Jayhawk Insider: Soccer encouraged by preseason mentality

By Haydn Krause

The Kansas women’s soccer team took the field against the Colorado State Rams for its first and only preseason exhibition game of the 2018 season Sunday.  The Jayhawks topped the Rams, 3-2, using a strong start to help overcome a second-half CSU rally. Overall, KU head coach Mark Francis saw several aspects of the young Jayhawk team he was encouraged by, as they showed out their preseason efforts in the match.

“It’s gone really well, with 11 new players, it’s getting those guys on board with our expectations,” Francis said of his team’s work during the now-11 days of preseason camp. “With how we do things, what their intensity level and (our) expectations with that. Just daily intensity and training has been really good, the focus has been good. The new guys were here in the summer, so I think that helped. We have a lot of options, which is good for competition.”

With preseason coming to a close at the end of this week, the Kansas coaches have started to pin and focus in on the areas where the women could improve, and where there is potential to continue to grow. It’s all started to become much clearer after recent training sessions, but more so following their dress rehearsal on Sunday against the Rams.

“Now that we’ve played a game we can watch the video,” Francis said. “We can look at some deficiencies; definitely, our defensive organization needs to be a little bit crisper on the inside, and we’re a little bit loose and lax in the back. Offensively, I thought we created some really good shots, and that there were some good ideas but (those were) not quite executed as far as the final pass or the finish, so we need to adjust there.”

Despite the critiques, the Jayhawk head man, now in his 20th season, is encouraged by what he has seen during his first two weeks of the 2018 season and believes this is a team that could surprise many within the Big 12 Conference and around the nation. Last week, the Jayhawks were picked to finish sixth in the league as voted on by the conference’s coaches in the annual preseason poll.

When asked about the prediction to finish in the bottom half of this year’s league table, Francis showed a slight smirk and gave a short, but telling, answer.

“I love it.”

Friday, August 17 at 7 p.m., marks the date and time that the Jayhawk soccer team will officially begin in their 2018 season. Kansas will be kicking off its first game of the season against the No. 18-ranked Pepperdine Waves at Rock Chalk Park. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN+.