Jayhawks due to battle No. 7 USC Trojans Sunday night
Beginning in August 2017, fans will be allowed to bring only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon, clear, resealable plastic storage bag per person inside Kansas athletics events.
Fans will also be allowed a small clutch purse not to exceed 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.
Sophomore forward Katie McClure
|Game 6: vs. #7 USC|
|Rock Chalk Park (2,500)|
|Shot on Goal %||.515||.268|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time in program history, Kansas soccer will take the pitch against a team coming off a National Championship when the Jayhawks go up against the defending NCAA Champion USC Trojans Sunday night. Kansas, winners of four-straight matches, will kick off against the No. 7-ranked Trojans at 7 p.m. from Rock Chalk Park. The match will be televised on Spectrum Sports and ESPN3.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
After suffering its worst loss in over two years in its season-opener against Nebraska, the Kansas soccer team enters Sunday’s contest coming off four-consecutive shutout victories in its four outings since. The Jayhawks have not conceded an opponent goal in over 381 minutes with their four shutouts ranking among the top-5 in the NCAA. A victory over the Trojans Sunday night would mark the Jayhawks’ longest winning streak since 2014.
After a quiet opening match against Nebraska on Aug. 18, the Jayhawk offense has come alive in its four most recent outings. KU has tallied nine goals and is averaging nearly 14 shots per outing in its five contests this year. Sophomore Sophie Maierhofer has already netted three goals to lead the Jayhawks and is joined by five teammates who have entered the score sheet in 2017. Junior Grace Hagan is Kansas’ top returning scorer from last season. The Wichita product has tallied two goals and two assists in her five outings. Hagan is one of 30 women to be named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List.
Since conceding three goals in the opener versus Nebraska, the KU defense has been stellar in its four matches since. KU has not allowed a goal in its last 381 minutes and has held three of its last four opponents to eight shots or fewer. Senior Maddie Dobyns, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, was Kansas’ starting keeper in each of KU’s matches thus far in 2017. She has collected 20 saves and amassed a save percentage of .870. Her 0.60 goals-against average is among the top-60 of NCAA DI goalkeepers.
ABOUT THE TROJANS
Southern California, located in Los Angeles and with an enrollment of 33,000, enters Sunday’s match having played only two matches through the first 2.5 weeks of the 2017 season. On Friday night, the Trojans picked up a 2-0 victory over Missouri in Columbia. The Trojans return five regular starters from last season’s national championship squad, including six who started in the national championship game.
Through its first two matches of 2017, USC has netted four goals and is averaging over 20 shots per game. The Trojans have put nearly 27 percent of their tries on target. Southern California has seen four different goal scorers thus far and has seen 10 different players tally multiple shots. The Trojans lost 55 percent (22-of-49) their goals scored last year to graduation but they return Alex Anthony and Leah Pruitt who combined for 14 goals in 2016.
The USC defense has allowed one goal in its first two matches. Trojan opponents have averaged eight shots per game and only three shots on goal per match. In goal, Kaylie Collins has started between the posts for both matches. In two starts, Collins has allowed a goal and made four saves, amassing a save percentage of .800.
Head coach Kiedane McAlpine is currently in his four year at the helm of the USC program. During his tenure in Los Angeles, McAlpine has a posted record of 48-16-7 and helped the Trojans to the program’s second NCAA title last season.
TOP-10 TEAMS BEWARE
The Jayhawks who take the pitch on Sunday night will have a unique opportunity not seen before by a KU soccer player. KU has never played a team coming off an NCAA Championship season, as it will see in USC Sunday. This match will also mark the 11th time Kansas will host a top-10 opponent in Lawrence. KU has picked up two wins over top-10 squads on its home turf since 2008. The Jayhawks topped No. 7 Oklahoma State, 2-1, in 2012 and also claimed a 1-0 victory over No. 6 Texas A&M during the 2008 season. That victory over the Aggies still stands as the highest-ranked opponent ever defeated by the Jayhawks.
LAST TIME OUT
The Jayhawks scored early and late and collected their fourth-straight clean sheet as the Kansas soccer team to a 2-0 victory over the Colorado College Tigers Friday night inside Rock Chalk Park. Senior Lois Heuchan netted her first goal of the year with a strike in the fourth minute, while junior Grace Hagan added a goal late, her second of the year.
The Jayhawks got out of the gates early against the visitors from Colorado Springs. Less than four minutes into the match, Heuchan sent the ball in toward the far post from the corner of the six-yard box, where it slammed into the side netting. The goal was her first of the season and the seventh of her collegiate career. With just over a minute remaining in regulation, Heuchan was taken down with a late tackle inside the Colorado College penalty area. The referee immediately signaled a foul that resulted in Kansas’ first penalty attempt of the season. Hagan was called on to take the shot, which she calmly buried into the back of the net to claim her second goal of the year.
HOME SWEET HOME
Rock Chalk Park will be a welcome site to the Jayhawks this weekend as KU is coming off a successful three-year stint playing on its home turf. The Jayhawks are 21-8-2 in matches played at home 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 the start of 2014, KU has amassed a goal differential of +22 against its foes at home, averaging 1.5 goals per match. The Kansas defense has held opponents to a goals-against average of 0.81 on its home turf in that same span, which includes 12 shutouts.
LET’S GET DEFENSIVE
In their last four matches, the Jayhawks have once again proved to be a stout defensive team, carrying over the trend from their last several seasons. Kansas currently boasts a goals-against average of 0.60 this season, which includes four shutouts in five outings. The Jayhawks are allowing less than 10 opponent shots per match, which includes three games when KU opponents sent in eight or fewer attempts. Over their last 68 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Jayhawks shutout 24 opponents and boast a goals-against average of 0.88. Kansas conceded 64 opponent goals in that span and has allowed one opponent goal or less in 25 of its last 30 matches.
KU is also already in the midst of an impressive shutout streak early this season. Kansas has gone 381-straight minutes without conceding a goal. The figure is the fourth-longest in school history and marks the fifth time over the last six seasons the Jayhawks have tallied an opponent scoreless streak of 300 minutes or longer.
DOBYNS HONORED WITH WEEKLY AWARDS
Following a nine save, two shutout weekend, Kansas senior goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns garnered a pair of weekly honors for her efforts. The Big 12 Conference named her its Defensive Player of the Week, while Top Drawer Soccer added her to its ‘Team of the Week’, which highlights the top 11 players from the last week of collegiate soccer action.
Dobyns, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, was key in the Jayhawks’ undefeated weekend as they topped Tulsa (2-0) and Oregon State (2-0), both on the road. She collected nine saves on the weekend, which included a six-save effort against the Beavers Sunday, as she and the Kansas defense posted a pair of shutouts. Dobyns’ biggest moment of the weekend came in the 68th minute against Oregon State, when she stopped a Beaver penalty kick attempt to preserve the Jayhawk lead. The senior has now gone more than 291 minutes since conceding an opponent 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 201-148-28 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 36-16-6 mark in its 58 regular-season nonconference matches (67%), which includes a 24-9-3 mark since 2014. In the last six seasons, KU has outscored noncon opponents by a tally of 100-53. Mark Francis has led KU to a winning record in noncon in 18 of his 19 seasons in Lawrence and is now 115-48-10 in regular season nonconference games.
Following last weekend’s first road trip of the 2017 season, the Jayhawks look primed to continue their trend of 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 30 regular-season road games since the start of the 2014 season, amassing a record of 17-9-4, which included a 4-3-3 record last year and already a 2-0 mark this season following Sunday’s win at Oregon State. The Jayhawks hope they can continue this trend over the next month, with six of their nine matches away from Lawrence.
Senior Kayla Morrison has continued an impressive streak into her final year in Lawrence as she has started all 68 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 14 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 continue to carry on an impressive trend that has developed over the last five seasons when it comes to scoring. Since the start of the 2012 campaign, the Kansas soccer team scored at least one goal in 72 matches. The Jayhawks’ record in those matches: 57-8-8. Kansas won or tied all but eight matches in which it scored, including a 25-3-5 record in those instances during since the 2015 season, and an 11-1-4 record last year.
FIRST TO SCORE, WINS GALORE
Over its past 108 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 108-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 54-1-5 in those games, which included a 10-0-2 mark last season and already a 4-0 mark this year. The Jayhawks’ win over Colorado College on Sept. 1 was their 49th-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 108-game span when finding itself trailing 1-0 at any point in a match. Kansas is 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.
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.
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.
BIG CLEATS TO FILL
The 2017 Jayhawks are trying 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.
The Jayhawks begin of stretch of six road contests in seven games when they journey to St. Louis on Friday, Sept. 8. KU and SLU are slated to kick off from Robert R. Hermann Stadium at 7 p.m. Two days later, Kansas will return home to take on former Big 12 foe Texas A&M at Rock Chalk Park. The match, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., will be televised on Spectrum Sports and ESPN3.
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