2019 KU Soccer Preview – The Forwards
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the 2019 regular-season just two weeks away, KUAthletics.com sat down with Jayhawk head coach Mark Francis, to breakdown and preview each of his team’s position groups and the players set to take the field this season. This marks the first of four position-by-position previews for the upcoming season.
On the current 28-player roster, eight make up the frontline contingency. Here is a breakdown of the forward group:
Returnees (5): Senior Katie McClure, Senior Eva Eliasdottir (switch from defense), Junior Mandi Duggan, Sophomore Kailey Lane, Sophomore Bri Amos (switch from defense),
Newcomers (3): Freshman Ellie Prybylski, Freshman Margherita Giubilato, Freshman Mya Sheridan
Lost (2): Grace Hagan, Taylor Christie
Expectations are high for the KU front line this season, with the return of the team’s leading goal scorer from a season ago, added depth via a pair of position changes, and the addition of some young but talented freshmen.
Senior Katie McClure will once again be expected to lead the charge for the Jayhawks up top. The Wichita, Kansas native enters her final year in Lawrence with 22 career goals, 11 of which came last season, earning her All-Big 12 second team honors. McClure’s veteran leadership will be a valuable asset for the KU forwards this season, as will her history of crunch-time goal scoring. The senior tallied six goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation or overtime last season, including the golden goal in KU’s extra-time victory over Saint Louis in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Eva Eliasdottir is also expected to be a key contributor in 2019, but will be positioned in a new spot on the field after spending the majority of her first three seasons at KU as a defender. The Iceland product is no stranger to goal scoring, however, finding the back of the net twice in the last two seasons, which includes the overtime game-winner over TCU last season. Sophomore Bri Amos will also make the switch from the backline to the front this season and will bring some speed and athleticism along with her.
Junior Mandi Duggan and sophomore Kailey Lane will also be key pieces to the depth of the front line. Both saw minutes as reserves a year ago and are expected to once again be key contributors off the bench this season.
Don’t be surprised if the group of talented newcomers see field time immediately this season. Freshmen Ellie Prybylski, Mya Sheridan and Margherita Giubilato are coming off impressive high school and club soccer careers and will add to the incredible depth of the front line. Giubilato’s versatility will make her a prime candidate to play as an attacking midfielder and also join the forwards on the front line.
Francis on the Forwards:
"We have a lot of choices on every line and the forwards will be no different. It’s just going to be a matter of those guys battling it out to see who ends up on the field and who ends up coming off the bench to give us some minutes. I’m excited about the group that we have. Last year we had some really good forwards and obviously, we graduated a couple of good ones. But with this group, there’s just more of them. We’ll have more choices than we had last year so I think that’s a positive."
The position-by-position women’s soccer breakdown continues Tuesday, Aug. 13 with the Midfielders.
The Jayhawks will begin the 2019 regular-season on Thursday, August 22 when the Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Lawrence. Kickoff from Rock Chalk Park is slated for 7 p.m. KU will take the pitch for it’s one and only preseason exhibition on Friday, Aug. 16 to take on the Omaha Mavericks, also at 7 p.m.
Single-game tickets for the 2019 Kansas soccer season are now available for purchase. Tickets range from $8 for adults and $5 for seniors/youth. Season tickets are also still available for $50 and will provide general admission seating to all 10 of KU’s regular-season matches. For additional ticket information contact the Kansas Sales Team by calling 800-34-HAWKS or visit kuathletics.com/tickets.