2020 KU Soccer Preview – The Keepers
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the 2020 kickoff just over 24 hours 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 final position-by-position preview for the upcoming season.
On the current 28-player roster, Kansas features four in the goalkeeping group. Here is a breakdown of the group:
Returnees (4): Junior Sarah Peters, Sophomore Emilie Gavillet, Sophomore Melania Pasar, RS-Freshman Gabbie Dawe
The Kansas coaches are perhaps as excited as they’ve ever been for the options they will have at their disposal to play in goal for the Jayhawks this season. The KU roster features four goalkeepers, each of whom brings their own set of skills that will make this one of the deepest goalie crews in recent memory. The quartet has experience beyond their years and could make the spot in between the pipes a hotly contested one for the Jayhawks in 2020.
KU will see the return of junior Sarah Peters, who has started each match during her first two seasons in Lawrence. All Peters has done in her 46 career outings is tally 20 shutouts, collect 145 saves and be named the Big 12 Tounaments Most Outstanding Defensive Playe a year ago. The bar is set high for Peters to improve on those numbers this year if she is able to win the starting spot.
Right behind Peters are three underclassmen that each come into this season with some impressive credentials. Emilie Gavillet has made tremendous strides since arriving in Lawrence two years ago. She has experience in the Bundesliga and with Bayern Munich prior to making the move to Kansas. Melania Pasar will also be a prime candidate to see minutes in goal this year. Pasar has length, athleticism, and an impressive resume that includes stints with the Slovenian national team at both the senior and youth levels.
Redshirt-freshman Gabbie Dawe rounds out the group and used her time on the sidelines last season to become a well-versed member of the crew. The Memphis native played for a state championship-winning program in high school but also has Crimson and Blue in her blood, as she is the great-great granddaughter of James Naismith, the first head basketball coach in KU history.
Francis on the Goalkeepers:
"In my 22 seasons here, I think this is by far the strongest overall core group of keepers that we've had. Obviously, Sarah Peters is returning having had a very good season last year. I would say the other three goalkeepers ... they've all made massive improvements since last fall. I think there will definitely be more of a push from those guys to challenge Sarah. It's a good position for us to be in."
The Jayhawks will begin the 2020 season on Friday, September 11 when they travel to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns in a 7 p.m. (CT) kickoff. KU will return to Lawrence a week later for its home opener on Friday, Sept. 18, and will welcome the Oklahoma Sooners to Rock Chalk Park.