#KUTopMoments: Jayhawk Soccer Opens Rock Chalk Park with Victory
Junior Liana Salazar helped Kansas open the 2014 Kansas Soccer season and christen Rock Chalk Park in grand fashion with a bicycle kick goal less than 90 seconds into a 3-1 victory over Wyoming on Friday, Aug. 22. The victory was a fitting beginning for a Kansas program that has vaulted to new heights since moving to its new state-of-the-art facility, which has seen the Jayhawks host four NCAA Tournament matches, post a home winning percentage of 65.7%, and break numerous attendance records.
“It was a great way to start the season, getting a win at our new facility,” said head coach Mark Francis following the opening night match. “I think getting in behind them was one of the keys for us today. We really stretched them out defensively and that created problems for them so it was nice to see the girls execute.”
Playing under the lights at their state-of-the-art facility for the first time, the Jayhawks quickly made sure it would be a tall task for the visitors to spoil their opening night. KU put on the pressure early with Salazar slamming home her ninth-career goal off the crossbar in the second minute. The acrobatic score was made possible by a long cross into the box by sophomore Morgan Williams, which was then flicked on by freshman Eli Mayr. Salazar gave the ball one touch with her back to the goal and unwound for a bicycle kick that saw the ball deflect off the cross bar and in to give her team an early 1-0 lead. Kansas would net two more goals to secure the season-opening victory and kickoff the Jayhawks’ stay at their new facility on a high note.
That 2014 Kansas squad would go onto win each of its first eight matches of the season, a program record, and finished its inaugural campaign at Rock Chalk Park with a 15-6-0 record. Salazar also went on to claim Third Team All-America status.
Since moving to Rock Chalk Park the Jayhawks have turned in a home record 34-17-3 over its last seven seasons, that includes a 17-4-1 mark over KU’s last two campaigns. Rock Chalk Park has also played host to nine of the 10 largest crowds in program history, including the overall top mark 2,514 fans for the KU-Kansas State match in 2017. The figure remains the largest crowd to watch a collegiate women’s soccer game in the state.