Kansas soccer hits the road to meet Tulsa Friday
Freshman defender Isabella Cavalcante
|Game 3: at Tulsa|
|Hurricane Stadium (2,000)|
|Shot on Goal %||.433||.619|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time this season, the Kansas Jayhawks will leave the friendly confines of Rock Chalk Park when they meet the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Friday, Aug. 25. The match, set for 5:30 p.m. from Hurricane Stadium, will be the first regular-season meeting between the two programs since 2002.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas is coming off 1-1 opening weekend of regular-season play which saw a 3-0 loss at the hands of now-No. 15 Nebraska and a 3-0 win over Central Michigan. KU returns 17 letterwinners and six starters from the 2016 squad which went 11-6-4, finished second in the Big 12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. Mark Francis is in his 19th season at the helm in Lawrence and holds a 200-149-28 record with the Jayhawks and is second among active Big 12 coaches with 230 career coaching victories.
After a quiet opening match against Nebraska Friday, the Jayhawk offense came alive in the win over the Chippewas Sunday. After two games, KU has tallied three goals and is averaging 15 shots. Junior Grace Hagan is Kansas’ top returning scorer after tallying seven goals and four assists during her sophomore campaign. Hagan is one of 30 women to be named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. Sophomore Katie McClure was the team’s second-leading scorer last year and returns after being named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team in 2016. The 2017 KU roster features seven other players who tallied a goal and/or an assist last season.
The KU defense is again expected to be stout this year, with the return of three of last season’s starters as well as several talented reserves. In their first two matches this year the Jayhawks are boasting a goals-against average of 1.5 and have held opponents to 15 shots per game. Senior Maddie Dobyns was Kansas’ starting keeper over opening weekend. In her career she has a goals-against average of 1.02, has collected 142 saves and has a amassed a save percentage of .768.
With this weekend’s first road trip of the 2017 season, the Jayhawks will look to continue their trend of relatively strong performances in matches away from Rock Chalk Park in the recent years. Kansas can hang its hat on an impressive record in road games over the past three-plus years. KU has played 28 regular-season road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 15-9-4, which included a 4-3-3 record last year. The Jayhawks hope they can continue this trend over the month, with eight of their next 11 matches away from Lawrence.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN HURRICANE
Tulsa kicked off its 2017 campaign with a draw and a loss last weekend as it played in the Rock Chalk Invitational hosted by Kansas, though KU and TU did not meet. The Golden Hurricane entered the 2017 campaign after posting an 8-10-1 record and finished seventh in the AAC at 4-5-0 in 2016. UT returned 18 letterwinners from that team, including senior Rachel Thun, who led the team with 12 goals and nine assists a year ago.
Thun’s return bodes well for the Golden Hurricane, who had a strong year on the offensive side of the ball last season, as the team netted 34 goals. Last season UT scored 1.8 goals per game and managed to put over 53 percent of their total shots on frame. Thun is the squad’s top offensive threat after tallying 12 goals, nine assists and 52 shots in 2016.
Tulsa had its struggles on the defensive side of the ball a year ago, allowing two goals per game (1.97 GAA) with opponents able to get off 16.1 shots per match. TU also shutout two of its opponents in 2016 and allowed three or more opponent goals in seven of its 19 outings. In goal, senior Rebecca Defer got the start in her team’s first two matches this season. Last year, she saw action in 13 matches, posted a goals-against average of 1.62, collected 72 saves and amassed a save percentage of .791.
Kyle Cussen is starting his 10th season as the head coach at Tulsa. Cussen has guided the Golden Hurricane to an 88-73-23 record during his time in Oklahoma. Under Cussen, the Hurricane have five seasons with 10-plus wins, including tying the second-best mark of 13 wins in 2015. Sixteen student-athletes have earned all-conference honors and five have picked up NSCAA All-Region honors.
LAST TIME OUT
Three goals in the final 23 minutes of regulation propelled the Kansas soccer team to a commanding 3-0 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas Aug. 20. The victory marked the 200th for Mark Francis as the head coach at Kansas and the first of his team’s young 2017 campaign.
With less than 23 minutes to play in the match and the score still deadlocked at 0-0, sophomore Sophie Maierhofer broke open the scoring in the game, and in the Jayhawks’ season, with the second goal of her Kansas career. It was déjà vu just minutes later as Maierhofer and Grace Hagan connected again. With the victory in tow, it was a freshman that put the final exclamation point on the KU victory with a creative goal in the 88th minute. Off a corner kick, seniors Lois Heuchan and Alex Schweitzer combined to get the ball to freshman Ceri Holland who flicked the ball into the net with her back to goal.
FRANCIS CLAIMS WIN NO. 200 AT KANSAS
With Kansas’ 3-0 win over Central Michigan on Aug. 20, Mark Francis claimed his 200th victory as the head coach of Kansas. He has now amassed a record of 200-148-28 over his 19-year stint in Lawrence. The veteran coach has averaged just over 11 wins per season during that span. He is currently second among the active Big 12 coaches in victories behind West Virginia’s Nikki Izzo-Brown.
FEEDING ON NONCON
This season, the Jayhawks will try to make it 10-straight seasons with a .500 winning percentage or better against regular-season nonconference foes. Since the start of the 2012 season, Kansas has posted an impressive 33-16-6 mark in its 55 regular-season nonconference matches (65%), which includes a 21-9-3 mark since 2014. In the last six seasons, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 94-53. Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 18 of his 19 seasons in Lawrence and is now 112-48-10 in regular season nonconference games.
JAYHAWKS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN PRESEASON BIG 12 POLL
Kansas soccer was predicted to finish second in the 2017 league standings according to the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll which was released Aug. 9. The ranking marked the highest Kansas has been picked to finish since the preseason coaches’ poll began in 2000.
Five-time defending league champion West Virginia was the coaches’ unanimous choice to win the conference, receiving eight first-place votes and 81 points overall. The Mountaineers were followed by Kansas (71), Oklahoma (57), Texas Tech (55), Baylor (47), Oklahoma State (38), TCU (37), Texas (32), Iowa State (23) and Kansas State (9).
HAGAN NAMED TO MAC HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST
Kansas junior Grace Hagan was one of 30 women in Division I NCAA soccer to be selected to the Watch List for the Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s most valuable collegiate soccer player every season.
Hagan, who hails from Wichita, Kansas, enters this season coming off a stellar sophomore campaign in 2016. An honoree on the NSCAA All-Central Region First Team, Hagan scored a team-high seven goals and added four assists to combine for 18 total points on the year, the fifth-most in the Big 12 Conference. She was also selected to the All-Big 12 First Team. She added a pair of game-winning goals on the year and helped the Jayhawks to their best conference finish in over a decade, finishing 5-1-2 in league play and aided Kansas to the program’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance. Hagan is six goals shy from moving into the top-10 of Kansas’ all-time goal scorers list.
EXPERIENCE VS. YOUTH
The 2017 edition of the Jayhawks will be a youthful bunch, with 16 of the 25-woman roster boasting only one season of collegiate experience or less. There are eight newcomers on this season’s roster, including seven true freshmen, who the coaches are leaning on to contribute almost immediately. The squad will feature five seniors, one of whom is in her fifth year. Four of the five members of the 2017 senior class have played in at least 39 matches.
BIG CLEATS TO FILL
The 2017 Jayhawks will try to fill the void left by a large group of players lost to graduation following last season. KU will have to navigate through the departure of seven players who were a part of 53 KU victories since 2012. They helped their team to a pair of top-three Big 12 finishes, its fifth-straight Big 12 tournament berth and two NCAA Tournament appearances. Combined, these seven accumulated 355 starts and played over 33,000 minutes in the Crimson and Blue. This senior class also combined for 11 goals, 23 assists and 311 shots. From 2013-16, this Jayhawk senior class amassed a record of 43-32-8. This makes it the seventh class in program history to have achieved 43 or more wins in a four-year period.
Senior Kayla Morrison has carried an impressive streak into her final year in Lawrence as she has started all 65 of the Jayhawks’ matches since her freshman year in 2014. Morrison’s mark is already among the longest in program history as it’s fifth on the all-time list among field players. If the Corona, California product is in the starting lineup in each of Kansas’ final 17 regular-season games, she would move to a tie for third on that list with 82-straight starts.
Two field players hold the ultimate title of “Iron Jayhawk” as they started each of KU’s matches over a four-year span. Estelle Johnson (2006-09) and Afton Sauer (2004-07) were in the starting 11 in all 83 games of their careers.
JUST ONE WILL DO IT
The Jayhawks continued to carry on an impressive trend that has developed over the last three seasons when it comes to scoring. Since the start of the 2012 campaign, the Kansas soccer team scored at least one goal in 70 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 54-8-8. Kansas won or tied all but eight matches in which it scored, including a 25-4-1 record in those instances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and a 10-1-4 record last year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 105 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, Kansas developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 105-game span, the Jayhawks were on the losing end only once in contests which they put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 51-1-5 in those games, which included a 10-0-2 mark last season and already a 1-0 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ win over Central Michigan on Aug. 20 was their 46th-consecutive unbeaten match when they scored first.
On the flip side, KU wasn’t quite as fortunate when its opponents have gotten on the board first. Kansas’ win over Texas Tech on Sept. 23 of last season marked just the third victory for the Jayhawks in that same 105-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. The Jayhawks are now 3-39-3 in those games over the last four seasons, which included all six of the Jayhawks’ losses and two of their draws in 2016 and its lone loss to Nebraska in the first weekend of this season.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
Last season, the Jayhawks once again proved to be a stout defensive team. Kansas boasted a goals-against average of 0.85, which included six shutouts. The Jayhawks allowed just 12 opponent shots per match, which included eight games when KU opponents sent in 10 or fewer attempts. Over their last 63 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 20 opponents and boasted a goals-against average of 0.93. Kansas conceded 61 opponent goals in that span and allowed one opponent goal or less in 21 of its last 25 matches.
KU also turned in an impressive shutout streak in 2016. KU went 282-straight minutes without conceding a goal from Aug. 19-28. The figure was the 18th-longest in school history and marked the sixth time over the last five seasons the Jayhawks have tallied an opponent scoreless streak of 280 minutes or longer.
Kansas will make the trek to the northwest when it takes on Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon on Sunday, Aug. 27. Kickoff from Patrick Wayne Valley Stadium is set for 1 p.m. (CT) and the match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.
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