⚽ Kansas Soccer to Open Spring Season Friday at Rock Chalk Park
LAWRENCE – No. 25 Kansas (5-3-1) soccer will open the 2021 spring season when it plays host to Missouri Southern State in an exhibition match on Friday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. at Rock Chalk Park.
Kansas concluded the 2020 fall season with a 5-3-1 record, a season that was dictated by COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, the Big 12 limited the fall schedule to just conference contests. Kansas placed fourth in the nine-match season, posting its second-straight and 10th overall upper-half finish in the Big 12 era.
With the NCAA moving its soccer championship to spring, KU has an eight-match schedule starting with its exhibition contest on Feb. 26. Following the exhibition match, KU will play only Power 5 schools Kansas State (twice), Iowa State, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Missouri (twice) in the spring.
KU is currently ranked No. 25 in the Topdrawersoccer.com national poll which began it’s 2020-21 rankings in January. Kansas ended the fall ranked No. 15 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll which ended its rankings at the conclusion of the fall season in November.
Kansas lost four seniors who graduated in the fall with three of those playing significant roles in the KU lineup. The cupboard is not bare as 13 players saw action in five or more of the nine matches in the fall. KU will still be anchored at goalie by junior Sarah Peters who has amassed 34 career victories while at KU. Other returning regulars from the fall include juniors Samantha Barnett (MF), Italia Bradley (D), Rylan Childers (MF), Kaela Hansen (D), Kailey Lane (F) and Grace Wiltgen (D); sophomores Gracely Briley (MF), Ellie Prybylski (D), Brie Severns; and freshmen Kate Dreyer (D), Shira Elinav (F) and Moira Kelly (D). Also look for freshmen Mackenzie Boeve (D) and Avery Smith (MF) to step in for the graduated seniors.
Missouri Southern State is a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). Due to the pandemic, the MIAA did not allow a fall season in soccer but MSSU did play three exhibition fall contests going 0-2-1 against Missouri State (0-1-1) and Drury (0-1-0). The Lions were 3-14-1 in 2019 under then first-year head coach Aaron Tilsen.
Last fall, Kansas’ opening-match victory at Texas (9/11) propelled the Jayhawks into the top 10 of the United Soccer Coaches Poll at No. 9 on Sept. 22. Winning its first three matches in 2020 saw KU climb to No. 5 in the poll on Oct. 6, its highest ranking in program history. The Jayhawks were ranked in nine of 10 weeks of the fall, with five of those in the top 10. Additionally, since the start of the 2019 season, Kansas has been ranked or receiving votes in each of the last 22 coaches’ polls.