⚽ 2020 KU Soccer Preview – The Forwards
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the 2020 regular-season just a week 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, five make up the frontline contingency. Here is a breakdown of the forward group:
Returnees (3): Senior Mandi Duggan, Junior Kailey Lane, Sophomore Mya Sheridan
Newcomers (2): Freshman Shira Elinav, Freshman Brie Severns
Lost (3): Katie McClure, Eva Eliasdottir, Bri Amos
With the loss of All-American and All-Big 12 goal scorer Katie McClure from last year’s squad, there are big shoes to fill on this season’s front line, but with the return of several veterans and the addition of some young but talented freshmen, the 2020 KU forwards appear up to the challenge.
Senior Mandi Duggan and Kailey Lane are the elder statesmen of the group and are expected to log big minutes this season. The duo combined for 20 starts and scored 10 goals in 2019 and both have a knack for scoring in big moments. Duggan netted the golden goal in the Jayhawks’ overtime win at Oklahoma last season and also put in the eventual winner in her team’s Big 12 Tournament Championship victory over TCU. Lane scored four game-winners a year ago, including a 70th-minute strike in KU’s 1-0 win over Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Mya Sheridan saw time in nine matches last year, but expect her output to increase drastically this season. Her speed will make her a threat against any Big 12 backline.
Don’t be surprised if the group of talented newcomers sees a large amount of field time immediately this season. Freshman Brie Severns is coming off an impressive high school and club soccer career, while freshmen Shira Elinav comes to Lawrence as one of the top up-and-coming players in the Israeli Women’s National Team program. Both players are sure to add incredible depth to the Jayhawk front line.
Francis on the Forwards:
"We had 45 goals last year. Katie McClure scored 17 of those and I think a couple of our other graduates scored a few as well but we do have a lot of players returning that also scored. I think to make up the goal difference there, it's going to be by committee a little bit. We're going to rely on the new guys to help chip in and I think the returners, Kailey (Lane), Mandi (Duggan, Mya (Sheridan), we'll be looking at them to be more productive than they were last year."
The position-by-position women’s soccer breakdown continues Saturday, Sept. 5 with the midfielders.
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.