Kansas to Host NCAA Soccer Tournament First and Second Rounds

Nov. 8, 2004

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time in school history, the University of Kansas soccer team will host the first and second rounds of the 2004 NCAA Soccer Tournament, as the Jayhawk Soccer Complex will be the site for two first round games on Friday and one second round match on Sunday. The Jayhawks are the No. 8 national seed and will face Crieghton in the tournament’s first round.

The Jayhawks (17-4) enter the tournament after posting the most regular season wins in school history (16), as well as winning the program’s first Big 12 Championship by completing league play with a 8-2 mark. The Jayhawks are one of the nation’s top defensive teams this season, allowing only 10 goals in 21 games this season. Senior goalkeeper Meghan Miller has been a large part of the Jayhawks’ success, as she leads the conference in goals against average (0.48), save percentage (.902) and shutouts (11). Offensively, the Jayhawks are led by first team All-Big 12 performer Caroline Smith and Rachel Gilfillan. Smith is the team leader in points (30), goals (11) and assists (8), while Gilfillan has chipped in for a career-high eight goals this season. Along with Smith, Miller, senior Midfielder Amy Geha and sophomore defender Holly Gault were named to the All-Big 12 first team, while Gillfillan and freshman defender Afton Sauer were selected to the All-Big 12 second team.

Kansas’ first round opponent, the Creighton Bluejays (9-7-4) defeated Drake on Sunday, 3-1 to win the Missouri Valley Conference and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Prior to the beginning of the 2004 regular season, KU defeated Creighton 6-1 in an exhibition match at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

“I think that it is huge,” said head coach Mark Francis. “We don’t have to travel on Thursday and the players get to sleep in their own beds. They can go to class, which I am sure they are very happy about because they missed last week at the conference tournament. Hopefully we will get some people out at the game supporting us and that could be a really big boost for the players.”

In the other first round game at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who finished in fifth place in the Big 12, will take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. ORU defeated Valparaiso on Sunday to win the Mid-Continent Conference.

Official game times will be announce later this week.

Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday morning and prices are $7 for adults, $3 for students and senior citizens and $1 for children under five years old. Fans may purchase tickets on www.kuathletics.com or from the KU ticket office at (785) 864-3141.