Jayhawks to host Missouri in first round of NCAA Soccer Tournament

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the seventh time in program history, the University of Kansas soccer team earned a bid to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship it was announced Monday afternoon. The Jayhawks will host the Missouri Tigers in first round play on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m., at Rock Chalk Park.
“Obviously we’re thrilled to get this great opportunity,” said head coach Mark Francis. “To be able to host an NCAA Tournament game at a venue like Rock Chalk Park is huge for us and we couldn’t be more excited and ready to go. I know there’s still a little sting left over from when they (Missouri) got us in the first round two years ago, so I think our girls will definitely go into this one with something a little extra. It should be a great game.”

Kansas is making its first appearance in the tournament since 2014 and seventh overall in the 22-year history of the program. The Jayhawks (10-5-4) recently concluded their best conference finish in over a decade, finishing as the Big 12 Conference’s runner-up, behind only No. 1-ranked West Virginia with a 5-1-2 league record. At the Big 12 Soccer Championship last week, KU fell to eventual tournament runner-up TCU by a score of 1-0.
-Kansas played 12 matches against teams included in this season’s NCAA Tournament field.
-Kansas finished the 2016 regular season with 10 wins, which marks the 13th time under 17-year head coach Mark Francis the Jayhawks have notched double-digit victories.
-KU was second in the Big 12 standings, its highest finish on the conference table since 2004. The Jayhawks’ five league wins tied for their most since the conference went to an eight-game schedule.
-The Jayhawks have been among the top-35 of the NCAA RPI in all but one of the rankings released this season, moving as high as No. 20. Kansas is 5-5-3 against teams inside the RPI top-50 and is 5-0-1 against teams outside the top-50. KU is also a member of the RPI’s highest rated league, the Big 12 Conference, which features six of its nine members ranked inside the RPI’s top-50.

-KU was led in goals this season by sophomore forward Grace Hagan, who netted seven goals, a career high.
-Twelve different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the team’s goals in 2016, either scoring or assisting. A total of 14 players have managed to tally seven or more shots and, while Hagan and freshman Katie McClure have notched nearly a third of the team’s total shots (97), six of their teammates have added 15 or more attempts to the team’s total of 307.
-The Jayhawks saw six players honored on the All-Big 12 teams, the program’s most since 2006. Hagan was a unanimous selection to the first team. Senior midfielders Tayler Estrada and Hanna Kallmaier, along with junior defender Kayla Morrison, all earned spots on the All-Big 12 Second Team. Freshmen Katie McClure and Addisyn Merrick rounded out the KU honorees with their mention on the All-Freshman squad.
-Kansas has been stout on the Kansas side over the past year. The KU defense has allowed one opponent goal or fewer in 20 of its last 23 outings dating back to the 2015 season. The Jayhawks are 12-4-4 in those 20 matches when allowing one opponent goal or less.
The Tigers enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 11-6-2. MU finished fifth in the SEC standings this season with a 6-4-1 record. The squad out of Columbia, Missouri most recently tied to eventual SEC Tournament Champion Florid in the quarterfinals, but fell in a penalty shootout on Nov 2.
Missouri is led on the offensive side by freshman forward Sarah Luebbert and junior midfielder Caitlyn Clark. Clark leads the squad with 11 assists on the year and Luebbert is the top goal-scorer on the team with 10 netted this season. The Tiger defense has allowed 24 goals in 19 games this year. Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Dossey has started 18 of those match between the posts for MU in 2016, picking up three shutouts, collecting 57 saves and amassing a 1.18 goals-against average.
The Division I Women’s Soccer Committee selected the 64-team field from 330 NCAA Division I institutions that sponsor women’s soccer. Kansas was one of 33 teams to receive an at-large bid. The other 31 teams were automatic qualifiers. Six of nine Big 12 teams earned bids: West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas.
First round competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at 32 campus sites Nov. 11-13, including Lawrence. Winners advance to second round to be held on Friday, Nov. 18.
Second round and third competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at 16 campus sites Nov. 18-20 at non-predetermined campus sites. Winners of the second-round games advance to the third round to be held two days later on Sunday, Nov. 20. Winners of the third-round matches will then advance to one of four quarterfinal games.
Regionals for the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be held Nov. 25-26 at four non-predetermined campus sites. Each quarterfinal winner will advance to semifinal action of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup in San Jose, California to begin on Dec. 2.
The 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College will be held at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California for the first time. Quarterfinal winners will compete in semifinal matches held Dec. 2 at 4 or 6:30 p.m. (CT). The national championship match of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup will be played at 5 p.m. (CT), Dec. 4.
The Jayhawks are making their seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, all under 17-year head coach Mark Francis. Kansas is 4-6 all-time in the postseason and making its first appearance since earning a bid in 2014.
2001 (0-1): In its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance Kansas fell to the BYU Cougars, 1-0, at Abbot Sports Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska. BYU scored the eventual game-winner in the 76th minute.
2003 (2-1): Kansas advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history and picked up a memorable win over rival Missouri in the process. Kansas dispatched of Illinois State, 3-1, in the first-round match held in Columbia, Missouri, before topping the Tigers two days later, 2-0. Kansas scored twice in the final 13 minutes to advance to play top-seeded UCLA in the Sweet 16. The Bruins topped the Jayhawks in a tightly-contested match by a score of 1-0 on a goal in the 43rd minute.
2004 (1-1): In the first-round match Kansas defeated Creighton, 3-1, in the first NCAA Tournament game ever hosted by the Jayhawks. The Bluejays scored the game’s first goal in the eighth minute but Kansas went on to score three unanswered goals to advance to the second round for the second-straight season. Former Big 12 foe Nebraska then invaded Lawrence and ended Kansas’ season with a 2-1 overtime victory.
2008 (1-1): The Jayhawks made their first NCAA Tournament field in four seasons when they went up against Denver in the first round match held in Palo Alto, California. Kansas defeated the Pioneers, 2-1, with the help of two first-half goals. The Jayhawks were topped by the top-seeded team in the tournament, Stanford, by a final score of 5-0.
2011: (0-1): Kansas welcomed Georgia to Lawrence for the first-round match in 2011. The Bulldogs scored twice within the first 13 minutes of the second half to defeat Kansas, 2-0.
2014: (0-1): The Jayhawks reignited the Border Showdown with former Big 12 foe Missouri when KU welcomed the Tigers to Rock Chalk Park for the first-round match in 2014. Missouri’s Taylor Grant scored twice and added an assist as the Tigers topped the Jayhawks, 3-1, on a cold afternoon in Lawrence.
The winner of the KU-MU contest will play the winner of the No. 2-seed North Carolina-Liberty match on Friday, Nov. 18 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. If the Jayhawks win each of their first two matches, they will then play in the third-round game on Sunday, Nov. 20, again in Chapel Hill.
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