NCAA Soccer Tournament Comes to Lawrence When Kansas Hosts Georgia Sunday
Nov. 11, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Back for its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last 11 seasons, the University of Kansas soccer team will take on Georgia in first round action on Sunday, Nov. 13 in Lawrence, Kan. Kick-off from the Jayhawk Soccer Complex is scheduled for noon. Live stats and an audio broadcast will be available for the contest at www.KUAthletics.com.
Kansas faculty, staff and students can get in to the match for free with a their KU ID. All other general admission is $7. Seniors and children 12 and under can gain admission for just $3 while tickets for children under the age of five are $1. Fans can also purchase tickets in advance by calling 1-800-34-HAWKS (800-344-2957).
About the Jayhawks
It has been almost two weeks since Kansas last hit the pitch. The seventh-seeded Jayhawks tied No. 2 seed and eventual champion Texas A&M 3-3 on Nov. 2 during the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship but fell in penalty kicks.
Kansas (11-8-1) has nearly doubled its win total from a year ago entering Sunday’s NCAA Tournament game with the help of a consistent Kansas offense that has been productive all season long. The Jayhawks’ front line is tied for 22nd in the nation averaging 2.30 goals per game as the team has been shutout just twice in 2011. Nine different Jayhawks own at least one goal led by All-Big 12 First Team freshman Ingrid Vidal’s 11 scores. Not far behind is junior Whitney Berry with eight goals. Berry also leads the team and ranks tied for fourth among Division I players with 13 assists this season, a school record, to give her a team-best 29 points.
In spite of the team’s accomplishments on offense, Kansas has struggled to maintain that success on the opposite end of the field allowing just over two goals per game. After sharing the starting nod in the first half the year, redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Stroud has started the last seven games in goal. She owns a team-best 1.80 goals against average.
Like Kansas, Georgia will be hitting the turf for the first time in nearly two weeks having played its last contest on Nov. 2 when the fifth-seeded Bulldogs fell 2-0 to No. 4 seed Florida during the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship. It marked Georgia’s second-straight shutout as it fell to 12-6-2 overall. Before their back-to-back losses to end the season, the Bulldogs recorded a pair of ties as they have not won a game since edging Kentucky 2-1 back on Oct. 16. Despite its 0-2-2 record in its last four games, Georgia is 7-2-1 on the road.
While not an overly offensive-minded team, Georgia relies more on a sound defensive line. The Bulldog goalkeepers have given up 25 goals in 20 matches for 1.20 goals against average, while the defense limits opponents to just 12.7 shots per game. Ashley Baker has played nearly every minute between the posts this season and owns a 1.17 GAA and .776 save percentage. Georgia also benefits from an experienced back line guided by senior defenders Jenna Buckley and Bailey Powell and junior defender Rebekah Perry who have all played in at least 19 games in 2011.
Along the front line, sophomore Alexa Newfield has collected 15 of the team’s 36 goals and leads Georgia with 38 points. The Bulldogs have shown a balanced attack as 11 players own at least one score. Senior Ashley Miller is second on the squad with four goals and 10 points.
KU trails the all-time series versus Georgia, 2-0. The teams last met in 2010 in Athens, a 5-0 Bulldog victory. Georgia also defeated KU 3-0 on Sept. 17, 1999.
Three Jayhawks Named All-Big 12
Kansas soccer forward Ingrid Vidal was one of two freshmen named to the All-Big 12 First Team, while teammates Whitney Berry and Liana Salazar were both named members of the All-Big 12 Second Team. In addition, Vidal and Salazar were also named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
With only three seniors on the 2011 squad, KU fields a fairly young team. The starting lineup has consisted of five freshmen, four sophomores and two juniors during the second half of the season.
Seniors Kelsey Clifton, Kortney Clifton and Jordyn Perdue are the only current Jayhawks to have appeared in an NCAA Tournament game as the trio played on KU’s 2008 tourney team. Kelsey started both postseason games versus Denver and Stanford logging 55 total minutes but did not record any stats. Kortney and Perdue each appeared versus Stanford playing 28 and 19 minutes, respectively, with no stats.
Whatever Kansas head coach Mark Francis says to motivate his team at halftime, it seems to be working. The Jayhawks have scored 31 goals after halftime this season, more than doubling its first half production of 15 scores. Additionally, 11 of the team’s 31 second half goals have come with 15 minutes or less remaining in regulation time and three have come in overtime.
If Kansas defeats Georgia, the Jayhawks will advance to play the winner of Sunday’s Duke versus Radford contest, which is being hosted by the Blue Devils in Durham, N.C. The second round contest will be played on Friday, Nov. 18 at the home site of the higher seeded team.