kansas enters Friday’s match at 12-7-1, marking the first time since 2004 that the team has recorded 12 wins or more. KU started the season with five straight victories, including an opening day triumph over then-No. 20 Purdue. The Jayhawks have won four matches against ranked teams this season, defeating Purdue (Aug. 22), then-No. 18 UCF (Sept. 19), then-No. 6 Texas A&M (Oct. 17) and No. 8 Texas A&M again (Nov. 5).

The Jayhawks are led offensively by All-Big 12 First Team selection Monica Dolinsky’s eight goals and 25 points. Big 12 Rookie of the Year Emily Cressy has eight goals and three assists, while junior Shannon McCabe has eight goals and 21 points. In goal, junior Julie Hanley has a 1.49 goals against average and five shutouts.

Scouting the Tigers
Missouri enters Friday’s tilt with the Jayhawks having won five of its last six matches and 8-of-10 since the beginning of October. The Tigers – ranked 18th in the current Soccer Times poll – finished third in the conference with a 7-3 record, which marked their best conference standing since 1999. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals a year ago, before falling to Texas A&M. MU’s last trip to the finals came in 2003.

Sophomore Alysha Bonnick leads MU with 11 goals and 25 points on the season, including two goals and an assist against KU last week. Juniors Kristin Andrighetto and Michelle Collins each have 18 points, while seven Tigers have three goals or more this season. Junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore has an 0.87 goals against average with eight shutouts. She has made 71 saves in 87 chances for an .816 save percentage.

Missouri head coach Bryan Blitz is in his 13th season with the team, and has a record of 139-119-10 with the Tigers. He also boasts an overall record of 184-163-18 in 17-plus seasons at Missouri and Butler. Blitz led the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament last season with a 13-8-1 record.

Kansas leads the all-time series with MU, 8-7, with the teams splitting two postseason matches. MU eliminated the Jayhawks from the 2002 Big 12 Championship in the quarterfinals, while KU returned the favor in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Jayhawk-Tiger Connections
– Kansas head coach Mark Francis and Missouri head coach Bryan Blitz faced each twice during their collegiate careers on the soccer field. Francis, who played at SMU, bested Blitz’ Tulsa Golden Hurricane, during the 1984 and 1986 seasons.
– Kansas midfielder Jessica Bush and Missouri defender Lindsey McCoy were teammates at Blue Springs High School, helping the team place third at the state tournament in 2004. MU’s Kelsey Stokes also grew up in Blue Springs, Mo., but attended South High School.
– KU defender Estelle Johnson and Missouri’s Krista Kruse grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., and both played for the Fort Collins Arsenal.
– Kansas’ Erin Ellefson, Missy Geha, Geneva Magness, Rachel Morris and Caitlin Noble as well as Missouri’s Kari Adam all grew up in Overland Park, Kan.
– Kansas defender Katie Williams and Missouri’s Crystal Wagner are both products of the Challenge Soccer Club in the Houston area. However, they weren’t teammates as Wagner played for the ’88 squad, and Williams for the ’89 team.
– Kansas goalkeeper Julie Hanley and midfielder Monica Dolinsky were both teammates with MU’s Mo Redmond with the Region II ODP team.
– KU’s Jessica Bush, Monica Dolinsky and Julie Hanley played on the Region II ODP team with Missouri’s Ashley Hamblin.

Record Book Watch
Senior Jessica Bush and junior Monica Dolinsky have enjoyed successful statistical campaigns this season. Both Jayhawk midfielders have made their marks on the single-season record books at KU, and will be looking to move up on the career lists.

Bush’s seven assists this season are tied for the seventh-most in school history, while Dolinsky’s 25 points (sixth), eight goals (tied-seventh) and nine assists (third) all rank in the top 10 for season totals in Jayhawk history.

A Little Bit of Monica
Junior Monica Dolinsky set a Kansas postseason record with three assists in Wednesday night’s win over No. 8 Texas A&M. Dolinsky assisted on each of KU’s first three goals, setting up Shannon McCabe with a rebound, Jessica Bush on a free kick and Emily Cressy in transition.

Dolinsky, who is tied for the team lead in goals (eight), showed her ability to create for her teammates in Wednesday’s match to go along with her ability to finish. The junior’s eight goals and nine assists give her 25 points, which rank fourth in the conference this season, are the most by a Jayhawk since Caroline Smith tallied 26 points (nine goals, eight assists) during the 2005 season.

Shannon Surging
Junior Shannon McCabe became the third different Jayhawk to record a multi-goal match in the postseason. Previously Amy Geha recorded two goals against Iowa State in a 2004 Big 12 Championship quarterfinal match, and Jessica Kilpatrick had a pair of goals against Creighton in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

McCabe’s explosiveness in the attacking third should come as no surprise. The junior has surged down the stretch, scoring six goals since the Oct. 17 meeting with Texas A&M, tying her for the team lead with eight. During that time McCabe was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week as well as to the Soccer Buzz Team of the Week.

Quick Kicks
– Kansas faces Missouri for the second time in a seven-day span, marking the third time KU has met its Border Showdown rival in the postseason. The teams split the previous two meetings.
– The Jayhawks’ match against the 18th-ranked Tigers is their 10th this season against a top 25 opponent – a new program high.
– Freshman Emily Cressy recorded her eighth goal of the season in Wednesday’s quarterfinal against Texas A&M. The Jayhawks are 7-0 in matches where the freshman forward scores a goal, including four times when her goal was the game-winner.
– The Jayhawks’ four goals matched the most scored in a postseason contest in school history. The only other time KU scored as many as four goals was when it trumped Iowa State, 4-1 in a Big 12 Championship quarterfinal in 2004.
– Kansas’ four goals were also the most the team has ever scored against Texas A&M, and the most goals surrendered by an Aggies team since a 2005 NCAA Tournament loss to Penn State.
– KU’s five-member junior class is responsible for 46 percent of the team’s offense this season. Dolinsky (25 points), and McCabe (21 points) lead the group, however defenders Kim Boyer (four points), Estelle Johnson (three points) and even goalkeeper Julie Hanley (one point) have contributed.

Up Next
A Jayhawk win would move the team into the final round of the Big 12 Soccer Championship for the first time in team history. Kansas would match up with the winner of the Oklahoma State-Colorado contest at noon, Sunday at Blossom Soccer Complex in San Antonio. The finals match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net.