Jayhawks and Horned Frogs to clash Friday in Lawrence
Freshman Sarah Peters
|Game 14: vs. TCU|
|Rock Chalk Park (2,500)|
|Shot on Goal %||.368||.426|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer returns to Rock Chalk Park for its final homestand of the regular-season when the Jayhawks host TCU on Friday, Oct. 12. KU, currently third on the Big 12 table, will meet the Horned Frogs at 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ with Josh Klingler (play-by-play) and Huw Williams (analyst) calling the action.
- Kansas was slotted at No. 24 in this week’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA this week. The Jayhawks join a strong showing by the Big 12, which is the nation’s No. 2 RPI conference and features eight squads inside the top-51.
- Head coach Mark Francis is one victories shy from claiming No. 250 in his collegiate head coaching career. Francis boasts a career record of 249-184-34 in 23 seasons at the NCAA DI level, with 215 of his wins coming at KU.
- Against schools out of Texas from 2014-17, KU amassed a record of 15-8-3 (63.5%), a goal differential of +9 and a goals-against average of 0.89.
- Nine of the Jayhawks’ 20 goals scored this season have come in the 60th minute or later. That number includes six goals Kansas has tallied in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
- Kansas is 7-1-0 at home this season, adding to an impressive record since moving to Rock Chalk Park in 2014. The Jayhawks are 29-13-2 in matches played at home over the last five seasons.
- Junior forward Katie McClure has notched seven goals and three assists, and her 15 points are tied for second in the league. Her five game-winning goals are the third-most in the NCAA.
- Goalkeeper Sarah Peters’ seven shutouts are the most ever by a Jayhawk freshman goalkeeper in a single season. The program record for single-season shutouts belongs to Meghan Miller, who tallied 11 clean sheets during her senior season in 2004.
- The KU defense has amassed a goals-against average of 0.72 after its first 13 outings, a number that ranks the Jayhawks fourth in the Big 12 and 41st in the NCAA.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas, receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches’ poll, is coming off a 1-0 road win over Kansas State on Oct. 5. The Jayhawks are 4-2-0 in their last six outings, with the two losses coming to a pair of teams that, at the time, were ranked inside the top-15 of the national polls. KU is 7-1-0 at home this season with a pair of those wins coming against top-25 ranked teams.
The Jayhawk offense has enjoyed a solid to 2018 thus far, averaging over 15 shots in its first 13 matches, and averaging nearly six of those shots on target per match. Seven different Jayhawks have tallied double-digit shots this season and 11 different players have posted a goal or an assist. KU forwards Katie McClure and Grace Hagan have combined for 11 of the Jayhawks’ 20 goals, netting seven and four, respectively.
The KU defense is coming off back-to-back clean sheets and is in the midst of a 203 minute shutout streak. KU’s 0.72 goals-against average ranks 41st in the NCAA and fourth in the Big 12. KU is holding opponents to 7.3 shots per match and less than three shots on goal per match. Freshman Sarah Peters was the starting keeper in all 13 contests, keeping a clean sheet in seven of those appearances and has collected 25 saves for a .714 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT
Two first-half goals from a pair Kansas juniors lifted the Jayhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats in the second installment of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown at K-State Soccer Complex. Junior Katie McClure sent in her team-leading seventh goal of the year, while junior Taylor Christie added her fourth to give KU its first win over the in-state rivals.
The Jayhawks made sure to put their foot on the gas from the opening whistle, attacking early and often before McClure opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Eva Eliasdottir played a long pass to the junior out of Wichita, who used one touch with her back to the goal before spinning and beating the defender on a sprint to the goal. McClure shot the ball past the KSU keeper inside the far post to give her team the early advantage, 1-0.
It took just 12 more minutes for KU to extend its lead, this time at the hands of a miscue from Wildcat goalkeeper Emma Malsy. A pass into the KU box appeared as though it would be grabbed by the KSU keeper, however the ball came loose and Christie was there to still possession. The Overland Park native used some fancy dribbling to evade Malsy before sending in her fourth goal of the season into the side-netting with a swift, left-footed strike.
From there KU cruised to the win. Kansas ended the match with a 14-10 edge in shots, and a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.
ABOUT THE HORNED FROGS
Located in Fort Worth, Texas with an enrollment of 10,323, TCU enters Friday’s match with a 9-3-2 record at its first 14 outings of 2018. The Horned Frogs are fourth in the Big 12 with 25 goals and are fourth in the league in goals allowed, having conceded 11 opponent goals over the first eight weeks of the season.
The Horned Frog offense has been potent this season, scoring multiple goals in six of its games, which includes three outings with four or more goals. TCU is posting 17.4 shots per game and is scoring on over 10 percent of those attempts. TCU has also managed to put over 42.6 percent of those 17.4 shots per game on target. Maddy Warren and Kayla Hill lead the team with five goals apiece with Warren boasting a team-leading three assists. Messiah Bright is tops on the squad with 34 shots.
The TCU defense has conceded 11 goals this season. Horned Frog opponents are averaging 8.7 shots per match and are putting over 50 percent of those attempts on frame. TCU has played two keepers so far in 2018 with Katie Lund and Emily Alvarado splitting time between the posts. Lund Alvarado have combined for a goals-against average of 0.75, a save percentage of .820 and have tallied 50 saves.
Eric Bell is in his seventh season as the head coach of the TCU women’s soccer program. In his six-plus seasons with the Horned Frogs, Bell has amassed a 62-52-18 record.
FRANCIS ON THE VERGE OF 250 COLLEGIATE WINS
Head coach Mark Francis is just one victory shy from claiming win No. 250 as a head coach at the NCAA DI level. His first win came as the head man at South Alabama on Sept. 29, 1996 with a 9-0 drubbing of Northwestern State, since then he has averaged nearly 11 wins per season during his first 22 years roaming the sideline.
He has now amassed a record of 249-184-34 over his 23 seasons as a collegiate coach, with 216 of those wins coming in 20 years at Kansas. The veteran coach will hope to become one of just 49 active head coaches in NCAA DI to have reached the 250-win milestone. Francis’ teams have made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, claimed three conference regular-season titles and have notched 12 or more victories eight times.
MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS
With four of their final five regular-season matches against schools from the state of Texas, the Jayhawks will look to continue their recent trend against foes out of the Lone Star State in recent years. KU has been a pest to Texas schools over the last four seasons. In its 26 games against Texas squads from 2014-17, KU has amassed a record of 15-8-3, a goal differential of +9 and a goals-against average of 0.89.
Friday night’s opponent is the one Texas squad that hasn’t seemed to be fazed by the Jayhawks in recent seasons as Kansas has just one win over the Horned Frogs in its last five attempts. TCU ended KU’s run in both the 2016 and 2017 Big 12 Tournaments, advancing past the Jayhawks on penalty kicks in the most recent meeting last November.
TURNING THINGS AROUND
Still with five regular-season games and the postseason, the 2018 Jayhawks are looking to construct an impressive turnaround from 2017, having already surpassed last season’s win total. Last year, Kansas won eight games and drew three times, while this year’s team has already picked up nine victories and still has five regular-season game to go. Mark Francis-coached KU squads have been known to improve coming off below average seasons. In his first 19 seasons in Lawrence, Francis’ Kansas teams have won fewer than 10 games on five occasions, but in all but one of the following years, the Jayhawks rebounded with 11 or more victories and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Francis is no stranger to monumental turnarounds. After a 2-17-0 season during his first season at South Alabama in 1996, he led the Jaguars to an 18-3-1 mark during the 1997 season. The 16-win turnaround is still the biggest in NCAA Division I soccer history. His largest rebound at KU came in 2014, when the Jayhawks posted a 15-win campaign a year after claiming just seven wins.
HOME SWEET HOME
Rock Chalk Park has been a welcome site for the Jayhawks this season, with Kansas going 7-1-0 in its first seven outings on its home pitch. Including this year’s hot start, the Jayhawks are 29-13-2 in matches played at home during the regular season since the start of the 2014 campaign. From 2013-14, Kansas also enjoyed an 11-match home winning streak, the longest in program history.
Since moving into Rock Chalk Park, Kansas has built a goal differential of +25 and boasts a goals-against average of 0.88, a number that includes 16 shutouts.
NO GAMES OFF
Before Kansas soccer even hit the pitch for its first match of the season, the Jayhawks knew they would be in for a gauntlet of a schedule. The 2018 schedule features eight teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago as well as four reigning conference champions. The Jayhawks, sitting at 9-2-2 after their first 13 games of the season, have played or will play seven teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches’ top-25 poll. That number includes four squads inside the top-20.
The Jayhawks have already played four top-25 teams over the first six weeks of the season, which included two wins over ranked squads (No. 18 Pepperdine and No. 25 Butler). It appears as though KU will face several more battles with top-25 teams this season with the bulk of Big 12 Conference play still to come. The conference currently features five teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the Coaches’ poll and that includes No. 14 Baylor, No. 18 West Virginia and No. 20 Texas. The Big 12’s winning percentage, 62.7 percent, after the first eight weeks of the season ranks third out of the 31 DI conferences.
LATE MATCH MAGIC
The Jayhawks have been clutch in crunch time during the first half of the 2018 campaign. Nine of the Jayhawks’ 20 goals scored thus far have come in the 60th minute or later. That number includes six goals Kansas has tallied in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
The Jayhawks have come out on top in four of those matches that have seen Kansas score in the 80th minute or later. KU has netted a pair of golden goals already in 2018, both off the boot of junior forward Katie McClure. McClure scored overtime game-winners against Utah (8/31) and Oklahoma (9/21), which are included in her four game-winners this season. Those four game-winning strikes rank her first among Big 12 players and are fifth-most be a Jayhawk in school history.
McClure’s two golden goals have given Kansas two victories that have come by way of an overtime this season, which marks the first time the Jayhawks have tallied multiple OT wins in a season since 2015. That 2015 squad holds the program record for overtime wins in a season with three.
HOT START HAWKS
The impressive early performance in the 2018 campaign puts this year’s Jayhawk squad among just a few other Kansas teams that have gotten their seasons off to a fast start. This bunch joined two other KU teams that suffered one or fewer losses over the first 10 games of the season (2014 and 2004).
The Jayhawks’ early success bodes well for the bunch, as each of those past two KU teams went on to make the NCAA Tournament and posted 15 or more victories. Kansas logged top-three finishes in the final Big 12 standings in both of those years as well.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
In their first 13 matches of 2018, the Jayhawks have once again proven to be a stout defensive team, carrying over the trend from their last several seasons. Kansas currently boasts a goals-against average of 0.72 this year, which encompasses seven shutouts in those 13 outings. The Jayhawks are allowing just over seven opponent shots per match, which includes seven games that they held their opponents to seven or fewer attempts.
KU has already put together an impressive shutout streak to start this season. Kansas went 354-straight minutes without conceding a goal over its first four matches. The figure is the eighth-longest shutout streak in program history and marked the fourth time over the last five seasons the Jayhawks have tallied an opponent scoreless streak of 300 minutes or longer.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The Kansas offense has shown to be a tough assignment for opposing defenses this year after a host of Jayhawks have made their presence known on the stat sheet. Eleven different Jayhawks have had their hand in at least one of the team’s goals thus far in 2018, either scoring or assisting. A total of seven players have managed to tally double-digit shots which includes four players who have posted 22 or more attempts.
This is a trend that has been carried over from last year’s squad which was also an unselfish bunch, as eight different players managed to post double-figure shots and 13 Jayhawks tallied at least one goal or assist in 2017.
With the release of the season’s third Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report by the NCAA this week, several good signs stick out for the Jayhawks. Kansas checked in at No. 24 on the list that takes numerous factors into account including strength of schedule, record against top-50 teams and home versus road record. The ranking marked the fourth-straight week the Jayhawks found themselves in the top-25 after being slotted at No. 25 last week.
This week’s report shows that the Big 12 is one of the nation’s toughest conference. The league was listed as the nation’s No. 2 conference with this week’s RPI boasting six of its 10 teams inside the top-30. The conference’s high ranking also means the Jayhawks will get plenty of chances to up their national standing as each of their final five regular-season contests will be against teams currently ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, now at 136 games, Kansas has developed an interesting trend when it comes to which team tallies the first goal of the match. During that 136-game span, the Jayhawks were on the losing end only twice in contests which they put in the match’s first goal. Kansas has amassed a record of 62-2-8 in those games (91.5 winning %), which included a 6-1-2 mark last year and a 6-0-1 mark in 2018. The Jayhawks’ loss at BYU on Sept. 18 of 2017 was their first in 51 matches 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 Oklahoma on Sept. 21 marked just the eighth victory for the Jayhawks in that same 136-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. Kansas is now 8-48-4 in those games over the last five seasons, which included eight of KU’s losses and a tie in 2017.
Senior forward Grace Hagan hopes to put an emphatic stamp on an already outstanding career at KU. Last year saw her make headlines across the state, the region and the nation. She kicked off the year beginning named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List and ended it on the All-Big 12 Second Team and the All-South Region Third Team. She led the Jayhawks with seven goals, five assists and 19 points, figures that ranked the Wichita product among the top-10 in the Big 12 in their respective categories.
As she works through her senior season, she will be in prime position to make big jumps on some impressive lists, creeping closer to inserting her name among the top offensive players in Jayhawk history. Her 22 career goals currently rank her eighth on Kansas’ all-time goal scorer chart and her 14 career assists also have her at No. 11 on KU’s all-time assists list.
The Jayhawks will host its final home match of the regular season when the Texas Tech Red Raiders come to town for a Sunday afternoon battle scheduled for 1 p.m. The game will serve as the final home match for Jayhawks Lauren Breshears, Taylor Christie, Anna Courtney, Grace Hagan, Miriam Melugin and Kaycie Young. The senior day match will be televised on ESPN+.
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